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FabScan 3D Scanner

by francisengelmann, published

FabScan 3D Scanner by francisengelmann Dec 3, 2011

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FabScan 3D Scanner by francisengelmann is licensed under the GNU - GPL license.

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FabScan - Affordable 3D Laser Scanning of Physical Objects

The images on the left show some scans made by the scanner.
The software allows to automatically produce a .stl of the scanned pointcloud.

For more information on the project check this site: http://hci.rwth-aachen.de/FabScan


The assembly instructions for the scanner and all the needed files are available here: http://hci.rwth-aachen.de/fabscan_instructions

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I am hoping you could tell me how accurate is this scanner? I am trying to recreate some objects and if the dimensions aren't perfect, it won't fit my needs. Thanks!

What is the maximum size you can scan with the FabScan Cube V2?

I have a issue, I ordered a Logitech C270 like the main page says too. I finally found the laser files that will open correct here http://hci.rwth-aachen.de/fabscan_instructionshttp://hci.rwth-aachen.de/fabs.... But the only things it lists are for a Quickcam 9000 pro and a Logitech C920. if someone has the laser file that has the part that holds the C270 can you please send me a message.

also I am confused the order instructions say to order only one shield and one stepper motor, but I see one it needed for teh laser as well.

I am in a tricky situation. We are trying to lasercut the parts for the scanner but our laser cutter is not supported by visicut. Could we buy the parts somewhere or could we get the dxf files somehow?

I found the old files located here, the plf files are for their new style case. https://github.com/francisengelmann/FabScan100/tree/master/lasercutterhttps://github.com/francisenge...

is there any update on the FabScan software for Windows? the last update was Feb 2013. I have ordered the electronics. And I am hoping a local place can read the laser cutter files. But the software threw me for a loop.

Hi, I dont have access to a laser cutter machine of my own, so I have to get them cut in a specialized store, they dont have the program for the laser cut parts extension, does any one knows if there are dxf files? Thanks...

I've built a Fabscan, which way should the turntable rotate while scanning, clockwise or anti-clockwise? Thanks.

is it still down for you? I can reach it with no problems... sometimes people from outside Germany report problems...

It's back! Thx…

Im trying to calibrate my Fabscan. Where do I Find the Positioning of the simulatet Turntable ?

Does the software only work on a MAC?

we added a Ubuntu Live CD to the project page that contains the fabscan software.

Where can I find this Live CD?

At the moment only Mac, but I'm working on Linux version too. I rewrite it in Qt so it should compile on Mac, Linux and Windows.

I have the files for the Fabscan chassis in DXF now, let me know if you need horizontal or vertical 60x30 sheets for your laser cutter. I also have 6 kits of all the nuts and bolts, I will be putting these on eBay soon.

Can you post the DXF files up somewhere?

There are two projects related to the original FabScan:




we hope to include some of their ideas in the next release.

FabScan Laserholder and Turntable mount
FabScan Turntable Holder - Simplified

Can you give me the dimensions between the camera to the center of the platform and the camera to the laser? I don't have a laser cutter and I'd like to build a version with what's available to me. This looks like an awesome project.

Thanks for your help.

if you try to make your own cabinet you could have problems as the cabinet

is also the calibration between camera/laser/turntable if you are 1 mm out you will not get a perfect scan,i built my own cabinet it worked but not

perfect so i ordered laser cut parts , it works fine. If you have spent money

purchasing stepper motors arduino drivers surcuit its worth getting laser cut


regards reducer

Hi tomlombardi, thank you for your interest. Francis will give you the precise numbers soon.

My first guess at the moment was this file:

Not sure what the numbers mean in actual world coordinates or for your constructions, but while you are waiting for Francis' reply, maybe the numbers a
t the end of the file might help you?:
////position of laser and cam

define LASER_POS_X 14.0f //precise by construction

define LASER_POS_Y 6.4f //not needed for calculations

define LASER_POS_Z 28.5f //precise by construction

//#define CAM_POS_X -0.7f

define CAM_POS_X 0.0f

ne CAM_POS_Y 5.3f //quickcam 9000

define CAM_POS_Y 6.3f //c920

define CAM_POS_Z 27.0f

Hi tomlombardi,

I just modified the defines.h, now the dimensions should be clearer.

The distance you are looking for is 195mm.

For all other dimensions just check the bottom of file:

has any one got the Fabscan to work if so please post results

we know of at least 4 people outside of FabLab Aachen who created their FabScan and are using it...

when i start Fabscan it runs demo on screen but it won't let me select logical

when i try to select camera drop down it shows cam and below that cam again

when i select first cam it still uses in sight,select second cam it turns Fabscan off. the logitec cam runs on other apps but not Fabscan ?? can u Help

regards Brad

  1. open PhotoBooth

  2. PhotoBooth: select the internal iSight

  3. leave PhotoBooth open (don't close it!)

