Dec.23, 2011

Christmas holiday is coming, finally have time to start your favorite DIY project at home.

Why not build you own 3D-scanner - a FabScan. What is that? A webcam takes pictures of a 3D object and the software detects the reflected laser beam. The result is a point cloud. The point cloud files can be used for game developers and the software allows to automatically produce .stl of the scanned point cloud for 3D printer.

What do you need to build a FabScan? A small laser cut MDF case, a Arduino board, two engines, some wires and connectors, LED lighting, a small red light laser, a turntable and a good light-sensitive auto-focus webcam. How much are they cost? I guess less than 150 euro.

The designer of FabScan is Francis Engelmann and this is a project for his Bachelor thesis at the Media Computing Group at RWTH Aachen University. He said this was an affordable and easy to build open source project, the only disadvantage of FabScan is that the background need to be calibrated since he had not chosen to follow the David scanner concept. 

A webcam with auto-focus function can be handy for FabScan project because it can detect the exact distance to the object, but then it makes the cost higher. The object rotates slowly on the turntable so it can be scanned 360 degree. The software that compiles the point cloud data is currently only available for Mac, no Windows version yet. But designer said a Linux version is in the works and will be soon available.


Is FabScan easy to build? Yes, follow the assembly instructions for the scanner you can build it up in couple of hours. Great!

Interested? Order the webcam, motors and other stuff, you can start. Maybe you can improve the design and make it work for bigger objects? Or improve the resolution output? All are possible.

More detailed information about this project can be found at engelmann's site.

Posted in 3D Scanning


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