With 3D printers popping up in more places, 3D scanners are also gaining traction. 3D scanners, however, as you may have noticed in a previous article, are typically small -- at least the ones that cost less than a small house tend to be. Here's an interesting approach that uses a Kinect and an office chair to allow you to scan larger objects.
The vertical scanning assembly.
The group at Backspace started out with a simple concept. You would rotate your object a few degrees, then scan vertically by using an old windshield wiper motor to lift and lower the Kinect. Rotate a few more degrees and then repeat. The idea worked really well, although they did find some mechanical issues to overcome.
First, Backspace tinkerers built a very low-profile base. You could stand on it comfortably and someone could manually rotate you. However, they found that they couldn't motorize this base. Their design used tiny wheels directly on the floor, and they just didn't have any convenient way to drive the wheels while maintaining a solid and unmoving center axis.
I wouldn't want to stand on this.
Their solution was to wire another windshield wiper motor up to an office chair. You could sit, or possibly even stand, on the office chair, and the whole thing -- the rotation and scan -- could then be automated.
The result of a scan and the printed figurine.
As you can see, their results are quite nice. What you see isn't the raw output though. The scan isn't perfectly clean and requires some manual work to fill in any "holes" where it was missing data. It also needs areas worked over a little bit to smooth out any anomalies the Kinect picked up. However, once all that is done, a print can be made of any object you can scan!
— Caleb Kraft, Chief Community Editor, EE Times
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