Introduction: Cheap 3D Scanner

About: Hi, my name is Nikodem Bartnik. I'm 19 years old. I am into designing, making, programming and electronics. In the future, I want to start a company and make my own products. As for now, you can find my work o…

What is 3D scanner? It is like normal scanner but with one D more. This D means dimension, so 3D scanner is device that can scan objects that are not flat. We can scan almost anything: toys, parts, stones, plants, art, food and much more. In this instructable I will show you how to assemble ciclop 3D scanner, how to use it, and how to go form point of cloud to 3D printed element. Above you can find video about it but if you prefer reading below you can find article.

Step 1: What You Will Need

To make it you need just one kit. Below you can find link to buy it, there is everything that you will need to make it (including tools). Above are some images of what you can find in this kit including motor parameters and power supply.

Link to kit with all needed parts

Step 2: How 3D Scanner Works?

This scanner based on laser triangulation method. So there is Which projects a laser line on the object, and there is also camera Which calculates distance. How is it calculate this distance? It just know where is the 0 point (center of platforms) and base on how far the laser is from this point it calculates the actual point for all points on y axis. Then it rotates for given degrees and calculate again. After whole process we have a cloud of points. This is a file with cordinates for a lot of points, based on it we can create a mash stl file and use it for 3D printing.

Step 3: Assembling

I don't like writing so much :) and I think that video can show you much better how to assemble this scanner, so here it is you can watch it and assemble your scanner. For more info about electronic assembly see next step.

Step 4: Electronic Assembly

There are just 2 lasers and one stepper motor to connect. While connecting lasers make sure that you are connecting it in the right way (+ is red, and black is -). There are 4 goldpins to connect motor to, no mater how because you can invert the motor direction in software.

Unfortunatly I had one problem with it. After connecting everything I noticed that motor is not spining at all. I quickly discovered that two wires in this 4 wire cable connecting stepper motor with shield are wrongly placed. I had to put them out from this with connector and swap them. If your stepper wouldn't rotate, check it maybe you have the same problem

Step 5: Horus (software)

This is very easy to use software for 3D scanning with this scanner. Link to download software:

When you open the software you need to calibrate your scanner, just follow the instruction that appears on the screen. If you have any problem with communication with scanner try to upload firmware again by clicking upload firmware in preferences.

After you calibrate your scanner you can start scanning. Just place thing that you want to scan on the scanning table and press small play button in left up corner of horus, wait few minutes to scan it and save it as .ply

Step 6: Meshlab

We need to use meshlab to convert cloud of points to mesh. Cloud of points is just plenty of points that are not connected to each other. Mesh is points connected together to create triangles and then we can export it to stl and print. Above and in the video you can find step by step guid how to export it. You can download meshlab here:

Step 7: Meshmixer

You need to use meshimxer to cut bottom of your model to make it perfectly flat. I am almost sure that in meshlab you can find the same options for it but I can't find it so I just thought that instead of loosing time on searching I will use meshmixer.

How to make it?

  1. Open meshimxer
  2. Import your model
  3. Click on edit
  4. Choose plane cut
  5. By moving plane with blue arrow, along Z axis place it at the bottom of your model to cut the unwated part
  6. Click accept
  7. Export to stl

Step 8: 3D Printing

For me one of the most important uses of 3D scanner is possibility to print things that I scanned. The first thing that I scanned was wooden owl that my parents gave me some time ago, it is very detailed so thought it could be a good test for this scanner. And I think that this scanner did it pretty well, of course it is not perfect but it may be cause by my not ideal settings in meshlab (I am still searching for the best settings). You can see my print on images above and download .stl file if you want to print it.