MakerScanner v0.3

by abarry, published

MakerScanner v0.3 by abarry Aug 30, 2010

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MakerScanner v0.3 by abarry is licensed under the GNU - GPL license.

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The MakerScanner is a completely open source 3D-scanner and the perfect complement to a MakerBot or other 3D printer. Every one of the scanner's plastic parts can be printed on a MakerBot or other 3D printer!

Update: I've added parts with slightly different tolerances for printing on the Stratasys 3D printers.

A lot of folks have asked, so the distance between the camera and the laser is 19.8cm. You'll find that on line 28 in ScanThread.cpp if you're looking at the source code.


Instructions and software can be found at http://www.makerscanner.com and/or http://www.makerscanner.com/docs/1-makerscanner.html

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Is there an optimum distance from the camera to the wall?

I don't have a 3D printer. Could anyone print me a set of the MakerScanner v0.3 parts. Give me a rough idea of the cost first. Thanks.

Mar 21, 2015 - Modified Mar 21, 2015

Whitehorsehawk, I own a small 3D printing business. I would be happy to print it for you. Just go to my website (http://3dprintedart.weebly.com/index.html) and click on custom prints, then put 'MakerScanner v0.3' as the keyword and I will print and ship it to you. We charge $5.00 per hour of print time. Thank you in advance for purchasing,
3D Printed Art.

Hey I was thinking about using a Laser level for this you know the Cheap ones you can get for 20 Bucks.

Jan 12, 2015 - Modified Jan 13, 2015
Jamchef81 - in reply to

I did some research, and all of the websites say to just buy a line laser for $3 because most of the pictures only use the first red pixel, and that would be overkill, but I didn't create this so feel free to correct me. Even one like this should work. http://www.ebay.com/itm/Instapark-5-mW-650-nm-Red-Laser-Module-Line-9-mm-X-21-mm-/201260285905?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2edc0c3fd1 you may just need to drill the hole a bit larger. Just tryna hep..

Comments deleted.

The link to Instructions seems to be broken. Are we supposed to use screws to hold the pieces together? The holes line up perfectly but I'm not sure how solid the final piece needs to be.

Instructions should be up. Been having a bit of server trouble recently, but hopefully is resolved now.

As a complete electronics newbie, how do you power the laser?

Depends on your laser's voltage, but usually I just use a few AA batteries.

Awesome. Thank you so much.

Could a green laser be used instead of a red laser? Also, what is the reference point on the camera for the distance that is entered for the scanning setup?

A green laser should work fine. The reference point on the camera is the top 25 pixels of the image. See the description here for more on that: http://abarry.org/makerscanner/3-makerscanner-software.htmlhttp://abarry.org/makerscanner...

How do you get the camera's resolution to be 640x480?

It should be set automatically by the software. Are you using a PS3 eye?

yes ps3 eye. It is discovering the camera resolution as 320x240. Any ideas?

I upgraded Ubuntu 12.0.4 to 13.0.4 and now makerscanner detects the ps3 eye at 640x480. So i think it was the kernel module that caused the issue.

i've a little question, everything goes well, software, scanning , meshlab ... but , i got only 320x240 with ps3 eye. i opened the device with cheese and skype and gives me 640x480. i'm on ubuntu

Hmmm, it should be set by the software. Not sure what to do to fix that beyond opening up the code.

Because of issues, I may order these from i.materialise. What did you make your model in, mm or in?

Hi Again,

I have everything up and running and have successfully done my first scans. I wonder if you could say a bit more about the scanning technique (i.e moving the laser)? I know the camera should stay still. For best results should the laser be in its cradle and only rotated on its pole axis? Is the distance between the laser and the camera as held by the printed parts significant? Thanks!

Awesome! When you're scanning you want the camera still and the laser just to rotate along its axis at the distance away specified by the plastic pieces.

The code knows what that distance is and relies on it to compute the 3D geometry. Also don't forget to have a flat reference in the top of the image! See here for more info: http://abarry.org/makerscanner/3-makerscanner-software.htmlhttp://abarry.org/makerscanner...

Also, what settings did you print at, I am having trouble with .4 infill at .2mm layers

Hmm... I've only printed these on a Makerbot and a Stratasys, so I'm not sure of the exact settings you'd want. Can you post a photo with the issue?

There. As you can see the connector is bigger on one side. The connectors should be flipped I think.

