May 19, 2015

DIY digitizer with detailed construction guide

Nikolaj Møbius from Fablab RUC developed a simple and cheap DIY digitizer 3d scanner that can record points in a physical space and convert them into a 2D vector drawing for laser cutting or 3D printing.
It is made with three rotary encoders and gets a points measures controlled by Arduino. Since it currently does only measures more suitable for 2D capture it is ideal for CNC or laser cutting with very good results.
Since the software is in early development phase we can expect better 3d scanning or 3d point cloud capture soon.

Check out the project homepage with very detailed build guide and software:

It looks very easy to build even for the beginners.

Here is the description of current limitations:
So far the system is designed to record a 2D surface and convert it into a PDF vector file. The Z axis is simply ignored in the output. Since the system actually records in a 3D space it is possible to export a 3D object for post processing. This is mainly a matter of implementing a another export method.
However, since the arm is not able to reach around an object in a 3D space it will not be possible to record all the points necessary to make a full 3D object (Update: In the source files we have a version with a rotating platform now). One possible workaround would be to implement a rotating base which would enable the arm to approach the object from all sides. Further, the software is only a usable prototype, but could be evolved into a much more solid tool.
I like the plywood frame arm!

For a similar (but less documented) project look at:

For a really cheap laser and webcam based 3d scanner see Sardauscan:


I was wondering how to convert point cloud in some solid mesh by using free software and I found this tutorial with Meshlab: