3D scanning is the process of making a 3D file from a statue, model, or building.
Structured-light scanning is making a 3D file of an object just using a camera or a camcorder with either 1) a projected grid from a video projector or 2) a projected line(s) from low power laser light source (generally, a laser-pointer or similar). It should be born in mind that 3D scanning produces clouds of discrete points, not contiguous surfaces. A scanned primitive shape like a cube or a sphere is not recognised by CAD programs, and point cloud processing software is often the most expensive component of commercial systems.
SplineScan was a free and open source software project that reached a high level of polish and sophistication, but has now been discontinued. The code has been forked into a new project, for more info see the RepRap local documentation stub SplineScan.
Fab Lab Created a reasonable Open Source 3D scanner - FabScan based on a turntable and a line laser that can be driven from a RAMPS board. Unfortunately a memory leak in the underlying Qt library code prevents useful quantities of scan points being gathered as of the end of 2014.
David Laserscanner is closed source but there is a *free* basic scanning software version, and a commercial edition that costs €199, for which you get additional tools for assembling and combining multiple scans of the same object into a watertight model, and for applying textures. David requires a 3-plane "corner" with calibration targets, a laser line generator, red or green, and a web cam or a video recording of the line being swept over the target in the "corner". There's also a "for sale" starter kit. The kit costs €400 and you need a Windows computer. You get a suitable camera and laser line, and the panels to build and calibrate the "corner". They've spent a lot of time on their website, and there's good feedback and advice from users and the vendors through good forums, and many real-world user examples. If you already have a laser line generator, and a web or video camera, and three 600mm x 600mm sheets of MDF or similar, you can build a David scanner and be operating it within a couple of hours. Scan output is .obj, and if you're using the free version, Meshlab can assemble and stitch multiple scans into one object.
There are probably a number of expensive solutions for doing this, based on good software, a camera, and a laser pointer. And good marketing.
This is making a 3D file of an object just using a camera, or a camcorder, even without a laser-pointer-like light source.
Technically this is called 'photogrammetry' or more precisely 'object reconstruction'. The following is a list of free programs, but the full list is available from wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photogrammetry
|Platform||Standalone / Plugin||Automatic modeling||Scalability||Data source||Inception||Vendor / creator||Software License||Description|
|123D Catch (Beta)||Windows/OSX/iOS, Web-based||Standalone part of the 123D suite||Yes||No, limit of 70 images (40 on iphone app)||Images/Video||2011||Autodesk||Freemium||General purpose|
|Ames Stereo Pipeline||Linux/OS X||Standalone||Yes||No, 2 images only||Images||Unknown||NASA||Open Source||map mars landscape with only 2 cameras|
|ARC3D||Web-based||Standalone||No, use MeshLab||Yes, multiple images||Images||2005||KU Leuven||Proprietary||Upload pictures, download point-cloud|
|CMVS||?||Standalone||?||Yes, multiple images||Images (from the internet)||Completed?||University of Washington||GPL||“build” Rome in a day from pictures on the internet|
|Correlator3D||Windows||Standalone||Yes||Yes, multiple images||Images||2003||SimActive Inc.||Proprietary & Patented||3D mapping from aerial and satellite images|
|Enwaii||Windows/Linux/OS X||Standalone/Plugin (Maya)||No||Yes, multiple images||Images/Video/LIDAR||2008||Banzai Pipeline Ltd||Proprietary||High-end 3d scans of sets for Hollywood CG.|
|Harvester||TBD||Standalone||TBD||Yes, multiple images||Images||Incomplete||User:Midge||GPL||DIY 3D scanning|
|Hypr3D (now  Cubify Capture)||Web-based||Standalone||Yes||Yes, multiple images||Images/Video||2010||Viztu Technologies||Proprietary||upload pictures, download .stl|
|Insight 3D||Windows/Linux||Standalone||Yes?||Yes, multiple images||Images||Incomplete||Lukas Mach||AGPL 3||generate point-clouds of scenes (e.g., buildings)|
|libmv||Matchmoving backend for Blender||Blender backend||Yes||Yes||Images/Video||Incomplete||community effort||MIT License||primarily matchmoving, but also reconstructing 3d models|
|Mementify||iOS||Standalone||Yes||Yes, multiple images||Images||2012||Tretja dimenzija, XLAB||proprietary||App-based photo upload and model download|
|My3DScanner||Web-based||Standalone||No||Yes, multiple images||Images||2010?||My3DScanner||Proprietary||upload pictures, download point-cloud|
|PHOV||Web-based (free trial)||Standalone||Yes||Yes, multiple images||Images||2010||XLAB||Proprietary||upload pictures, download point-cloud|
|Python Photogrammetry Toolbox||Windows/Linux/OS X||Standalone||Yes||Yes, multiple images||Images||Unknown||Arc-Team||GPL?||Runs CMVS on any platform without installing Cygwin|
|StereoScan||Windows/Linux/OS X||Standalone||Yes||No, 2 images only||Images||2010||Agisoft||Proprietary||Generate 3d meshes from 2 pictures|
|VisualSFM||Windows/Linux/OS X||Standalone||Yes||Yes, multiple images||Images||Unknown||Changchang Wu||Apache 2.0 (Open Source, but non-commercial)||GUI for CMVS|
|WebDLT||Web-based||Standalone||No||Yes, multiple images||Images||2012||B. Molnar, BME FMT||Proprietary?||Upload pictures, type physical measurements, and download DXF|
- Main page: CMM
- "Robot Arm Type": here a human guides a 'finger' of a device that looks like a robot arm over a model or sculpture. This deals well with overhangs and precise geometries like boreholes or outer diameters.
- "Generic Touch Probe": we can mount a touch probe toolhead on a 2+1 axis machine like a CNC router, mill, or RepRap. This is convenient if we don't have a robot arm handy.
See also David_Project.
- "Beagle Board Challenge: Beagle Scan" uses structured-light scanning.