Fuel3D Scanner on Kickstarter

I was happy to find a 3d scanner suitable for a Form 1:


It’s not as cheap as recent crowd-sourced scanners but seems to be backed by an experienced team and do something a little more unique to combine stereo cameras with photometric imaging.

The sweet spot is a $1,090 package that includes MeshUp software that would be useful for me on my Form 1 anyway.  First batch is Jul 2014, second batch is Sep 2014… but we all know how that ends :).

I am not affiliated with Fuel3D, am not shilling for them, but am a backer - so I am shilling for me to get those stretch goals! :slight_smile:

High resolution…it’s not. Unless +/- 2.5 mm is acceptable. I bought the Matterform 3D Scanner, that was on indiegogo. If a scanner is not at least the resolution of the printer, it is not of much use. But, I guess it depends on your application. I have hopes for the Matterform, but we shall see…

Sorry, I stand corrected…2.5 mm / maximum error. Still not high enough resolution for me, based on these specs…

In the comments the CTO (and apparently, there’s dialogue with Formlabs) addresses the apparent resolution discrepency:

Hi All, 
Firstly many thanks for your comments, support and interest in Fuel3D. 
We have posted up a first blog post to try and address some of the questions around resolution of the Fuel3D system.


Best regards,

James Paterson CTO Fuel-3D

It makes sense for my applications; I’m sure there are issues with others.  For one, the build envelope of the Form 1 means I may not always be going 1:1.

Fuel3D is pretty close to the 300 micron min feature size of the Form 1, and the arguments they pose even at 1:1 scale seem valid.

I considered the Matterform but the scan volume ( 190mm x 190mm x 250mm  ) seems very small.

But I’d agree if you are replicating 1:1 something like a chess piece you’d be better served with the turntable scanner.

I also backed the Photon 3D digitizer (Matterform.net), an Indiegogo campaign. My understanding is that the error is +/- .2mm at a specific setting related to a 4" figure, but that could be confused due to me being very sleepy right now. Even so, the build platform of the Photon is larger than the build volume dimensions of the Form1. That could be helpful when trying to digitize hard to hold objects.

alternatively you could just build your own - and you can get seriously fine detail - down to fingerprints - very affordably. All you need to do is supply the hardware; camera + projector or laser. David laser scanner software is less than $200 and depending on your hardware choices for camera and projector/laser you can get some pretty awesome results. See here  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gUo0WEyu1w for a scan of a plaster cast of my index finger - note the movie is much lower resolution than the actual scan, I had to reduce the number of triangles by several orders of magnitude to get it to load in solidworks - but the fingerprint is still clear - pits and holes are from my poor plaster casting skills.

My setup is the flea3 3.2MP usb3 camera (afaik the best possible specs for the price) + a fujinon lens + my existing home theatre projector the Panasonic AT5000E - so my total expenditure was just over $1000 for a scanner than can pick up fingerprints.

@Temujin Kuechle - Yes, I think there are various pluses and minuses.  The Fuel3D is a snapshot style scanner so in one fell swoop you get the 3d surface.  I thought the plush toy looked reasonable with regards to resolution - perfect for some (my) general purpose applications.  There is no “scan volume” since it’s free form and you stitch together surfaces if you need a larger scan volume. The Matterform is good if the subject is patient enough (inanimate) and small enough to fit on the turntable.

@Kevin Holmes -  Thanks for the tip on a Flea3, I had earlier considered the turntable/David approach… no idea about what type of camera to use.  Too late for me, but I’m just curious, how much is the Flea3?  I couldn’t find information on their website.

You have to register on their webstore site ( https://www.ptgreystore.com/login) to see US prices - my camera is $645 US from their website, but I’m in the UK and bought from  http://store.clearviewimaging.co.uk where it’s £437. I actually picked the wrong lens ( http://ccddirect.com/fujinon-hf75sa-1 75mm-f-1.8-high-resolution-lens-c-mount.html), it still works well, but if I had the choice again I’d take the fujinon HF35SA-1 (35mm) which is probably still tight enough to scan fingerprints and would be able to scan much larger objects too. At the moment I’m kinda limited to objects the size of a dental impression at my current focal distance - for larger objects I’d have to set up a different platform at a larger distance from the projector.

Of course, if really fingerprint resolution detail is not important  - you could just use the logitech C920 and build your scanner for less than $300 US if you already have a projector.

Hi all,

Here is an excerpt from one of our blog posts talking about our scan resolution compared to quoted 3D printing resolution figures. Hopefully this helps to explain our capability:

“We have reviewed the Fuel3D scan data quality with a number of 3D printer developers & distributors including 3D Systems, Stratasys, Pirate 3D and FormLabs and the response was universally that the full scan quality and resolution captured by Fuel3D would be lost on any FDM printer they were aware of, even the very high end printers costing well over $100k. It may therefore seem like a this anecdotal information contradicts the numerical measure of resolution where the number quoted for a specific 3D printer may be lower than that quoted by Fuel3D, however, it is important to note that this is not a like-for-like comparison. As we go on to explain below, the Fuel3D scanner quoted resolution represents the size of the triangles in the mesh, which are joined contiguously, and therefore ‘flow’ to very closely represent the 3D surface. For a 3D printer the resolution number represents something quite different, the physical step or layer size in the model. You can therefore see that a much finer step size is required in the 3D print to represent the surface as closely as a contiguous triangle mesh.”

We find that the Fuel3D data matches very nicely with the Form 1 high resolution print capability, check out a print the guys did from one of our scans:


Anyone interested can download more Fuel3D scans to print or incorporate into other 3D designs here…


Yes, thanks Charlie.  Looks like the project crossed the $200k mark and at $216k hopefully hits the $250k stretch goal in 22 days… a tripod mount would be great!

What’s it’s advantages comparing to Artec Eva 3d Scanner, except for price?

I wouldn’t say $19K is an advantage, looks like it’s convenient but that’s it.

What I use is David LaserScanner (now owned by HP) with a DSLR and an Acer projector, about $1,000 total and it’s got very high detail scans.

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