I see what you mean now. That is not how the connector is designed and I'm pretty sure it's an artifact of your printer. The width of the connector should be constant throughout the curve. I'm afraid your best bests are:

1) File the connector down until it fits

2) Work on your print settings until the issue is resolved

3) Change the design to accommodate your printer

i've printed about 6 connector pieces on my pb jr now. None of them fit together. It seems as if one side of the connector is bigger than the other. The problem is that the hole of the connector has the bigger part on the right side and the actual connector has the bigger part on the left side (or vice versa) so they don't fit. I will elaborate more if you dont understand. This may be just me, because i dont have a fan, or a heated bed, but both my PS3 Eye, and line laser are here, all i am waiting for is the printed parts.
Thanks in advance,


This looks like a compelling project and worth a shot. I don't see any issue getting the camera and printing the plastic parts. I am just wondering about the specs of the laser? Is there any more specific info on what to get? Thx.

Hi from France,

I'm testing MakerScanner software and I have some problem with my Webcam (resolution detected is only 160x120 instead of 640x480)
Can anyone give a link where I can ask questions to fix the issue ?
(webcam is Logiteck Fusion V-UAR33)

The part is designed for a PS3 Eye, which should work. I haven't used the V-UAR33, so I'm afraid I won't be much help in getting it set up. You should considered picking up a PS3 eye -- they are cheap and work well.

Any updates on this thing? It looks like a year since any activity, and the makerbot wiki link is dead. Has this project been abandoned or is it still active?

I've changed the link to point to an updated host for the wiki documentation. The scanner design is finished and working, so there are no updates planned.


I just finished printing out all of the parts, got the laser and PS3 Eye, put it all together, and the link to the software 404's!


Anybody out there got the software?

Oh no! The domian went down. I've put the fix in but you'd have to wait for DNS to come back so I've reposted the files here as well: http://abarry.org/files/http://abarry.org/files/

Sorry about that!

can anyone point me at some objects (besides this face) that have been scanned with makerscanner? either finished models, renders, etc. I'm not able to find any other examples besides the authors face.

There's a nautilus shell in one of the videos here: http://www.makerscanner.com/http://www.makerscanner.com/

What are you interested in? I did a lot of shoes as tests at one point.

Ideally I'd like to see renders of a view dozen different objects in different shapes and sizes to get a feel for quality/effort/versatility - and hear back from other folks who've successfully built and are using this. The face is essentially a height field - is that the primary use, or have people scanned in non-height-field object.


I'd love to see that too to anyone who has built this!

can we use another camera than the ps3 eye ?

Some folks have had success with this, although it's definitely more of a pain and the mounting hardware will not fit. See the comments on the wiki pages for more details: http://wiki.makerbot.com/makerscannerhttp://wiki.makerbot.com/maker...


Can you tell me where to find the outside dimensions for each of the parts? I'm trying to make them on my router but when I import them into my CAM program the STL's show up incredibly huge. For example the envelope size shown for the CameraHolder.stl part is:
I'm wondering if I'm importing with a units mismatch (IE: parts are in MM and I'm bring it in to Inches). Are these the correct Metric Measurements for this part?


I'll have to go check for the exact numbers, but I'm pretty sure the STLs are in metric.

Thanks, I'll bring them in to Aspire and see what I can do with them to cutout similar ones


Software version 0.3.1 is now online for both Windows and Linux. The links are on the software page of the documentation: http://wiki.makerbot.com/makerscanner-softwarehttp://wiki.makerbot.com/maker...

Changes include a number of crash-fixes and the ability to change cameras if your system has more than one.

Sorry for the multiple posts, I don't know what's up with that. One more question: how important is the fore/aft relationship between the laser pivot point and the lens of the camera? I'm looking for the most precision I can get, is there a writeup of the math that goes into this somewhere?

This is genius. Tried cobbling up something last night but the laser was just not bright enough. Any suggestions on cheap/bright lasers?

Is the software set up for this specific set of dimensions?

Wil it only scan well with the camera x inches off to the right on the same level and 50cm away?

I bodged together a setup with the camera hanging below my laser and my pointcloud looks too flat.

I would like to figure out how to do this WITHOUT MakerBot, but I'm going to try to look at the software (to see if it is modifiable to a different distance from camera to laser) and the CAD files to try to get dimensions.

Yes, the 19.8cm is between the center of the camera lens and the laser pointer's pivot point.

Sorry for the multiple posts, I don't know what's up with that. One more question: how important is the fore/aft relationship between the laser pivot point and the lens of the camera? I'm looking for the most precision I can get, is there a writeup of the math that goes into this somewhere?

The CAD has them lined up well, but I have not experimented with it in other configurations. My guess is that it will work decently well as long as they are not too far misaligned. I don't have a clean version of the math to share, so I'm going to have to point you to the source code for now.