  4. open FabScan

FabScan should now select the external webcam


you do not have to convert the PCB layout to Eagle, the Eagle layout is available in the
http://hci.rwth-aachen.de/fabscanhttp://hci.rwth-aachen.de/fabs... site just download that and the Eagle format is in the ZIP file.

tried converting the pcb layout to a schematic in Eagle, it went badly wrong, no wires going to 2nd stepper driver. Very odd. also doesn't seem to have a lid in the laser cutter files or any pieces or description on how to attach the turntable to the stepper.

Hey Francis the last update to the assembly instructions was February 6th. Will you be able to finish this as I guess you have completed your project files now.

Also can you provide the PCB for the arduino shield, I know the eagle file are there but if you have a local source for the PCB could you make them available on eBay or on the fabscan site?

No sooner than I post this, the site came back up for me. I'll finish the instructions as soon as possible and get them to you! Thanks for all your work!

bohne, would you guys happen to have an official picture of the FabScan logo? We've built a FabScan for a senior project in class, and I'd like to include the logo in the presentation.

that's great! Where can we find more information or pictures about ypur class?

We will think about a logo... maybe it will be the bear that is also the application logo?

Francis, do we have this picture in a higher resolution somewhere?

Hey, sorry for the late response, was sick all last week. My team mate (barrychuck, a previous poster) and I are actually comparing the FabScan to two other 3D scanners for the project, and FabScan is the favored project so far (just really wish there was a Windows version)! The end result will be a final report and an assembly instructions document saved as a pdf, both of which we will be more than happy to send to you. The assembly instructions may be a nice thing to include as a download from the FabScan site, so users can print it out or something.

Our project is due this Thursday, so We will be able to email it to you guys by the end of the week.

As for the logo, I added the name of the scanner to it as shown... I hope that's okay.

Hey Barfight, so where can we see your final report and assembly instrcutions document ? :)

Again, sorry for my late response! I've emailed the final report to you, Francis. I can't seem to get the assembly instruction website to connect in order to finish the instructions document. I'll keep trying though.

Just in case anyone else tries, this appears to ONLY work with Snow Leopard. So let's say tried the IATKOSV7, you'll find it says the application is incompatible.

Try#2 is to see if I can update IATKOSv7 (OSX 10.5.7) with the retail disk and not loose the whole thing.

we never tried it with old operating systems. Currently, only OS X 10.6 and 10.7 were tested and work without any problems.

Right, so maybe add that as a requirement? So people might be able to reproduce your project.

Honestly, It's amazing, except for the fact of missing files and lacking documentation.

Also, the 0byte CamLaserTurnTableHolderFinal2.cdr

Also, what color and type of LED is used and whats it's purpose since it's controlled by the software and the arduino code?

Hi Bohne, sorry didn't see that, thanks !!

Hi Francis, I'd like to take part at your building class. Where is it held...?


could i use this to scan existing objects then , open the file in solidworks or similar and make adjustments before printing out again ?

Does anybody have experiences with this?

I would like to make a "negative" form of a scanned objekt (STL). How can I do this? I use Autodesk Inventor and SolidThinking, but I can only take a look at the STL-file, no chance to edit.

A tutorial would be very great, but a software name would be enough for me :)

you can edit the STL file with some software tools... many other tools can edit the point cloud data (PTS,PLY, or PCD file format).

how silly.

thingiverse tries 2 x 3 times to add a picture and then says 'nothing posted'

but it does add six posts

and i cannot clean it up ...

Printed LaserHolder12.stl in PLA on the Ultimaker.

Tip: clear the holes for 3 mm bolt, but no need to ream the nutholes.

Just warm the nut on the tip of a soldering iron and press it gently into the nuthole

Printed LaserHolder12.stl in PLA on the Ultimaker.

Tip: clear the holes for 3 mm bolt, but no need to ream the nutholes.

Just warm the nut on the tip of a soldering iron and press it gently into the nuthole

Printed LaserHolder12.stl in PLA on the Ultimaker.

Tip: clear the holes for 3 mm bolt, but no need to ream the nutholes.

Just warm the nut on the tip of a soldering iron and press it gently into the nuthole

Printed LaserHolder12.stl in PLA on the Ultimaker.

Tip: clear the holes for 3 mm bolt, but no need to ream the nutholes.

Just warm the nut on the tip of a soldering iron and press it gently into the nuthole

Printed LaserHolder12.stl in PLA on the Ultimaker.

