Introduction: *Updated* 3D Scan Your Head and Use It As a Chess Piece.

About: Small (industrial) design office.

Playing chess (or Monopoly) with your own custom pieces. That is happing right now.
It's awesome, we know, but calm down and follow the instructable since we are talking you trough. 

We are a small industrial design office in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. For over some time now we are experimenting with some cheap and low entry 3D scanning. It all began with that new nifty tool from Autodesk, 123Catch. Off course things didn't work right away but after a couple of good scans we came up with this idea to fix it on a chess piece. 

We go trough 5 steps, some more detailed, some just mentioning. We will credit and redirect to more information in each step so you can follow this intructable with different levels of know-how before you start and still end up with a great result!

Here we go!

*take a look at step 7 for some more fun!*

Step 1: What Do You Need?

What do you need:

-Camera (dslr preferred but not necessary (use a fixed focal length lens if you got one, wide angle = error) 
-Windows pc (you could use a Mac but we advise to use the 123catch offline tool wich isn't around for Mac (yet)).
-Someone to scan


-123Catch (on or offline)

What you want (optional):

-3D modeling software (alternative is to use our stl parts)

-3D Printer (alternative is shapeways or other print service) 

Step 2: How Do You Take the Pictures?

Taking the pictures for 123catch.

Some tips:

- Work in a order, follow first the cirkels around the object (awesome person), after that take some vertical array shots, and finish of with the detailing.
- Make sure your object isn't wearing his glasses or a cap or something. We will add those later on. 
- Aim on shooting around 70 to 80 pictures.
- Clear diffuse lighting
- Walk around your object, don't turn it (him) around.

More tips? Check this site out.

Step 3: How to Convert the Pictures Into a 3D Model

So the hard work is done, now it's al desktop from here. 

In overview:

Pictures to 123Catch to *.obj to Meshmixer to smooth mesh! 

In 123Catch,

We are assuming that after the upload everything will look like image 2, and you just export the whole scene to an *.obj file.

If not, check this page for manual stitching or try step 2 again.

You could also try to just upload everything again. It remains a Beta version so sometimes this really does the trick (Einsteins definition of insanity doesn't apply here.. (Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.).

In Meshmixer,

Import the scene and start to delete al that is unwanted. Use the Select > Lasso tool > delete

After that use Inspector > Autorepair all, to make your sheet a solid (Already printable!)

Now you can fix any imperfections from your scan with the smoothbrush

End with a Save project (for your backup) and then export to obj.

Step 4: How Do You Make Your Own Attributes?

The attributes. 


This is the place where you can add your imagination. Want custom Risk pieces? Monopoly car? Or custom pepper and salt shaker? 

Here you model the attribute, we used Autodesk Inventor, but you can use (free alternatives) 123D or SketchUp. Now, if you never used such software before, we are not going to learn it to you. Those have steep learning curves, but are perfectly doable with some tutorials

Be sure, when you do model, to use the right dimensions. We use these attributes to give scale to the scanned head later on, so if this isn't perfect, you'll be in for a surprise later on. 

Also check the 3D printers limitations. Detailing and wall thickness. If you're planning on printing on Shapeways, this page can be helpful. Note: we tried a lot of different materials but overal the standard flexible white comes out best (and cheapest).   

Let us do it for you!

Just because we are that nice, we uploaded a bunch of files to use with your custom scan. There is a complete chess set, and some glasses. This will cover your basic needs for your chess set without bothering about modeling software.

Step 5: How Do You Combine All the Models?

We used Blender to combine the attributes with the scanned obj file from meshmixer (from step 3) to one printable piece.

In Blender:

First let's import the basic attribute (the one which size was important!)
File>import> (obj or stl) 
After a successful import your screen should look like image 2. (use ctrl+alt+q for the quad view).

Then, in the upper right screen you will find a "explorer" type of interface. Find the part here and check the "restrict selection in viewport". This locks the part so you can't accidentally scale or move it. 

Now we import the scanned head. Use the tools to scale and postion it however you like (image 3).
After that you can import more attributes like glasses or a hat. 

When you are finished with all the repositioning first thing you do is saving as an blender file. Just as an backup.

! After that you uncheck "restrict selection in viewport" from the first attribute !

Then you select all the parts and combine them into 1 part.

In the left off the screen select: object tools > join.

After that, all you have to do is: export> stl 

Step 6: Printing Time / Result

So the stl file is ready. Now we print!

As told earlier on, we prefer the Flexible white material (available in different colors) from Shapeways. It's nice and cheap, very detailed and flexible (d0h). Downside: it gets dirty very easy. 

We are very curious about the "print it yourself"(Ultimaker, Makeabot etc.) option so please show off! Perhaps that gives a better result.

Thanks for reading and if this instructable was any help, please consider a vote for us in the Make it real challenge, it would be greatly appreciated and could give us the possibility to come up with even more 3D madness in the future!

Step 7: *Update* More Ways to Have Fun With Your 3D File!


Like every one else we can't stop playing with 3D printing.

So to give you guys and girls some more eye candy here are some results:

One of our friends is a true Starwars nerd so we decided to tease him Yoda-style. Cuted out a Yoda model with Meshmixer and did the assembly in Blender. Just like we did the chess pieces.

Another friend of ours is a true lover  about.. well himself really. So we made him a little statue.

We downloaded the free 3D models on Thingiverse

Hope this give you some more inspiration to create new things and share them with everyone!

Let the madness begin! Continue! 

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