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3-D Laser Scanner


by argon on August 4, 2005

Table of Contents

intro: 3-D Laser Scanner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Video . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

File Downloads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

step 1: Position camera, laser, and cylindrical lens . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

step 2: Position target on rotating platform . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

step 3: Lights, camera, action! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

step 4: Process the video . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

File Downloads . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Related Instructables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Advertisements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

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Comments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

http://www.instructables.com/id/3-D-Laser-Scanner/
intro: 3-D Laser Scanner
Create your own super hi-tech 3-D laser scanner. Using just a laser pointer, wine glass, rotating platform, and a digital video camera, you can make accurate 3-D models
of an object or person.

Now on Know How! Click on the steps above for more details.

Video

Do you like this Instructable? Then check out episodes one, two, four, five, six, and
seven!

File Downloads

timsmom4.stl (11 MB)


[NOTE: When saving, if you see .tmp as the file ext, rename it to 'timsmom4.stl']

http://www.instructables.com/id/3-D-Laser-Scanner/
step 1: Position camera, laser, and cylindrical lens
Align the laser so that its beam passes through the cylindrical lens, creating a vertical line rather than a point, and projects onto your target. Initially, the lens was the stem
of a wine glass, but in this picture I use a cylindrical piece of acrylic. Position the video camera at a small angle (~15 degrees) from the laser.

Image Notes
1. Laser pointer. Use a green laser if you want it to look cool, although any color will suffice.
2. Video camera. Position the video camera at approximately a 15 degree angle to the laser.
3. This is the cylindrical lens. Originally, I used the stem of a wine glass, but eventually, I upgraded to an acrylic rod.

step 2: Position target on rotating platform


Create a platform which rotates at a constant angular velocity. Record players, for example, are perfect for small objects. Position your target at the center of rotation.
And make sure your target closes her eyes!

step 3: Lights, camera, action!


Turn off the lights. To make the image processing easier, it's very helpful to get the room as dark as possible so that only the reflected laser light is visible. Rotate your
target at a constant angular velocity. Record the video. Notice how protruding features displace the laser line.

http://www.instructables.com/id/3-D-Laser-Scanner/
step 4: Process the video
Convert the video to an avi. Use an edge detection algorithm to find the location of the laser line. Reconstruct your 3-D model. I've included an early, uncommented
MATLAB script, which was used to generate this image.

File Downloads

http://www.instructables.com/id/3-D-Laser-Scanner/
KnowHowScanner.m (4 KB)
[NOTE: When saving, if you see .tmp as the file ext, rename it to 'KnowHowScanner.m']

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Comments
50 comments Add Comment view all 97 comments

hyperdyne says: Mar 24, 2009. 7:27 PM REPLY


hey just to let you know.. ive worked with a handheld pointer laser that had and extra 3 button batteries thrown into the equation. ive pointed it right into my
eyes many many times. it's only dangerous to people have have a disorder in the region of photosensitivity. lasers only begin to cause retinal damage if you
stare at them for.. oh say... longer than you could stare at the sun. word of advice eat more caratin carrots and eggs.

imshanedulong says: Feb 27, 2009. 6:05 PM REPLY


I cant open the file at the end!
They are .TMP and I can't open them!

amakerguy says: Mar 24, 2009. 8:11 AM REPLY


LOL and look at your avatar

fwjs28 says: Mar 19, 2009. 12:24 PM REPLY


rename it to .exe or w/e it needs to be

Darrellt says: Mar 21, 2009. 9:31 AM REPLY


If you use the david software do you still turn it into an avi?

electfire says: Feb 3, 2009. 5:48 PM REPLY


omg that is awsome it is like what they use on CSI for facial reconsruction!

Mohamed Ali Hawas says: Jan 23, 2009. 10:52 AM REPLY


nice work, but how about the accuracy of the whole operation

seot says: Aug 31, 2006. 3:38 AM REPLY


Added a screenshot

http://www.instructables.com/id/3-D-Laser-Scanner/
seot says: Jan 5, 2007. 8:23 PM REPLY
http://www.3d3solutions.com/ - For the 3D scanner now..

Berkin says: Jan 13, 2009. 9:10 AM REPLY


...

el_filosofo says: Feb 24, 2008. 3:03 PM REPLY


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ych8pgTfD1A

here is my homemade 3dScanner...


take a look...

Berkin says: Jan 13, 2009. 9:10 AM REPLY


It only shows one side of the shoe...

alsager19 says: Aug 14, 2005. 8:09 AM REPLY


hi Aragon

i love your 3D scanner system. I dont understand how i would process my video data? How does the MATLAB script help?

alsager19

Berkin says: Jan 13, 2009. 9:08 AM REPLY


lol, 2005

GorillazMiko says: Apr 7, 2008. 5:28 PM REPLY


Your comment is the first comment ever posted on Instructables, I am pretty sure.

evanwehrer says: Dec 6, 2008. 6:33 AM REPLY


WOAH!!! NO WAY!

The Jamalam says: Aug 26, 2008. 2:39 AM REPLY


it is!

rahmansaid says: Oct 28, 2008. 5:38 AM REPLY


Can you scan a dark/black object?

