9 Accurate DIY 3D Scanners You Can 3D Print At Home (2022)

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3D scanners can get really expensive. We’d know – we’ve tested and researched them in creating our ranking of the best 3D scanners . However, if you’re willing to be a little more thrifty you can save a lot of money building your own DIY 3D scanner — and have a cheap 3D scanner you can feel proud of building yourself!

DIY projects, especially in an area where precision is key, have an unfairly slap-dash reputation. In fact, there are some very accurate DIY 3D scanners on our list, you just need to assemble them yourself.

The best part: they’re almost free if you 3D print the parts — your only costs are the camera/parts.

However, don’t be fooled – you won’t get $20,000-quality scans from these kits. And it takes focus and skill to build such a technical piece of kit – hence we’ve included a couple of easy-assemble kits which cost more, but let you get right down to scanning. For the DIY kits, we’ve included download links and links to documentation to get you started.

What Makes a Good DIY 3D Scanner?

  • Price-performance ratio: for the price, how good are scans?
  • Resolution: how crisp is scan quality
  • Accessibility: you may be able to print most of the 3D scanner, but are the rest of the parts easy to buy?
  • Ease of assembly and use: quick and easy builds are always better. The best 3D scanner projects can be built by anyone, newbie or expert.

3D Printable 3D Scanners

Ciclop DIY 3D scanners

Many of the best DIY scanner kits are based on the original Ciclop open-source files. Massive companies like BQ have created their version, as well as tweaked versions such as CowTech Engineering’s take.

We’ve included them all here, as each option are some of the most DIY accurate 3D scanner options for this price range. For a pre-assembled scanner with the same quality, you’d likely need to spend double this.

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BQ Ciclop

BQ are a Spanish technology giant who are well-known across Europe for their smartphones, tablets, and 3D printers. They’ve also developed their Ciclop DIY 3D scanner, which scans a volume up to 250 x 205 mm, based on laser triangulation technology.

An important feature of the BQ Ciclop is that it’s a completely open source 3D scanner. You’re free to modify it as you wish, following the RepRap philosophy. It’s easily accessible via USB or Bluetooth, and can 3D scan with a resolution of between 0.3-0.5mm.

bq ciclop diy 3d scanner
The BQ Ciclop is a well known open source DIY 3D scanner.

Another great addition to this DIY 3D scanner is that it works with Horus open source 3D scanning suite which BQ also developed. This makes scanning much easier with the compatible program. You can buy just the electronics (includes an Arduino, webcam etc) and print the parts yourself for $115, or buy the whole kit for $240. Not bad.

However, it is worthy of note that the BQ Ciclop is difficult to assemble. Other DIY 3D scanners are quicker and simpler to build, though the Ciclop is still a fantastic DIY 3D digitizer.

Murobo Atlas — Great Raspberry Pi 3D Scanner

Another homemade 3D scanner, the Atlas has the highest quality specs of any DIY 3D scanner we researched. It includes a 3D printed body made from PLA and ABS filaments, which can be purchased online. If you’re a serious DIY fanatic, you can print the parts yourself via the download link here.

Depending on if you already own a Raspberry Pi or not, you can save money on the build. This is because the Atlas DIY 3D scanner uses a Raspberry Pi camera to take detailed 3D scans with an accuracy of 0.25mm. Depending on your choice, the Atlas is likely to cost between $200 and $250, which is far less than most professional 3D scanners.

Moreover, Murobo has made considerable efforts to make sure that the Atlas DIY 3D scanner is convenient and simple to use. To achieve this, the Atlas comes with FreeLSS free 3D software which enables you to easily take 3D scans. In addition, you can access your Atlas via your computer’s browser through WiFi, as well as via SD card.

Overall, this DIY 3D scanner Raspberry Pi collaboration is a really interesting and creative way of combining several different innovative technologies to create a scanning device. If you’re an Arduino fan instead, you may be able to make it work for you too.

murobo atlas

CowTech Ciclop

  • Price: $119 – $159 (depending on whether you’re 3D printing the parts or not) — Available on Amazon here
  • Company based: USA
  • Resolution: 0.5 mm
  • Maximum scan volume: 200 x 200 x 205 mm

BQ formed the foundations of the DIY 3D scanner kit, and remains one of the best DIY 3D scanner on tight budget options. Then back in 2015, CowTech Engineering used the foundations led by BQ, putting their unique spin on an updated model.

