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Microsoft Kinect as a Cheap 3D Scanner

| 3D Printers, 3D Scanners | February 7, 2013

Microsoft Kinect 3D Scanner

Usually found connected to an XBox, Microsoft's Kinect can be used as a 3D scanner

3D printers can be used for two tasks, making new objects and creating replacement objects, such as a broken plastic part or a worn out metal part. Both of these tasks require some sort of 3D modelling software and some skill in design and engineering. These tasks are beyond most people, so if you need to copy a part you’ll need a 3D scanner.

3D scanners are expensive and so that’s when you need to un-plug the Microsoft Kinect from your X-Box and plug it into your PC. Several different 3D scanning software packages are available that can take the depth data from the Kinect and convert it into the 3D object digital file that 3D printers need.

Since its launch the Kinect has been hacked to perform other functions, from controlling an computer orchestra to detecting objects for autonomous vehicles. 3D printer enthusiasts saw its potential as a 3D scanner and have created the necessary software.

To create a 3D model the Kinect is moved around the object to be modeled and the software takes hundreds or even thousands of frames of data. The resulting digital model is then saved in a 3D file format and can be edited or modified for 3D printing.

Microsoft themselves are releasing their own software, called Kinect Fusion 3D, so that the Kinect can operate as a 3D scanner. Several other software solutions are already on the market including KScan3D which costs around $300.

If you’re on a budget, free software does exist such as Scenect and Reconstructme that also do a great job.

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