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How to make a 3D scanner from an Xbox 360 Kinect

How to make a 3D scanner from an Xbox 360 Kinect

Article via submission by Gordon Austin


How many times have you sat there and thought about getting a 3D Scanner? If you are in to 3D printing then it’s probably a lot.

If you go online and look for a 3D scanner you will find a lot of them with extremely high price tags. From $120 – $32,000. Seems a bit crazy on the high end but you are paying for the resolution.

The idea behind a 3D scanner is that you use a laser that bounces back to a camera to tell it the contours of the model. Well what does a Kinect do? It scans a body for motion tracking using lasers and a camera. BINGO, there is a 3D scanner waiting to be used.

So I did some research online for others that have used this and gotten it to work. The problem I found was most of the ones I watched, didn’t cover everything that you would need to make it all work.  Some had a preference on software used to get the scan or didn’t show you how to control the motor in the Kinect to move it up and down.

        The software I found for scanning didn’t have controls for the Kinect motor either. Also, I found that some of it didn’t offer universal GPU support for processing.

        So now that we have gone through all this, let’s get down to it and make something awesome that you can have fun with, even if you don’t have a 3D printer.


Parts: What You Will Need


  1. Kinect for XBOX 360 (can be found at used gaming places for about $20.)
  2. Kinect Power adapter (This was sold with the Kinect originally so it would work with the older 360 through USB. You will need this to connect to the PC)
  3. A fairly new PC. (I would recommend a Core 2 Quad or the equivalent AMD processor. But you probably already have the PC)


  1. The Kinect SDK.
  2. Kinect Explorer (install from the SDK)

Scanning Software

  1. Reconstruct Me
  2. AutoDesk 123D Catch
  3. Skanect
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