Introduction: David 3D Scanner ...Or Not.

Picture of David 3D Scanner ...Or Not.

Here's how you can get to make some .obj files out of real life objects.

What you need:

-An 8$ Laser Edge form any Hardware Store;
-The David scanner program, from
David 3D Scanner

Or, since David is generating a lot of complaints from the Readers of this Instructable, use one of these 5:

-.Net Framework add-on from Microsoft, if you don't have it installed already;
.Net Framework
-A webcam;
-Some printed patterns
-And stuff you'll find around you house, like Styrofoam boards, and UHU Por to glue it, for
If you don't like to change the Edge's batteries all the time, better add a Tranformer with 3V
output, a common Mono plug, and some soldering work, too.
For an easy scan, and good results, you better have an Airbrush around, to cover the
objects with a wash-away layer of white paint, common Gouache will do fine.

Baby powder is said to give good results on stuff you don't want to paint.

This other Instructable shows you how to make a neat laserline, so have a look at it, too:

Step 1: Download

Picture of Download

Right, you better start with the program, download it from , click on the links on the intro, comes with a complete manual, just double-click on the program, or click Help anytime.´

And, if you're not into recieving Window's updates by
the Net, download the .Net Framework add-on from
Microsoft, first.

Step 2: Frame Thang

Picture of Frame Thang

Then you're off to make a square angled thing where to place the prints you make from the

Calibpoints_Scale60_DIN_A3.pdf or

I went and done a hap-hazzard contraption from a couple of straight
Styrofoam boards I had, and glued a cut Kodak envelope onto it, AFTER I cut and glued the A4 page into it.

See, you can make an half-decent right-angled frame, even if you're a lazy slob!

Step 3: Cardboard Gluin' Fool

Picture of Cardboard Gluin' Fool

Get some cardboard, you're in business!
Of course, for an A3 thing, you need to do things a little mode decent!
Maybe Acrilic glass, so there's no excuse for crappy scans!

Step 4: Dismantling Stuff! Yeah!

Picture of Dismantling Stuff! Yeah!

Then I disassembled the Laser Edge, after getting annoyed with changing batteries, got a Mono plug from junk I keep, wired it to the Red and Black wires, and it's now only a question of pluging the thing to a Multi-Voltage Power Supply, and presto!

Allways bright laser light!

Step 5: Re-assembled

Picture of Re-assembled

Here's the Laser edge assembled, with a few holes on it, too!
After the shot, I added a lateral slot for the thing to stand upright.

Step 6: A Lenzzz!

Picture of A Lenzzz!

The egde's lens was bloody useless for 3D scanning, so, after a few other attempts, I settled for an old eyedrop filled with water and sealed with the last failed attempt, a BIC ballpoint pen's transparent body, it's plastic melt away to seal the eyedrop, first sealed at the tip, then fill it with water, then seal the top.

Used the re-usable adherent stuff that comes with the Edge, to fix the eyedrop into the Edge, too.

Here you can see it, cheaper than looking for a
glass rod, I suppose!

Step 7: Scan It!

Picture of Scan It!

You got it all, so on to the first scan, mine were complete garbadge, either the objects had dark colours or a shiny surface, or the laser batteries loosed their juice, so I went and done the power plug, and picked a completely dull piece of Roofmate, and scanned it, perfection, for what it's worth, so here's the thing,
then here's the obj file it gave:

Step 8: Obelix, Where Are You?

Picture of Obelix, Where Are You?

A dull example; let's see Buzz Lightyear instead, see next step:

Step 9: Buzz Lightyear!

Picture of Buzz Lightyear!

Here's Buzz Lightyear, too much colours, so I've airbrushed white paint on it, see next step

Step 10: Plaster! or Is It?

Picture of Plaster! or Is It?

...and it looks like
plaster, now.

Step 11: Well....Humm...

Picture of Well....Humm...

As you can see, close
but no cigar!
Looks like I've wrapped the thing on Aluminum foil, or the impact marks of Buzz smashing into a metal wall!

