How to build a cheap 3D-scanner mostly out of spare parts

This paper that I wrote describes how to build a 3D scanner out of parts for less than 60 Euro and parts that were extracted from old printers, notebooks and so forth.

The scanner will be good for scanning a 360° field around its own position at distances of approx. 0.3 to 5 m. So basically this scanner is optimized to scan rooms and objects of a few centimeters up to a couple of meters size. It creates a point cloud that resembles the visible surface of the scanned area as viewed from the position of the scanner.

laser scanner

3D Laserscanner


point cloud of a chair and a mug scanned with the 3D-scanner, the chair casting a ‘shadow’ on the wall behind it


a window board scanned from slightly below with the 3D-scanner


violin on a book scanned with the 3D-scanner



Filed under Electronics

4 responses to “How to build a cheap 3D-scanner mostly out of spare parts

  1. pezet

    What’s arduino?

  2. cplamb

    Great project! Any idea of the accuracy?

    • The spatial resolution decreases with distance to the object because the angular resolution diverges as the angle between arm, webcam and object approaches 90°. So at < 1m distance the accuracy is within a couple of mm, whereas at 3 m distance it is more in the range of dcm.

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