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OC Library 3D Macro Scanner

Scanning without the Rotary Table


  • Place your object on top of a piece of paper or a block and place on the rotary table
  • Center your object in the middle of the two camera views; you may need to use the block to give your object extra height and help with centering in the two camera views
  • In the "Advance" setting bar on the right, make sure "Pattern" is set to "Focus" and adjust the brightness so that the object is illuminated but not overexposed (no red spots)
  • In the "Meshing" setting on the left, make sure "Generate" is set to "Mesh", Alignment" is set to "None", "Clean up" is set to "Standard", "Smoothing" is set to "1", and the "Mesh Density" is turned all the up. 
  • Your screen should look something like this:
  • Once your object is centered and the settings are correct, click "Scan" to conduct a test scan
    • Make sure the scan is showing up on the screen as a complete image and isn't stripped or obviously missing data (this may mean that the object is overexposed or that the cameras need to be calibrated again)
  • Next, we are going to set a cut plane which will remove the piece of paper or the block your object is sitting on, without having to do any extra editing
    • Navigate to the top left corner, where it says "Scan" and select "Scanning Volume" from the drop down menu
    • Remove your object from the piece of paper or block so that there is nothing in the camera view except whatever you had your object on
    • Click "Scan" and you should see your base pop up on the screen
    • Next, we need to select our scan; to do this press and hold "Ctrl" on the keyboard and use your mouse to draw a circle around your base scan (make sure you select as much of the scan as you can)
      • If you need to start over, release the "Ctrl" key and click outside of the selected area and start again
    • Once you have selected your entire scan, click "Set Cut Plane" on the left menu
      • Double check to make sure your piece of paper or block is as flat as the set cut plane; if its curved in any way, this may mess up your cut plane and consequently your scan; you want the surface your object is sitting on to be as flat as possible
    • If you need to move the tripod up or down while scanning your object, and you notice that your object isn't showing up, you may need to set another cut plane
      • To do this, click "Remove Cut Plane" and repeat the process for setting a cut plane again

Scanning Your Object!

  • Return to the "Scan" mode by clicking on the drop-down menu in the top left corner
  • In the "Meshing" settings on the left, change "Alignment" to "Mesh Geometry" (this will mesh each scan together automatically)
  • Place your object back on its base, scan it and then turn it slightly to one side (does not matter which direction) and click "Scan"
  • The two scans should mesh together and look something like this:
  • Continue to turn and scan your object until you have turned it a full 360 deg. so that Flexscan starts to build a full scan of your object
    • When doing the scan manually (without the rotary table) you will need to turn the object in very small increments and you will have to take quite a few scans
    • Make sure all of your object is visible in both camera views before you click "scan"; you do not have to worry about moving the base /your object around a little when adjusting to fit inside the camera view, Flexscan does a pretty good job of auto adjusting and meshing the scans
    • If the auto-meshing does not align for one of your scans, you may have turned the object too much; simply right click on the bad scan, delete it, and turn the object back slightly
  • Once you have done a full 360 scan of your object, we are going to combine the scans
    • Click the very last scan that you did, scroll all the way back to the top, hit "Shift" on your keyboard, and click the first scan you did. This should have selected all of the scans (they should all be highlighted with a red outline)
    • Navigate to the top menu and click "Lock", this should unlock all of your scans; In the same alignment tab, click "Fine Align" (this will further align your scans)
    • To the right of the Alignment tab at the top menu, click the dropdown menu under "Combine"
      • Click "Advanced Combine"
      • Make sure that the only box that is check is the one next to "Fine Alignment"
      • Click "Apply" and then Click "Combine" to combine your scans
      • This may take a while, especially if you have taken a lot of scans
  • After all your scans have been combined into one, we are ready to flip the object over to scan the bottom
    • un-select your combined scans (combined scans are indicated by the multiple files image next to your scan)
    • Make sure your object is centered in both of the camera views and click "Scan"
    • Repeat the same process as above with your object in the new position and continue to turn and scan until you have completed a full 360 deg. turn
    • If your object is unstable in certain positions, you can use modeling clay to help your object stay in certain positions and scan specific areas to complete your 3D model
    • Once you have completed a full 360 deg turn and scan, select all of the new scans like before, unlock them, click "Fine Align" and then click "Combine"
      • If your original combined scan is in the middle of all of your new ones, you may have to combine the new scans in segments
  • You should now have your original combined scan and at least 1 additional combined scan of the object in another position

Deleting Unwanted Data in Your Scan

  • After you have combined your scans, you can look at each combined scan and see if there are any random pieces that the scanner picked up that are not actually part of your object (these can be bright points the scanner mistaked for objects, or it can be model clay you used to hold your object in a certain position)
  • You can delete these extra pieces via two ways
    • The first way, you will press and hold "Ctrl" on the keyboard and draw a lasso around the piece you want to delete with your mouse; right click and press delete; NOTE everything in yellow will be deleted!
    • The second way (which is better for deleting things that are not attached to your main object), you will hold "Ctrl" on your keyboard and draw a lasso around your object (excluding the pieces you do not want) with your mouse; your main object should now be yellow; right click on your object and select "Invert Selection"; now all of the extra pieces you want to delete should be yellow
  • NOTE - move your object around to make sure you are not deleting any desired scan data! EVERYTHING IN YELLOW WILL BE DELETED!

