homemade 3d scanner - the tutorial
the hardware
the software
the working principle
around the beginning of the nineties i first came into contact with 3d computer modeling. i was so fascinated that soon after i bought myself the 3d studio package. it was great. i loved building and rendering all kinds of objects and scenes. but i soon realized that modeling, even moderately intricate things, took quit some time. so i dreamed of an input device to digitize objects. but it took several years until i picked up the idea again.
a while back i came across a stepper controller card that can be used to control three stepper motors and a limiting switch. i bought it and built a touch probe scanner. that scanner is very accurate (to around 250dpi) but painfully slow. a scan of an entire coin can easily take up to a day. its best use is to scan objects with little height variation such as coins or smooth objects without steps.
then i checked out some commercially available laser scanners. they are very impressive due to their speed, accuracy and last but not least their price. starting around $10k the price of a laser scanner is prohibitively expensive. then again the mechanical, optical and electronical parts are expensive. in addition the software to generate meshes from arbitrary point clounds is not cheap also.
the basic principle of a laser scanner with a line laser seemed not too complicated. so i decided to try it out though i had no idea about image acquisition from a digital camera nor how to analyze the images. after a few weeks of building the mechanical hardware writing and somewhat optimizing the software the result can now be seen on these pages.

these pages do not offer a complete design nor the code for a laser scanner since i believe there should be lots of room for other ideas resulting in a different and hopefully better performance.

i do not take any responsibility for any damages you
might cause while experimenting with your own scanner!