Picture of David 3D scanner

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
-.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 http://www.cs.tubs.de/rob/david.htm , 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.
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maros3335 months ago
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)  maros3335 months ago
I believe the best is to go for the David's own:
maros333 Edgar4 months ago

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

Edgar (author)  maros3334 months ago

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.

Learndy3 years ago
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)  Learndy3 years ago
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 Edgar3 years ago
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

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)  Learndy3 years ago
Ok :)
nazneensyed3 years ago
i want a matlab code 4 David 3D laser scanner please..
Edgar (author)  nazneensyed3 years ago
Who am I, Santa Claus?
Edgar (author) 4 years ago
Ive just seen faceworkx.
Good for HEAD modeling.
Get the 5 or 7 points aligned, hum, where do you do that on a object?
nateroc4 years ago
Dude, get faceworx or similar programs, much much better job
The link was dead for me. Where can we get dave's program?

Edgar (author)  longhairedartist5 years ago

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

Edgar started it wonderfully plz tell me the angle between the light brush & camera.
Edgar (author)  amitsharma29045 years ago
On the David example, or on the Instructable?
zack2475 years ago
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.
Edgar (author)  zack2475 years ago
windrago5 years ago
the link is broken - can you post another location?
Edgar (author)  windrago5 years ago
Sorry for that, even though it's not my fault, here's the main Link, I guess it won't change:

windrago Edgar5 years ago
 indeed it's not your fault! And thanks for the new link!

Edgar (author)  windrago5 years ago
No problem :)
Darn nice try
handcarver7 years ago
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. Perrymark@hotmail.com
Edgar (author)  handcarver7 years ago
Edgar (author)  handcarver7 years ago
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) 7 years ago
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_filosofo7 years ago
take a look to my new video :)

hope you liked
el_filosofo7 years ago

my homemade 3d scanner...
take a look
Edgar (author)  el_filosofo7 years ago
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!
vrogy7 years ago
Can you make scans from multiple angles and combine them?
Edgar (author)  vrogy7 years ago
They said that the next version of DAVID would do that, go and see...
BruceR8 years ago
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)  BruceR8 years ago
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 Edgar7 years ago
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)  nimitz7 years ago
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 Edgar7 years ago
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)  nimitz7 years ago
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

I've been experimenting with it a lot. Biturn works perfectly for converting, I convert to 3DS to insert in TurboCAD, which will convert to many other MCAD formats like stl, dxf, IGES and others. So far my scans have been very noisy, which I think is due to (1) my camera's lens, which I haven't paid a lot of attention to, but I can see that parts of the target are blurred while others are sharp, so that's a depth-of-field issue. (2)My laser line is the veritable $8 one, and it's not too good. Kind've hard to play it over the objects while keeping it at the right angle so its the same width all over, and being registered by the program (there are prompts that tell you if the program doesn't see it to the left or right, or if the angle you're holding it at is wrong) I'm experimenting with a "line painter" (a rotating beam like builders use for site levels) to see if reducing "speckle" helps. (3) lighting. The system has problems if there's too much contrast, so a dark object on the white background isn't distinguished too well. The help pages recommend that once the camera calibration is done, you can cover the target corner with darker sheets to fix the problem. Considering how much the system costs, and the brilliant way it self-calibrates with the targets, I can only say "Thanks" to the writers and to the Institute.
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