DIY Laser Scanner on the Cheap

I do a lot of 3d modelling, at work as well back in school. One of the biggest pains is having to do complex shapes or to have to model parts that have already been made. It’s do able, but much like taking the stairs, when your in a rush, the elevator just gets the same job done the much quicker.

I’ve seen a few 3D scanners done, commercial ones tend to cost upwards of 2 or 3 thousand, and I’ve seen some DIY ones ducted taped together with laser pointers and webcams, so I decided on the latter, mainly as a challenge to my self, but also with the hope of having something useful at the end of it.

The way I’ve decided to do it is to send a laser pointer beam through some plastic or glass to defract it into a line. The line will be projected vertically onto the object I want to scan. From there I’ll have a webcam about 30 degrees off of the laser to pick up the profile of the laser line that’s on the object. From there it’s just simply reading the profile of the laser light against the object and using trig knowing the angle that the object has been turned too. From there I can get X Y and Z coordinates.

I picked up an Arduino Uno board and a servo, some lego I had long since packed away, and picked up a small plastic pulley from a model shop.

I’ve got the Servo’s working now with the arduino sketch, I’ve been wanting to learn arduino for a while, but now I have a reason!

I more or less have the hardware working, now I just need to have it communicate with some code on my PC.

 

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