First week of 3D scanning using the Kinect and ReconstructMe

Added on March 30, 2013

Over spring break I got my hands on an XBox Kinect so I could start experimenting with it as a 3D scanning interface. I’ve been working with ReconstructMe Console, which I’ve heard a lot of good things about, and I’ve been getting some pretty decent results.

I was hoping to be able to use a cool gun grip to hold the Kinect and scan objects by moving it around, but I wasn’t able to get the software to work that way. It seems that you need a really, really nice graphics card to handle the amount of data that the Kinect generates in real time.

What does work well is to keep the Kinect still and rotate the object in front of it. Because ReconstructMe ignores all data beyond a certain point (a 1 meter cube by default) you can rotate the object and “trick” the software into thinking that the Kinect is actually moving around. This is one reason why scanning people works so well – they just sit in a chair and spin!

Once the subject is scanned, I use netfabb Studio Basic to repair the mesh and prepare it for 3D printing.

I will be printing some of these scans next week, so stay tuned for that!

Monday – 3.25.2013

On the very first day I got it to work I captured myself sitting in front of my office desk at my department’s graduate assistant office. I then went over to the campus glassblowing and sculpture studio and tried a few quick scans.

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Tuesday – 3.26.2013

The next day I returned to the studio and started scanning all sorts of things; glass pieces, foam pieces, bronze pieces and even a tree stump!

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Thursday – 3.28.2013

Thursday I met with a sculpture student who wanted to get scanned in a wacky pose and spent some time trying to figure out how to do it. She wanted to do a handstand, which meant that we had to find a spinnable platform that she wouldn’t fall off of as we spun her around. We settled on a wooden workbench with casters and gave it a shot. It actually worked a lot better than I thought it would!

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Friday – 3.29.2013

Because of the success I had been having all week I decided to invite students to meet me in a computer lab on campus and get scanned for free. Once I had scanned a couple of students and got them excited, they would go off and find some of their friends and drag them over to be scanned. I ended up with a lot of really good scans and had a lot of fun! I cleaned all the scans and prepared plates using Makerware, which I will try to print next week!

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