Aligning Your Combined Scans

  • Once you have cleaned up your scans and are happy with the results, you can start to combine all of your scans
  • To do this, select two of your scans by clicking the little check mark in the box next to your image
  • The goal is to maneuver the scan to where both scans are sitting on top of each other and aligned as well as possible (they do not have to be perfect, the software will be able to align the images even if they are a little off)
    • To make this easier, there is an image maneuver tool:
      • Use the yellow ball in the middle to move the entire selected scan around the area, and use the blue, green, and yellow lines to turn the scan and align it with the other scan
    • Once you have positioned the scans as close to the same as possible, slide the scans over top of each other so that they look like one object
  • After all of the scans are positioned properly and all scans you want to combine are selected, click the "Lock" button on the top panel to unlock all of your selected scans
  • Click "Fine Align" at the top menu bar to further align your scans
  • Now you can look at your combined scans and see if there are still any areas that do not have enough data and need to be scanned again
    • If there are data deficient areas, position the object towards the cameras so that the data deficient area is facing the camera (you can use the modeling clay for this if needed)
    • You can add these new scans to the others by repeating the process above
  • If you are happy with your results, go ahead and combine all of your scans into one by selecting them all and clicking "Combine"
  • Now you are ready to finalize the scan!

Finalizing Your Scan

  • Select all of the scans that are needed to complete the 3D image of your object and make sure that they are all unlocked
  • Click "Finalize" from the top panel
  • You can save your scan under two different merging types
    • Precise Merge (typically use this one; keeps the detail in the scan)
      • "Decimate" alters the density of the polygons in your scan; you can adjust this to make your file bigger or smaller! (Keep this unchecked for now, you will need it later when saving files to upload to NSU Works)
      • "Hole Filling" will automatically fill in areas the software thinks are data deficient; this is good for smooth objects or objects you wish to 3D print, but if your object naturally has a lot of holes (such as a bird skull) this will create unwanted data and make your final scan look more globular than your actual object
      • "Color Processing" is for adjusting the texture of the 3D scan (we typically just keep this on "None")
    • Smoothed Merge
      • "Resolution" is how sharp/clear your image is; we typically want this to be medium to high
      • "Smooth" will level the surfaces of your 3D scan; this may take out finite details in your object so it is recommended to just keep this on "Low"
  • Do NOT click the "Delete Source Scans" option; this will delete all of your scans and only leave you with the finalized image; by leaving the source scans, you can still go back and make small changes or add more scans/data to your images
  • Once you have selected your desired Merge Type and adjusted the other settings to your liking, you can click "OK" and finalize your scan!
  • The finalized scan may take a while, but once it is done it will open in a new image tab

Editing Your Final Scan

The drop down menu at the top left corner, under the project tab, is going to have everything you need for editing your final scan.

  • Under "Mesh Editor" you can:
    • Smooth parts of your scan
    • "Erode" away parts of the holes in the scans (select specific parts of your scan by holding down the "Ctrl" key and drawing a lasso around the part you want to select; everything that has been selected will show up as yellow; move your scan around to make sure all the parts in yellow are what you want to actually alter)
      • The "Select Through" mode can be turned on and off to change what parts of your scan are being selected; when it is on, it essentially acts as a laser beam and selects everything that is in the same plane; when it is off, it only selects things that are on the surface you selected
  • Under "Hole Filling: you can:
    • Fill in all the selected holes on you scan
    • If you click "Auto Fill" anything in blue is going to be filled completely 
      • You can adjust the size of the holes you want to be filled by moving the "Auto Fill Size" scale
    • You can also create bridges in your object here
      • If you have something like a bird skull and you want to create a small bridge where you know two bones meet, you can do that by zooming into your scan and clicking the mouse on one side of a hole and dragging it to the other side of the hole, where you want your bridge to be
      • Once you have your bridge set, click "Fill Selected" on the left menu
      • You can also add bridges to big holes that need to be filled in your scan to cut down on bulging when the holes are filled
    • If the filled holes are too bulky, click "Revert" and try adding more bridges
    • Once all of the holes are filled, you scan is water tight and can be used for 3D printing
      • Under the fill tab on the left, there will be red lettering telling you how many holes you have and once all of them are filled it will say that your scan is water tight
    • Sometimes this tool makes your scan look too globular, so its best to just go back and get more data for those areas by doing a targeted scan 

You can play around with the other scan options but the two listed above are the main tools you will need. 

*Make sure you are saving you scans after each edit! (use the "Save All" button in the top menu)*

Exporting Your Final Scan!

  • Once you have edited and saved your final scan, you are ready to export it!
  • Select your final scan (should have a red box around it) and click the drop down menu next to "Export"
    • Make sure you are using the "Export" tab under the "Scan" section in the top menu bar and not the "Export" tab all the way on the end
  • From the dropdown menu you will select your file type
    • Wavefront File (.obj) is the file type you will want if you plan to upload your scan to NSU Works (the majority of projects will use this one)
    • Stereolithography (.stl) is the file type used for 3D printing and computer-aided design (CAD) programs
  • Once you have selected your file type, click "Export"
  • Save your file on the desktop
  • The file name will be set automatically, but you can change that later