Either the webcam's junk, or I'm doing soemething wrong, but as far as showing the program works, it does, so next thing I'll make
the A3 version, and see if that changes anything.

Remember, my webcam's a crappy old Mustek 300 A, so if you've got something better, and a PC to handle it, go for it!


GotinDrachenhart (author)2017-07-24

Well, I got here late and it's a mixed bag now. I'm happy he made it big with the HP deal and all, but now everything is stupid expensive. Oh, no not as bad as other products in this category costing as much as a new car (no, for real like $30K for hardware AND software...EACH), but still more than I can tolerate. I have said for years that software companies need to market individual licenses of their madly expensive products. I don't even begrudge the high cost for corporate licenses as I understand the point of the business making millions using the product.....however, I'm not, and only need it as a hobby. Same goes for Autodesk and their products who started all this thousand dollar onion layer BS.

Edgar (author)GotinDrachenhart2017-07-24

This is an old version of the program, here

GotinDrachenhart (author)Edgar2017-07-25

Instructions say to buy a pro license, how much is that prey tell?

Edgar (author)GotinDrachenhart2017-07-26

I'm editing this, but for now, here's 5 alternatives:

GotinDrachenhart (author)Edgar2017-07-26

Cool, thanks for the link will have to check that out. What about software?

Edgar (author)GotinDrachenhart2017-07-27

Check the link.

Edgar (author)GotinDrachenhart2017-07-26

Just use one of these 5:

blue66 (author)2016-10-24

software David is very expansive :(

Edgar (author)blue662017-07-17

The free version isn't

Edgar (author)blue662016-10-24

Not the free version.

maros333 (author)2015-03-08

Hello, can somebody give me an advice which laser should i buy? I cant find proper laser pointer for this david scanning. I want to buy laser from ebay.... some cheap device

Edgar (author)maros3332015-03-31

I believe the best is to go for the David's own:

maros333 (author)Edgar2015-04-05

i was looking for something cheaper. this one costs on amazon 480EUR

Edgar (author)maros3332015-04-05

Then, go for a regular laser pointer, or laser level, and add a cylindrical glass rod on the front of the laser, so as to spread the laser sideways.

Learndy (author)2011-10-31

Just downloaded the software and installed on my EeePC (Windows 7) with integrated camera. After starting the program I don't see any possibility to choose the camera. I also see no camera image / preview. Any hints?

MODIS image of the day

Edgar (author)Learndy2011-10-31

Windows 7? Never went beyond XP, who needs flying windows on 3D?...
Must be the integrated camera part, try it with some plug-in webcam, if it still won't work, send a message to the Guys at David, they are nice fellows, and will find a way.

Learndy (author)Edgar2011-11-02

Uuuuhhh... This is a somewhat embarassing... I found out how to choose the camera. I'll start calibration soom. Anyway, thank you very much!

MODIS image of the day

twopussez (author)Learndy2014-01-11

Almost as bad as me. I had a 'broken' Hall light. Changed the bulb for a new one. Nothing. Electrician arrives, replaces the bulb. Works perfectly.

Dammit! :)

Edgar (author)Learndy2011-11-02

Ok :)

nazneensyed (author)2011-11-14

i want a matlab code 4 David 3D laser scanner please..

Edgar (author)nazneensyed2011-11-14

Who am I, Santa Claus?

Edgar (author)2011-02-13

Ive just seen faceworkx.
Good for HEAD modeling.
Get the 5 or 7 points aligned, hum, where do you do that on a object?

nateroc (author)2011-02-13

Dude, get faceworx or similar programs, much much better job

Edgar (author)2010-09-28

Ahhh... That one's long gone.
Not much space, had to take it apart.
But now there are this one, and many other scanners, too.

longhairedartist (author)2010-03-14

The link was dead for me. Where can we get dave's program?

Edgar (author)longhairedartist2010-03-15

The Instructions (angles, how-tos) are on that page.

amitsharma2904 (author)2010-01-06

 HI Everybody,

Edgar started it wonderfully plz tell me the angle between the light brush & camera.

