3D scanning technology has always been out of reach to the consumer because of expense, complexity, and time. These scanning technologies often use expensive laser range sensors and scanning tables that require the user to be motionless for upwards of four minutes. Some pieces of software use photos from all around the subject to create the model. They use computer vision to detect the edges of objects and photo stitching techniques to make the 3d model. I have not had much success with photogrammetry as it often produced models that were not 3d printable. This 3d scanning technique uses an off-the-shelf Xbox Kinect and free software to create 3d models easily.
Step 1: What You Will Need
Step 2: Scanning Your First Object
Plug in the Kinect to your computer and launch the Skanect software. The first menu will determine the area that the Kinect will 3d scan. after you hit "scan", you will see a preview of what the Kinect sees. Try to get the subject entirely in the bounding box. After you hit the play button in the top corner, you can begin spinning the subject. Remember to keep your hands outside of the scanning area when spinning the subject. If the subject remains perfectly still, you should see a green model begin to form on-screen. When you are done you can hit the square button in the top corner to finish the scan.
Step 3: Exporting and Printing
You can export your model in almost any format, but the free version limits the model to a 5000 triangle count max, so if you have a very large object, expect a lower quality result. After you have exported the model you can 3d print it easily. You can see a time lapse of my friend's head being 3d printed.