Design of the Week: $30 3D Scanner

By on January 23rd, 2017 in Design

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 The $30 3D Scanner model
The $30 3D Scanner model

This week’s selection is the interesting #30 3D Scanner 3D model by UK-based designer Dave Clarke.

The design is for a series of parts that assemble into a functional turntable-based 3D scanning system. No, there’s no sophisticated lasers or similar involved, as the concept leverages existing – and free – 3D scanning services, such as those from Autodesk. 

The Autodesk ReMake service is a photogrammetric process in which a series of optical images are taken of a subject from different perspectives. The service then uses slight changes in the background to develop an interpretation of the 3D shape. 

Often the service is used with a handheld smartphone, where you walk around the subject, taking images manually as you go. When you complete the circle of images, you submit them to ReMake for processing and are rewarded with a proper 3D model later. 

This photogrammetric 3D scanning service can also work with a turntable, and that’s what this project is all about. The idea is to mount your smartphone in a holder and then manually crank the turntable so that the scanned object is rotated in front of the smartphone’s camera. 

As the rotation occurs, the smartphone takes pictures every once in a while to comprise the set of images for ReMake. 

You might ask how the images are actually taken, as you wouldn’t want to be touching the smartphone repeatedly, as it would probably dislodge the device and thus misalign some of the images. 

This 3D design solves this problem brilliantly: most smartphones can trigger an image capture with the volume control on the headphones. Therefore, the design includes a slot where the volume control can be inserted, and as the turntable is cranked around, the image captures are triggered automatically! Evidently the machine is designed to capture 50 images per full rotation, sufficient for an excellent 3D scan. This approach should also be much quicker than doing it by hand. Just set it up and turn the crank. 

 Four parts to the main body of the $30 3D Scanner
Four parts to the main body of the $30 3D Scanner

One more interesting feature of the design is that the main turntable is segmented into four parts, making it possible to print the relatively large design on almost any desktop 3D printer. 

You can download the parts at no charge from Pinshape at the link below. 

Via Pinshape, and Dave Clark Design

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!