Introduction: Autodesk Workshop Guide: Next Engine 3D Scanner

About: Gabrielle Patin reporting for duty.

This Instructable is written for Workshop Users at Autodesk Technology Center in San Francisco.

Requirements for using the Next Engine Scanner at Pier 9

  • Take General Workshop Safety Class
  • Read through all the pages of this Instructable
  • Access to the Pier 9 Photography closet
  • The Scanner cannot leave the Pier or remain out overnight.


This Instructable is a walkthough for using Pier 9's Next Engine 3D Scanner

Next Engine 3D Scanner ULTRA HD

This scanner uses Multi-laser scanning technology to capture high quality 3D Scans.

Multi-laser technology uses a laser and camera to capture the geometry of an object. A connected turntable will automatically rotate the object to capture each side of the object.

NextEngine ScanStudio

The software ScanStudio stitches the scans together and exports as a mesh or Nerb 3D model.

Scanner User Manual

Here is the official Scanner user manual if you ever need additional information :

Step 1: Scanning Workflow

Below outlines the basic steps to Scan an object.

Click through this Instructable to see more information on each step

Set Up

Connect the Scanner, computer and Autodrive turntable.

Place your part on the turntable


Open ScanStudio

Click Scan tab

Align object in scan window

Press Scan

Allow the scanner to automatically scan your object multiple times from different angles

Post Processing

Use the trim option to trim away unwanted geometry

Use Align to align to scans

Use Fuse and Polish to clean up geomtery

Output - Export to STL or OBJ

Clean Up

Repackage and Return to storage closet

Step 2: Set Up

Scanner Location

The Scanner is stored in the Photography closet at Pier 9.

You will need to get the Orange Pelican case that stores the computer and the Next Engine Box.

The Components :

Computer - The Scanning computer loaded with the Scan Studio software.

Scanner - The large square object with cameras and lights built in.

Autodrive - The automatic turntable used to rotate the part

Part Gripper - the part that holds an object in place on the turn table

Set up :

  1. Connect the Scanner to the turntable using the network plug. Plug in the power cable to the scanner.
  2. Set up the computer and connect it to the scanner.
  3. Assemble the Autodrive and Part Gripper
  4. Follow the Attached Blue Diagram to set up the Partgripper on the Autodrive turntable.
  5. Place your part on the stand, and use the Partgripper to hold it in place.
  6. Place the Autodrive 9.5 inches away from the blue dot found on the top of the scanner

Object Tips :

Dark, Shiny or Translucent objects may need a coating of powder or paint to be picked up by the scanner.

Alignment Markers - It may be useful to mark the object in a few points with a pen. These will help align multiple scans together.

Step 3: Scan Set Up

NextEngine ScanStudio

ScanStudio is the software used to scan your object.

Scan Set Up

Select Scan at the top left of the starting screen to open up the blue scanning window.

Choose your settings :

Positioning :

  • 360 - This is the most common scanning option. It will scan one side of the object and then turn the turn table to scan other sides until it captures 360.
  • Bracket - Scan just some sides of the Object
  • Single - Scan a single side of the Objet

- The number of divisions will control the degree of rotation between scans and the total number of scans - The individual scans will be grouped as a family.

Points / In3 :

You can choose how much detail you want the scanner to capture. HD is the standard

Target :

Choose the color of your object, is it Dark, Neutral or Light.

Range :

This is how far the Object should be from the scanner and has to do with how big the Object is and if you are using the turn table or not.

  • Macro - Place your Object on the turntable, 9.5 inches away from the scanner.
  • Wide - For large and Wide Objects. Place your Object 25 inches away from the scanner.
  • Extended - For large Objects. Place your Object 25 inches away from the scanner.

Once you are set up, press Start to Scan the Object

Step 4: Scanning


The scanning process is surprisingly automatic.

The machine will scan a side, process the data and then display it on screen.

Once the machine finishes a side, it will automatically rotate the turn table, scan the next side and then align it to the previous scan.

You are free to walk away at this point, as it could take 10-40 minutes.

Trimming, while you wait, you can trim off the unwanted parts of the scan.


If you are using the turn table, the part of the object facing up and down may not get captured.

To capture this part of your object, flip the object around on the turn table so that the missing sides are exposed and then rescan the Object. You will then need to align the two scans together.

Continue to the next step to learn more about trimming and Fusing.

Step 5: Trim


Use the Trim tools to remove unwanted scanned geometry.

  1. Press Trim to enter tools
  2. Choose your selector type
  3. Select the areas you want removed.
  4. Press the trim button to remove your selected geometry.
  5. Press Back to return to the normal menu options.

Step 6: Align


Once you have multiple scans completed you can align them together by selecting common points of geometry and the align tool will snap them together.

- If you are having a hard time finding common points of geometry, you may want to physically mark them on your object before you scan.

Step 7: Fuse + Polish


The Fuse tab has a number of tools to help clean up your model.

Volume Merges

Re meshes

Fills Holes


Polish - Fills hole, Buffs bad geometry

Step 8: Export


Go to the Output tab to export your mesh.

ScanStudio HD allows the export of PLY, U3D, OBJ, XYZ, STL and VRML files

Step 9: Clean Up

Please make sure you put all the cords and parts of the scanner in their propper place in the Next Engine Box.

Return the scanner to it's place in the photo closet.