DIY 3D Body Scanner Intro.




The tools needed for this project include: Laser cutter (50 watt), Drill press, Power miter, box Table, saw Tap & die set (#25 drill bit & 10/24 NC tap) assorted twist drills, assorted spade bits, hole saws, forstner bits and assorted hand tools

The materials need for this project, their prices and where to buy them are included in the jpg.

The original design for this 3D body scanner was created by: David Tinapple, Professor at Arizona State University.

Collaborators for this project include: Dan Collins Professor at Arizona State University, Shahabedin Sagheb MFA Candidate at Arizona State University and Andrew Noble MFA Candidate at Arizona State University

Step 1: Prepare Main Structure.

Cut the 4 x 8 plywood sheet into the following parts:
a. base. 2’ x 2’ (1).

b. vertical mast back 7’ x 8” (1).

c. vertical mast sides 7’ x 4” (2).

d. rod bases. 9 1/2”x11 1/2” (2)

e. get two 8’ x 3/4” rods

Step 2: Step 2. Prepare Rod Bases

a. Drill two 3/4” (25/32”!--big enough to allow rods to pass, but not be sloppy) holes 6 1/2” apart on bottom rod base. 3/4” from top and side.
b. Drill two 3/4” holes 6 1/2” apart on top rod base. 3/4” from top and side

c. Drill one 3/4” hole in center of top rod support 3/4” from top

Step 3: Step 3. Assemble Mast

a. glue and screw mast sides to back of vertical mast using 5/8” sheet rock screws.
b. glue and screw rod base to top and bottom. make sure the three hole base is on top. (we faced the open part of the vertical mast away from the front. the open channel facing the back was used to to store the pulley system and hide the wires. see reference below)

c. wedge in the two vertical rods (you should be able to slightly bow rods to fit them in).

Step 4: Step 4. Assemble Scanner Carrier

a. cut wood 8” x 8” (2)
b. cut wood 6” x 6” (1)

c. drill together all three carrier pieces

d. add velcro to the two sides of scanner support that will ride the rods (to limit friction when pulley system is raising and lowering scanner support on the rods.)

e. screw in two L brackets on top of scanner support to loop thread through

f. drill 1” hole through all of scanner support to allow scanner cable to go through

Step 5: Step 5. Digitally Create Turntable Gears

a. access online gear generator software at to see how we generated gear files.
b create switch boards for verticle mast (5 1/4” x 6”) and lazy susan. (3” x 6.5”)

Step 6: Step 6. Laser Cut Parts

a. Use laser to design the generated gears from Step 5: on 1/4” plywood or MDF (or acrylic if you have that capability). (4 different gears)
b. Use laser to make the switch board for vertical mast (1) 5 1/4” x 6”. include holes for: up/off/down; pox; and motor: on 1/8” Masonite (1)

c. Use laser cutter make the switch board for Lazy Susan (1) 3” x 6.5”. include holes for: on/off; pox: on 1/4” plywood or MDF (1)

Step 7: Step 7. Wire Lazy Susan and Pulley System

a. wire and solder pulley system’s toggle switch (DPDT); potentiometer; and motor;
b wire and solder Lazy Susan’s toggle switch (DPDT); potentiometer; and motor;

Step 8: Step 8. Make Pulley Device

a. cut 2” diameter Schedule 40 PVC pipe: 6” piece (1)
b. drill 3/16” hole in center of both PVC pipe caps (use jig to aid in centering if necessary)

c. insert 9” long x 10-24 diameter threaded rod into drilled PVC caps and pipe (#10 wire size / 24 threads per inch).

d. allow for 1” of threaded rod to stick out on each side of PVC pipe. You will lock PVC to threaded rod with 10-24 nuts.

e. connect right side of threaded rod to pulley motor with 10-24 hex coupling. (You will need to drill and tap one end to receive 10-24 x 3/16” socket headed set screw. This end will be locked to motor spindle. The other end will be threaded onto axle and locked with 10-24 nut)

f. Drill flat bracket on opposite side of mast to level the PVC pipe horizontally

Step 9: Step 9. Assemble Pulley System

a. mount one sliding door pulley above center hole of vertical rod support. mount one sliding door pulley at top center edge of vertical mast. Both pulleys should clear the wood. Pulley will be used to guide the thread and limit tension.
b. attach thread to PVC pipe; turn on motor; wind thread tightly.

c. bring thread up to top of mast, over both pulleys and down the entire length of the mast.

d. attach thread to Scanner Support.

Step 10: Step 10. Assemble Lazy Susan

a. attach 12” Lazy Susan (circular ball bearing assembly) to 17” gear
b. mount the 12 VDC motor, 1.2 amps motor with the switch board for Lazy Susan (1) 3” x 6”. attach to small gear #4. mount on base board.

c. glue gear #2 and gear #3 together. align in center. (Burn guidelines using laser when you cut the gears).

d. drill 1/4” hole through 2/3 gear assembly and through baseboard. Countersink hole on bottom side of baseboard. Use 1/4 x 2” stove bolt as axle to pin 2/3 gear assembly to baseboard.

e. Do NOT pin gear #1 (large 17” gear) to baseboard. The weight of a body standing on the turntable is sufficient to hold it in place. Plus, this provides a measure of safety for exposed gear teeth. If pants or fingers get caught in teeth of large gear, the gears will simply spread apart.

Step 11: Step 11: Capture a Scan

Find a friend, connect the scanner up to a computer with Skanect software and capture some 3D Data!



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    15 Discussions


    2 days ago

    When you say use Skanect, could you add to this Instructable and explain step by step. Skanect isn't something I know about. I've heard of it and that's it. I need info on how to implement it with this setup so I can scan items for my research. I am a professor of psychology and I assist with community research. Having a body scanner would be wonderful for some of the projects I work on but buying a real 3D scanner is financially not possible. If it were for sports then I'd have all the money I need. Unfortunately, I'm a liberal arts professor and they don't provide money for our projects. Do you know what I mean? If you could help me on this, I would appreciate it greatly. Thanks


    1 year ago

    My group and I are building this for our class project. It's very good but certain parts are a little unclear. Do you have a more descriptive version of these instructions or could you please specify the measurements for your gears?


    2 years ago

    What's the accuracy and tolerance of the scans?


    3 years ago

    Amazing Project. There are really many posibilites whith the results :)

    How long does a scan take ?

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    We have been scanning figures anywhere between 2-5 minutes. If you increase the speed of the gears on the lazy susan, you could get the scan done in less time then that. Skanect captures around 30 frames per second.


    3 years ago

    oh also, why not use real picture as the instructable cover? it looks super awesome!! i think its better than those 70s phong shading render.. at first glance, i aint sure if you built it

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    Good question. I am new to Instructables, so I did not have the entire process documented. To show the steps I used Rhino to digitally construct the scanner and post virtual in-progress steps. My decision to show the virtual scanner in the cover was simply following my personal thought process of virtual to analog.

    aenobleDIY Hacks and How Tos

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you. So far I have scanned close to one hundred different people, along with various objects and sculptures. I use an ASUS scanner along with Skanect software.


    Reply 3 years ago

    oh, do you mind to upload some ed models?or render of your models? curious about the fidelity.


    Reply 3 years ago

    The Body was scanned with this 9ft body scanner/ASUS and Skanect. The face was scanned with a Next Engine laser scanner.


    3 years ago

    My God..
    AMMMAZING I'm just blown away from the diversity of Instructables thanks to your project.