Tip: clear the holes for 3 mm bolt, but no need to ream the nutholes.

Just warm the nut on the tip of a soldering iron and press it gently into the nuthole

What software does the scanner use and is there a Windows version of the software? Not too much of a problem as I can just fire up a copy of Puppy if I need to, definitely want to have a go at building this

The software is part of the project. There is no Windows version yet. For more information about the software, check out the project web page.

Is the software only available for mac?

Right now only Mac binary. I am working on a Linux version too.

Anyway, I made available the source code on github. Except for the GUI and few other classes everything should compile on linux.

It's written in C++ using OpenGL, OpenCV and Powercrust (available under GPL). The next big step will be to use PCL to replace powercrust, which will hopefully also allow me to manipulate the point clouds better.

I have no idea about the software algorithm? How can I get it?

How many images does it need?

Can the fussion process be done automatically.

You can find the software in the github of the project - have a look at the project homepage. All source are available.

The software does not take pictures. It processes the image data from the webcam and creates a point cloud from that data. This is possible because of the combination of the webcam and a line laser. Other 3D scanners don't need the laser and work on a batch of images...
Because FabScan software ha
s a point cloud, the fussion can be done automatically with various algorithms.

The .cdr laser cutting files are incomplete. There is no turntable nor a middle plane. It also appears that there should be a top, but it's not in the files either.

You are right, that's why it is still work in progress.

At the moment I am working on the assembly guide and fine tuning the .cdr laser cutting files so it becomes very clear how to assemble it on your own. Also I am redesigning the 3d printer parts so they become printable on DIY 3d printers.

Nevertheless, the version of the files I used for building the prototype is available on the project page, so if you don't want to wait for the complete guide you can find them there!

If you have questions during the assembly process, please let me now!

I will put the missing files online asap!

I'm unable to open the CDR files in Corel Draw version 11. Any chance we could get them in DXF or backwards compatible CDR?

Very interested in building this. Any ETA on when the first draft of the tutorial will be completed? I guess I'll order the webcam and motors and stuff and wait for the tutorial to get a little more fleshed out before I start assembly. Thanks for your contributions to this community as I've been wanting a scanner for a while.

you can order the parts now, assembly is not really that hard. The guide will be targeted at beginners. thingiverse users will have no problems with the assembly :)

If you have problems, use our mailinglist: http://groups.google.com/group/fabscanhttp://groups.google.com/group...

Your project is very interesting, but I don't understand about source code. In your page folder source is empty. Hardware part looks simple for me, and I am interested to make one, but I understand nothing about software. I don't have MAC and use Windows. Please help with source code and executable. ))

You are right, there seems to be a problem with the source files. We will fix that as soon as possible!

We don't plan to port it to Windows, but if you want to work on a windows version let us know ;)


can you please provide more specific informations?
I think the tutorial is not complete, I havent found any .dxf, sadly I have no corel draw. Can somebody who has corel convert the lasercut-files into a .dxf?

I would so love to built one! Is there any chance to run this on a linux machine or
is the software only for mac? are there any alternativ softwares?

so far its really great work and I think the community will fastly start working on that project, as soon as it reaches a point where somebody interested can rebuilt this thing.

Big thanks for that big improvement in the worldwid
e fabber/maker-community

cheers ijon

You can use VisiCut and the PLF (portable laser format) files for your lasercutter. You can find them at the assembly instructions page. There are also SVG files on that page.

The software uses open source libraries and can be ported to any OS with little effort if you want to create a command line version. Live preview in a GUI is only available for Mac OS X, because we use cocoa and openGL for performance reasons. But feel free to write a new GUI in you favorite frame
work :)

This looks cool I might have to make one. I don't have a laser cutter but being a joiner by trade I'm sure I can make it work out for me

just printed the .stl's with PLA on an Ultimaker at the miniFabLab

the turntableholder comes out fine, but the laserholder seems a bit week.

the vertical part is 5 mm thick. with - i expect - a 3 mm hole there is not enough plastic left. i did 4 samples, even with 90% infill they break easily.

but, as Francis says: it is work in progress!

Oho! We only tested and printed the parts in our FabLab in Aachen on a Dimension Elite. I will provide more stable models ass soon as I find time! thanks for your input

Is there a forum? Or mailing list.

We have a google group that will be used pretty soon:


on the FabScan homepage you can also find the eagle files for the Arduino shield and some other file formats for the lasercut parts in case you don't know how to open the .cdr file :)

Are you working with anyone to put this together as a kit?

Seems pretty cool! Ill definitely look into it more once my makerbot arrives :)

Whats was the estimated cost for this?

Only about 120euros, including Logitech webcam and Arduino board!