Are the 3D scanners are always expensive? Well, not all of them… The question is, if a cheap 3D scanner will reach your expectations. I personally don’t think so, but the thing is, that you can quite easily build your own 3D scanner for peanuts, which quality is comparable with popular SENSE from 3D systems (which you can but for about 600$). If you are technological geek or simply love to assemble things – you will enjoy your time doing it. And when you engage your offspring into it, you can arouse his/her interest in new technologies either.

FabScan is an open-source project of low-budget 3D scanner. Its creator is Francis Engelmann, and was improving it for 5 years. I would like to focus on building the cheapest version – FabScan100. The assumed amount of money you will need is 100 €, but I guess that I will pay less. I would like to describe all elements, which are necessary to construct it and places, where you can buy them.

Currently Mario Lukas manages the project. Thanks to him, the newest version of device – Fabscan Pi, based on Raspberry Pi and a camera dedicated to it, was created. The device can be controlled by an internet browser and the camera, and has a better quality.

To create your own FabScan100, you will need a stepper motor. A standard version has two motors,  but one moves a rotary platform, and the second one moves a line laser. I tried to build it, but unfortunately I failed… Using of one laser, which can’t be moved, causes a serious defect of the device – the inaccuracy. A beam from the laser  set in only one configuration, can’t focus on complicated objects. A perfect turn is to install at least two lasers, in two  configurations.

The biggest advantage of the whole ecosystem of the FabScan is a special version of  Linux Ubuntu, which you can install on a flash drive and start on any PC when you need it. It includes a lot of necessary programmes, which you can use not only by 3D scanning, but also by designing and 3D printing, what I will describe later.

Let’s start with a list of the necessary elements:

Plenty of parts can be purchased at Watterott store. Unfortunately it’s not the cheapest version.

FabScan Cube Casing:cube

Files to create it are available here, but you can also buy ready made casing at polish website – PJD Automatyka. With a little effort, you will find it in another internet shops.

Arduino UNO with USB cable:ArduinoUno_R3_Front_450px

You can buy the original, but when a clone is enough for you, you can find it here.

FabScan Shield:FabScan_2

Fabscan Shield, so a clamp on Arduino UNO. When you can do it yourself, you can buy at Watterott (a plate shouldered).

Adapter to Arduino Uno:5158711300_1359494086

Adapter of 12V and at least 1000mA. Here you will find a suitable one.

An internet camera – Logitech C270:webcam-c270-gallery

I recommend to buy a “second hand” version. Its casing can be crashed, because it will be recreated, so don’t be bothered by it.

Line laser 5mW:IRL103A2B2

It costs peanuts. Search on: e-Bay or Allegro.

Step motor Nema17:3303_0_Web

I used Vexta 12V, 0,4A.

Stepstick Pololu A4988:0J1420600

If you don’t have it, once again you can visit e-Bay or Allegro, or any store with accessories for 3D printers.

Screws, nuts and pads

What I’ve listed below is an approximate number, but it’s better if you buy more:

  • 40 x M4x20 + 40 nuts
  • 1 M3x25 + 2 nuts + 2 pads
  • 4 x M3x20 + 4 nuts
  • 5 x M3x15 + 8 nuts
  • 4 x M2.5×10 (for the motor)
  • 2 x M2x20 + 4 pads + 6 nuts.

Cables, gold pins, etc.

Cables to the motor and laser will probably be needed to connect them with electronics, so remember about buying spare ones. You will also need basic tools and soldering iron. In the second episode, I will describe, how to begin the work.

If you are done with the shopping and collecting all needed parts fot upcoming assembly, stay ready for the second part of the tutorial.

Pictures: [3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

Łukasz Długosz
Enthusiast of 3D printing, new technologies and computer games. Owner of a shop with filaments and 3D printers -

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