Sorry for the multiple posts, I don't know what's up with that. One more question: how important is the fore/aft relationship between the laser pivot point and the lens of the camera? I'm looking for the most precision I can get, is there a writeup of the math that goes into this somewhere?

The software does have a parameter in it for how far apart the laser and camera are. The CAD / parts will make them 19.8 cm apart. You can change that in the code if you want, but you'll have to recompile. It is called DISPARITY_DISTANCE and is defined on line 28 of ScanThread.cpp.

There is no dependence on the distance away the flat reference is. That you can change for every scan or center the laser before the scan and it will auto-detect it based on the PS3 Eye camera parameters.

I didn't see your reply until after I posted. Is that 19.8 cm between the center of the camera lens and the pivot point for the laser, or is it something else?

any plans to make this work on a mac?

I hope this works under VMWare on a mac, but we'll see soon. Hope to post back what I find in a week or two. (or download and try the trial of VMWare fusion!)

you still need a copy of windows, don't you?

I printed all of this out, and put it together. However when I try to run the software the camera's red light comes on and the terminal says select file then segmentation fault. The camera works because I can use it in windows, via this driver http://nuigroup.com/forums/viewthread/2921/http://nuigroup.com/forums/vie... . If I unplug the camera it brings up the software fine, and just has a camera connect button.

I looked around for a more appropriate place to ask this but http://makerscanner.commakerscanner.com as of right now doesn't have a forum.

I'm using ubuntu 10.4 via virtualbox under windows.

Also, under ubuntu the camera shows up as omnivision technologies inc, B4.04.27.1

Has anyone else run into this problem?

I'm working on getting a Windows version out literally right now. Hopefully a windows version will resolve what sounds like a camera-driver issue in virtualbox. We're working on getting a forum up on the Makerbot site as well.

So, hang in there... I'll get it up as soon as I can.

  • Andy

Windows version is up.

Thanks andy, I was able to get the program working with my camera. One note you might want to change for a future version. I have a built in webcam on my laptop and it defaulted to this so I had to disable it in device manager. I don't really care becuase I don't use it however others might not agree, especially since it required a restart to disable it even in windows 7.

My first scan didn't work, it just showed a little tiny point cloud, I think it might be my brightness settings though. I think I wiped my default settings on accident.

Have you thought about having a rotary table for doing a full scan of smaller objects? This would be pretty easy since almost everyone already has a stepper driver.

Thank you very much for this, it certainly makes more sense then having people buy a projector to put lines on your object.

Hey there,

Thanks for the suggestion! I'll make sure to add camera selection to the feature list for version 0.3.1, which will (hopefully) be released this weekend.

Let me know if you can't get a good scan. You can tell if the software is detecting the laser when you are scanning because it should start "
painting" on the image (see the pictures in the docs). Also, it's always a good idea to make sure your laser is vertical and the top of the image is against a flat surface.

P.S. the rotary table would be awesome! I haven't had time to try one and figure out the software to merge the pointclouds, but hey, that's the beauty of open source, right? :)

Briefly tested under VMWare Fusion/Windows 7. Able to use the Apple iSight, but at framerates of about 20FPS (not scanning) then 11-20+FPS when scanning. I have no laser so was just waving my hand in front of my face to generate some data ;)

Saved the PLY, copied out to Mac and viewed it in Blender. Not much to see of course!

Also, the PS3 Eye shouldn't need extra drivers to work beyond what Ubuntu ships with (except to get extra-high framerates)

no sweat, I'll look forward to the windows build. Probably my issue is virtualbox, I won't bother investigating it further. Thanks for the quick response!


The other scanner put up here dropped support and replies ages ago

...Now just occuring to me that this is actually an updated version of that. I need sleep.

This is brilliant. I cant wait to give it a go.
As far as the laser goes, I am using a piece of
transparent PLA stuck to an ordinary laser pointer.
It gives a good clean laser line (green). I would like to adapt
your design to hold a laser pointer and a piece of transparent
3mm PLA or a wine glass stem.
Great work, I look forward to seeing how this progresses.

is a red or green laser best?

I've only tried a red laser, but a green one might result in more success on darker objects. You might have to change the laser mount to for it though.

wow this rules. thank you

are there any other electronics other then the camera and laser?

No, the v0.2 design needed electronics but I was able to make the software smart enough that you can move the laser by hand and still get good scans.

The current design doesn't use an actuator for cost reasons. You can get very high quality scans just moving the laser by hand. Version 0.2 did use a mirror galvanometer, which is cheap and very accurate, but requires some digital to analog circuitry which can be a pain. But give it a shot -- that's what open source is for!

You could also use the motor for turning the object being scanned -- that would be awesome!