True to the open source movement, Cowtech started a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to put their version of the original, the CowTech Ciclop, into production. The team set the lofty goal to raise $10,000, and were met with surprise when the community rallies to raise $183,000. The CowTech Ciclop DIY 3D scanner kit was born.

So what are the differences between CowTech’s version and BQ’s DIY 3D scanner?

The CowTech Ciclop still uses the Horus 3D software program as it does a fantastic shop for 3D scanning objects. Differences however include a slightly different design, which the team spent days designing so that the parts could be 3D printed on any FDM 3D printer. Some desktop 3D printers only have a small build volume, so CowTech designed parts that can be printed on any printer with a build volume of 115 x 110 x 65 mm, which almost all 3D printers have.

Additionally, CowTech’s Ciclop has adjustable laser holders, and whereas the BQ Ciclop uses threaded rods, CowTech’s DIY 3D scanner uses laser-cut acrylic. This isn’t anything drastic and the scanners still look fairly similar, but CowTech only intended to improve the existing design, not reform it. CowTech sell the Ciclop, ready-to-scan, for $159 on their website. Overall, this is a great cheap DIY 3D scanner, and very effective for laser triangulation 3D scanning.

cowtech diy 3d scanner
The CowTech Ciclop DIY 3D scanner is an improvement on BQ’s revolutionary model.

OpenScan DIY 3D Scanner For Your Phone or DSLR Camera

  • Technology: photogrammetry
  • DIY 3D scanner price: around $150 for the electronics; you can print the plastic parts at home

OpenScan is a German project allowing makers to build their own 3D scanner at home with either an Arduino or Raspberry Pi to operate it. You can either download all the plastic parts to print at home on your 3D printer, or buy them from OpenScan by getting in contact with their team.

You can use the OpenScan scanner with anything with a camera — though low-quality webcam shots will show in the final scan. Using a camera, for example your phone, the scanner takes pictures of your chosen object, slightly turning it each time, to create a 360-degree 3D model.

OpenScan sell all their necessary electronics for both the Arduino and Raspberry Pi versions. They also have an in-depth guide in English showing you how to assemble each part of the kit, and how to use the scanner once you’ve made it.

The full assembly guide is here.

openscan diy photogrammetry scanner with your iphone or dslr camera
Use your DSLR digital camera or phone with the OpenScan scanner.

AAScan Open Source 3D Scanner Based on Arduino and Android

AAScan is a very recent (February 2020) DIY open source 3D scanner that’s fully automated in taking photos and moving the object around on the scan plate. All the files are on Thingiverse, which we’ve linked below. Interestingly, the creator stresses that the AAScan is intended to be a purposefully minimalist machine, able to scan but not filled with extra features beyond this primary capacity.

All the instructions for how to build, print and assemble the AAScan are on the Thingiverse page, requiring an Arduino, some electronics, and either a 3D printer to print the plastic parts or someone else to print them for you — such as from a 3D printing service.

You can view the DIY scanner on Thingiverse here.

aascan diy 3d scanner kit

FabScan Pi

  • DIY 3D scanner technology: laser triangulation
  • Price: $100-200 depending on which version

The original FabScan was a DIY 3D scanner built by Francis Engelmann as part of his Bachelor’s thesis back in 2010. Since then, there have been numerous improvements made in new iterations up to the newest model, the FabScan Pi. This new model uses a Raspberry Pi camera along with the new design to offer higher quality 3D scans.

Based on laser triangulation technology, the FabScan Pi is one of the best DIY 3D scanner options for those who are into doing it themselves. Depending on if you go for one of the older models or the latest, the price can vary between $100 and around $200 to completely create the 3D scanner. Overall, it’s a really cool kit and thesis which you can make at home.

If you want to create your own FabScan, you can follow the assembly guide here.

fabscan pi diy 3d scanner
The FabScan Pi is an interesting option with new evolutions being developed all the time.

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