Edgar (author)amitsharma29042010-01-06

On the David example, or on the Instructable?

zack247 (author)2010-01-03

perhaps its a combination of the camera and the paint. maybe the paint didn't go on in very even layers, and that is why you got a bad scan.

windrago (author)2009-12-10

the link is broken - can you post another location?

Edgar (author)windrago2009-12-11

Sorry for that, even though it's not my fault, here's the main Link, I guess it won't change:

windrago (author)Edgar2009-12-11

 indeed it's not your fault! And thanks for the new link!

Edgar (author)windrago2009-12-11

No problem :)

doctorphibes (author)2009-10-06

Darn nice try

handcarver (author)2008-07-29

I hand carve Piano Legs, and Piano parts. They are highly detailed parts. Is anyone willing to build a scanner for me and provide the software this web-site seems to suggest? I would be mounting the scanner on my small cnc router 30"x42"x6". I need to be able to pull up an image in bobcad v22, or autocad with the intention of milling or copy carving. thanks.

Edgar (author)handcarver2008-07-30

As I live in Europe, I'm not much help.

But any Carpenter can make a right-angle corner box, and that, and printing the black dot designs they offer too, then gluing them to the "box" is all that is to it.

Buy yourself a Lindy Webcam, they're great, as they can film in poor light conditions!

The guys offer the software for download, and there's a Pro Version too:

Talking about CNC, this Site is a must:Robot Shop

Robot shop

There are other related Instructables at the right side you can see.

Edgar (author)2008-03-24

Seems a very good System, easier, less messy, but how do you make a complete scan? Is there something for you to assemble the various views? If so, it would be the best solution, no lasers, etc. It's a good Instructable, too! : )

el_filosofo (author)2008-03-23
take a look to my new video :)

hope you liked

el_filosofo (author)2008-02-24

my homemade 3d scanner...
take a look

Edgar (author)el_filosofo2008-02-25

Seems the best, so far, as far simplicity and performance are concerned. With a rotation and/or XYZ view, I'd call it an all time best!

vrogy (author)2007-12-29

Can you make scans from multiple angles and combine them?

Edgar (author)vrogy2007-12-30

They said that the next version of DAVID would do that, go and see...

BruceR (author)2007-01-29

So assuming you get it working correctly. what 3d program are you going to use it with. ... A quick bit of research tells me that Sketchup does not import .obj files. But I found a number of converters. e.g. Biturn. I'll be watching this one for developments.

Edgar (author)BruceR2007-02-06

BruceR, there's Wings 3D, a feeware program that comes with a learn-it-all Tutorial, Doghouse, awkward name and subject, but it teaches you everything. Also, there's Calligari's trueSpace3.2, guess what, freeware, and a heck of a good 3d program, too.

nimitz (author)Edgar2007-10-28

Truespace is not free unfortunately:

But as you pointed out Wings 3D is freeware and so is Blender:

Though Blender has a hell of a learning curve on it. (For the truly masochistic I suggest BRLcad.)

Also if you dig around you can find older copies of software as freeware such as Bryce 5.5:

Edgar (author)nimitz2007-10-28

Truespace, the latest, 5 or 6, I don't recall, is not free, but Truespace 3 is!
Just click the link, and you get to download it!
Yup, Blender may be very good, or so they say, but it is a bitch to learn!

But I'll download Brice, now, thanks!

P.S. ...And Ubuntu Linux is the greatest thing!

nimitz (author)Edgar2007-10-28

My apologies. It does say you can download it for free. However it also asks you for personal information to get to the download page. I'm not a fan of that due to having to fight spam on a regular basis. I'm pretty wary of info "harvesting" pages these days...

Edgar (author)nimitz2007-10-29

Done no harm to me, and as I'll purchase the latest version, eventually, I've stuck to it.
About 3 emails a month, doesn't hurt!

Not free software, but Open Source Hardware(!), this is good news to pratically everyone:

A consumer electronics machine you can make about anything out of!

Read about it in the bottom part of

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