How to 3D Scan With Skanect





Introduction: How to 3D Scan With Skanect

About: This work is not for us. It is for the future. And robots. That is, each of these pieces takes for granted that computers will outlast their makers, that technology will supplant humanity, and that craft sho...

3d Scanning at the Museum of Art and Design with Shapeways using a Microsoft Kinect and Skanect software.

Step 1: Setup

What you will need:

preferably a desktop as files are large

-Skanect software

-Microsoft Kinect
This device reads color with its camera and reads depth with the infrared sensor.

Lighting is very important in order to get an even colored scan

-spinning platform (optional)
This allows the subject to rotate making scanning much easier
Ours is courtesy of THE GREAT FREDINI's design
For instructions on how to build your own:

Step 2: Software Settings

Open Skanect / Go to NEW / Make sure your settings match those in the picture

(for a child you may want to make the bounding box a bit smaller)


Step 3: Workspace

A screen will come up showing the bounding box in the middle.  The infrared and video images are on the right.

Step 4: Lovely Assistant

Have your lovely assistant step onto the platform.  Be careful!  It spins!  Make sure the lighting is consistent on your subject.

Step 5: Record

Hold your Kinect up level with the subject's waist a few steps feet back from the platform.  Press RECORD.  The Kinect will begin recorded the depth (red) and the color (green).

Step 6: Spin Around

Once you have done one full sweep of your subject head to toe, press the pedal to make the platform spin.  As your subject is in motion slowly move the Kinect in an up and down motion making sure to get the top of the head all the way to the bottom of the platform as they rotate.  

If you do not have a rotating platform have no fear.  You can walk around your model or use any manual spinning base of your choice.

Step 7: Lining It Up

As you are scanning be sure that you are getting a high frame rate around 18-24 frames. If you get below 18 you have to move your Kinect faster. You can monitor this by looking at the white numbers at the bottom of the screen.  These numbers can also aid as a way of keeping your subject in alignment.  If you keep the numbers in the center of your subject as you scan head to toe you can be sure your scan will be straight.

Step 8: Cleaning Up Your Scan

Once your subject has done a full rotation press the RECORD button in the top left corner again to stop the scan. Now that you have a full body scan you have to do some post processing to get it ready to print.  First is making it watertight.  Go to the WATERTIGHT option.  Choose smoothing LOW and press RUN.

Now your scan will have color.  But it may not be straight or have a flat base.  Now we have to use the MOVE & CROP tools. Use the SLIDE BARS to adjust the X, Y, and Z axis of your scan to make it flat and straight.  Make sure your base is parallel with the X Y plane as cropping will cut off anything below it to make a flat base. Type in the name of your file in the TEXT BOX. Press CROP TO GROUND. 

Step 9: Exporting Model

To export it to your computer go to SHARE and the export menu will open with a LOCAL option.  Under LOCAL go to EXPORT MODEL and use the setting seen in the picture to export for printing.  It is important to chooseVRML as the file type.  This file type reads both shape and color.  Click EXPORT and you are done!  Now you can use that file to upload to a 3D printer of your choice.

Step 10: 3D Printed Selfie

If you wish to 3D print this model I suggest using SHAPEWAYS.COM and uploading it to be printed in FULL COLOR SANDSTONE.


Ships to your door in a few weeks! 


Full Spectrum Laser Contest

Third Prize in the
Full Spectrum Laser Contest



    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest
    • Clocks Contest

      Clocks Contest
    • Water Contest

      Water Contest

    69 Discussions

    Hey guys thanks for all the love! If you like this post please vote!

    Hi. This looks excellent and is exactly what I need to do for my major project at uni. I've followed the first steps here - I've installed Skanect and I've connected the Kinect but nothing is happening - it's as if my laptop isn't picking the Kinect up. Can anyone help me please? Thanks so much!!

    1 reply

    Make sure you've installed MS Kinect SDK 1.8 if your using v1 kinect and if your using the new version then get the MS Kinect SDK 2.0. Just search them on google and you'll see the one from the microsoft website. Good luck!


    2 years ago

    Is there any way I could scan a room or even a small house (inside) with this and if not can you please help me find out how?

    I'm not getting good resolution on the face AND my models are super tiny. When I import them into my printer software I have to enlarge them like 150%. Any ideas on what I'm missing here? Thanks.

    Hello, is there a way easier to scan three-dimensional, for example, with smartphone thanks

    Hey there. You can take a look at this article to find out how. Alternatively if that is confusing you can see how (with pictograms) you would connect it to the original Xbox 360. This is how you would connect it to a PC (imagine that the console was your PC) :)

    that is cool. what 3D printer did u use? I have a printrbot simple.

    Hello there, thanks for sharing. Just a question, did you use the paid version of skanect?

    Hi. Is anything changed with kinect 2.0 ? Can it be used in your project to make 3d scans now? Are the scans better, sharper, more accurate from kinect 2.0 than kinect1.0? Is a sense to pay extra to kinect 2.0? Thank You very much.

    Hi. Is anything changed with kinect 2.0 now ? Can it be used in your project to make 3d scans? Are the scans better, sharper, more accurate from kinect 2.0 than kinect1.0? Is a sense to pay extra to kinect 2.0? Thank You very much.

    Hey, to anyone whom has successfully been able to simulate this or the author herself, I have an important questions before I proceed to get/buy all the items required.

    Will this setup allow for accurate 3D scanning for dimensioning/measurement purposes?

    I kindly await for a reply :).


    - Devo.

    I'm really glad I read this thru (unusual in my case) before I started. I was al ready to purchase an XBox ONE instead of the 360 on ebay. Heck, the 360's are cheap.
    So, if I manage ot get one with a power adapter, it still won't work with the software, etc, correct?
    off to ebay land...THANKS for a GREAT Instructable.

    can you share the specs of the computer you used? CPU, graphics card, ram? thanks. this is brilliant.

    Amazing work...My question can i use Kinect For Xbox instead of kinect for windows ??

    any kind of commercial vacuum or electric drill will work. make sure the drill is cordless. you can even use a drill battery to power it. if you find a corded drill you can always use that with the wall cord and a gear on the drill and a gear on the platform.