Berkin says: Jan 13, 2009. 9:07 AM REPLY


That would be more of a challenge. Darker objects absorb more light, so you would need to have a very dark room, and the camcorder at a more
sensitive setting.

tranoxx says: Nov 22, 2008. 7:30 AM REPLY


that looks expensive

Berkin says: Jan 13, 2009. 9:05 AM REPLY


It's not.

evanwehrer says: Dec 6, 2008. 6:29 AM REPLY


Not really, I did something similar with a webcam and a 35mW green laser with a line lense. It was free for me, I had all the stuff/

http://www.instructables.com/id/3-D-Laser-Scanner/
Berkin says: Jan 13, 2009. 9:05 AM REPLY
Why is the back of that person's head in shreds?

themaetsnake says: Dec 31, 2008. 5:28 PM REPLY


just so you know, the make very cheap laser levels which project a perfectly straight line, and also have on-off switches that allow the laser line to remain on.

dcoulombe says: Sep 16, 2008. 12:51 PM REPLY


the handyscan 3d scanner is better than that: http://www.creaform3d.com/en/handyscan3d/default.aspx

evanwehrer says: Dec 6, 2008. 6:31 AM REPLY


Dude, this is for people who dont want to buy one, but make one. What your comparing is like comparing a pencil and a space station.

gamer4maker says: Nov 30, 2008. 5:12 PM REPLY


Does anyone know where I can download the executable version he talks about in the video?

zeekindustries says: Nov 24, 2008. 6:50 PM REPLY


I do really need some help with the MATLAB script, I just can't get it right, when I change the word filename for the name of my video (within single quotes), it
says "Unexpected MATLAB expression." I do really need the help, hope you could help me out

all_thumbs says: Jul 10, 2006. 4:19 PM REPLY


What about a Gimp script?

blueforce4116 says: Sep 20, 2007. 6:30 AM REPLY


...pretty sure the gimp is made for picture editing. I think you mean blender which dynamic deals with mesh models and such (gimp is more static)...at
any rate if you don't have matlab, and there is a good chance that you don't because of its cost you can always use the free software here:
http://www.david-laserscanner.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=161#161
It actually gives a better end result. This instructables (and the included script) is more for people that actually want to see how the calculations are done.
If you want a fast free working solution I would go with the DAVID laser scanner at the above link.

rahmansaid says: Oct 28, 2008. 6:05 AM REPLY


The David Scanner demo shows a horizontal line scan. Would it work with a vertical scan like this? What adjustments need to be made?

blueforce4116 says: Sep 20, 2007. 6:33 AM REPLY


sry everyone I posted the wrong link. here is the correct one: http://www.david-laserscanner.com/

nerfster says: Feb 4, 2007. 11:40 AM REPLY


Does the lazer have to be green?

thermoelectric says: Sep 2, 2008. 11:17 PM REPLY


No, thats just to make it look cool

bardon08 says: Sep 26, 2007. 7:37 PM REPLY


Why not use a laser level with a line lens? It would make for a higher quality model because there would be a thinner line, which would make for more
precise measurements.

stevie1 says: Jul 29, 2008. 8:07 AM REPLY


thats what i was thinking, and i'm pretty sure that laser levels have a threaded thing in the bottom to hook up a tripod to them.

zippy says: Oct 31, 2006. 9:38 PM REPLY


Where'd you get the rod?

http://www.instructables.com/id/3-D-Laser-Scanner/
rrrmanion says: Jul 27, 2008. 9:03 AM REPLY
look at the tag for it , it says u can also use the stem of a wine glass

rrrmanion says: Jul 27, 2008. 9:05 AM REPLY


(not being mean) as you read this a while ago and was probably updated between now and then.

wezyap says: May 21, 2008. 2:15 AM REPLY


Just wondered if you could post digrams/schemas of the setup, distances, angles and so on. also interested in the math and algorithm behind the
conversation from a series of images to points in space/nurbs

el_filosofo says: Mar 23, 2008. 6:02 PM REPLY


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Em4brVxZHE
here is my new video...

hope you liked

The Nate Dawg says: Mar 18, 2008. 9:48 PM REPLY


Is there a way to do this without Matlab? I don't want to sign up or anything.

koorosh says: Jan 22, 2006. 3:42 PM REPLY


would you please tell me after edge detection how i can turn it into 3d? i am using matlab software.

blueforce4116 says: Sep 20, 2007. 6:40 AM REPLY


Are you referring to the calibration step once the script is already running? Please be more specific.

digitalice says: Feb 6, 2006. 1:56 PM REPLY


Yeah, please submit the code/script used

blueforce4116 says: Sep 20, 2007. 6:31 AM REPLY


He did include the script at the bottom of the tutorial...

Sungam says: Feb 12, 2006. 1:05 PM REPLY


Hi, does anyone know how to make the script work i matlab or any other program/script to do the same job?

blueforce4116 says: Sep 20, 2007. 6:25 AM REPLY


you need to create the avi file, and then put it in the same directory as the matlab script. When that is done you need to change the word "filename" to
whatever the name of your avi file is (make sure the name is within single quotes). e.g. 'test.avi'
I think that is what you are asking about.

Uthman says: Sep 15, 2007. 9:26 AM REPLY


awesome =)

id write my own software for it though =)

josh92176 says: Jul 27, 2007. 8:08 AM REPLY


I love the idea bu in you guide you say to use software in order to split up and rename the images. What software is this?

BTW: Gr8 instructable

view all 97 comments

http://www.instructables.com/id/3-D-Laser-Scanner/