3D Scan


What is it?

3D Scanning is a fast and easy way of translating real world physical objects or scenes into digital data that includes form and colour. A 3D scanner works in a similar way to a camera; it has a field of view and can only read objects that are not visually obscured. It collects information from the object or scene by analysing surfaces with a laser as well as taking photos. Usually multiple scans are taken at different angles so they can be merged together to create a high quality 3D model.

What’s it for?

3D scanning is widely used in many different fields, such as industrial design, reverse engineering, medical prosthetics, film and video games, documenting, prototyping and education. It is also commonly incorporated into the 3D printing process.

How can I use it?

The DPL has two 3D scanners that can either be used in the lab or be borrowed for up to 3 days. A small induction is required before use of any 3D scanning equipment and can be arranged with DPL staff. 3D scanners tend to have issues when scanning reflective, dark or very rough objects, however this can usually be resolved by covering your object with white powder (talcum). Experimenting with different scanning techniques is highly recommended. Please be aware that scanning any object will take approximately an hour of setup and an extra hour of scanning and data collected from the scanner will usually need to be cleaned and processed separately (see tutorials).

Technical Information?

The DPL has the following 3D scanners:

Next Engine Desktop 3D scanner:

The DPLs most powerful scanner with up to +/- 0.1mm resolution, it can scan objects of up to a 1m3. For objects of 30cm3 or less it comes equipped with a turntable and software that automatically stitches the scanned data together. Objects that cannot fit on the turntable can be scanned and stitched manually as part of post processing. The scanned data can be exported in the following formats: STL, OBJ, VRML, XYZ, and PLY. For scanning live subjects please make sure eyes are closed at all times.

Microsoft Kinect:

Used in the XBOX gaming platform, this can be used as a low resolution handheld scanner with an approximate resolution of +/- 1mm. It is a very flexible device that’s perfect for quick scans or larger moving objects. It can export STL and OBJ data.