A low cost 3D scanner is presented, which can be made with a conventional video projector and webcams.


Hesam Hamidi¹


Estimated cost



Hardware: Stable
Software: Alpha (Creative Common)

This 3D scanner was made using low cost conventional items like a video projector and webcams. A structured-light 3D scanner is a 3D scanning device for measuring the three-dimensional shape of an object using projected light patterns and a camera system. The structured light and stereo vision software was developed on python language.

Such a 3D scanner allow to build highly accurate models of real 3D objects in a cost- and time-effective manner. This low-cost 3D scanner is based on structured light which adopts a versatile colored stripe pattern approach. The scanner has been designed according to the next requirements: Medium-high accuracy, easy of use, affordable cost, self-registered acquisition, and operational safety.

Projecting a narrow band of light onto a three-dimensional shaped surface produces a line of illumination. This line appears distorted from perspectives other than that of the projector, and can be used to reconstruct the geometric shape of the surface. Horizontal and vertical light bands are projected on object surface and then captured by two webcams.

In the design of this low-cost scanner, the emitter unit is implemented by using a video projector. This widens its flexibility by allowing different light patterns, and its availability. The sensor can be either a custom device, a standard digital still camera or a webcam. It must support high quality color capture (i.e. acquisition of high dynamic range) and preferably should provide high resolution.


1Copenhagen fab lab, Denmark