May.25, 2013

There are a lot DIY scanners out there, but Bernhard from VirtuMake wanted to build a time-of-flight scanner at home. Time-of-flight scanners are based a simple principle: if we know how long a laser takes to reach an object and reflect back to a sensor, we know how far away that object is.

So the heart of this type of scanner is a time-of-flight laser rangefinder. Bernhard's latest project the VirtuRange LIDAR 3D scanner uses a hacked Fluke Laser rangefinder that you can get in any hardware store. It got a USB interface from Porcupine electronics and was mounted on two stepper motors. The laser rangefinder finds the distance of a surface by timing the round-trip time of a pulse of light.

The motors are controlled by an Arduino and a Python script moves the range finder around. The script records the position of the motors and reads the distance from the laser rangefinder. It can then calculate a pointcloud and save it in the PLY format. You can use Meshlab to view this pointcloud and it is pretty accurate.

Watch the video below to see how it works:

You can get the files on Thingiverse.


Posted in 3D Scanning



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