NextEngine 3D Scanner Tutorial

Consider your need for scanning a 3D object:

Is it unique? Will the scan satisfy your expected level of detail? Can a comparable 3D model be obtained from a repository, or maybe it is easier to model it yourself?

3D Scanner Quick Start Guide

See Staff at the ACS desk to check out Rotational Base and Next Engine surface prep tools.

NextEngine 3D Scanning Instructions:

Before attempting to follow these instructions, we recommend you watch the provided video tutorials (in a folder on the Desktop of the scanning computer) to get a visual introduction to the scanning process and software interface.

Be prepared to scan object from multiple angles for every surface to be captured: If your specimen is very oddly shaped it may be difficult to get the scans to align, and may take several tries with different options before you get a scan that works just right.

  • 1- Use existing base for small objects 
    OR connect the rotational base
     (check out from Access Services desk) to the scanner using the modem line cable
  • 2- Inspect the object, and make preparations for any of the following :
    -- Bring down any shine on glossy surfaces 
    -- Mark complex surfaces that will have trouble fusing together
    -- Use clay to pinch the model in place if the model is asymmetrical
    TIP: Run a test scan at a "QUICK" setting in order to determine if your object is scan-ready
  • 3- Open NextEngine: Locate for a NextEngine icon on a desktop -- shaped like a blue cog; OR If it is not there:
    Click the Start button > go to All Programs > NextEngine > ScanStudioHD :
    -- Open ScanStudioHD
    -- Click on the "?" (question mark) in the upper right hand corner to bring up the Help File :
    -- Click on NextWiki/Help/Getting Started > view the video of how to scan the palm tree
  • 4- Place your specimen on the raised pad
    -- If your object is small enough, prop the board stored in the scan box with white side for dark-colored objects, and the black side for the light-colored objects to increase contrast for scanning 
    -- Close the overhanging black curtain to enclose the object and the scanner, especially if the object is light-colored 
  • 5- Press the green arrow (scan button) the scanner will calibrate, your object will appear in the scanner window
  • 6- Choose your scan style:
    -- 360 will scan the specimen from every angle; Bracket - will scan it in three chunks, and Single - will scan it from one angle
    -- If you choose 360 choose the number of divisions you want to scan in, this will determine the number of rotations and individual scans
  • 7- Choose QUICK, SD or HD scan - POINTS/IN2 - is how many pixels are scanned per inch (density aka resolution) 
    -- The higher density the more time and memory the scan will take
    -- What density is best will depend on the specifics of your specimen, how much detail you actually need, and how long you want it to take. Specimens with more curvature will need a higher resolution, etc. It may take some trial and error to figure out which resolution works best for your specimen. The time and memory that the scan will take is given at the bottom of the screen. This is determined by how many divisions and how high a resolution you are using
  • 8- Choose the Range and select Scan Area - Depending on the size of your specimen, choose the range you want to scan at: 
    -- For most things MACRO is fine, for something wider or larger choose WIDE or EXTENDED
    -- Use the ruler to make sure that the specimen is the recommended distance away from the scanner, and get the specimen as close to the center of the scanning area as you can
    -- Select the area you want scanned (i.e. your specimen) - in the scanning window click-drag the mouse around the object; exclude unnecessary parts (base, shaft, etc)
    -- It is a good idea to leave some extra space around your object, as its perspective will change as it’s rotated 
    -- Once you have chosen your scanning area use the TURN arrows at the top of the screen to rotate your rotate and make sure that it stays in the scanning area for the entire rotation. If it does not adjust it as necessary, but stay as close to the optimum distance as you can
  • 9- Press the green START button to begin. Depending on how long it’s going to take, go get a sandwich
  • 10- When the scan is completed, inspect the 3D model: use the left mouse button to rotate, use the right mouse button or the scroll wheel to zoom in and out, use (both or either?) buttons to pan
  • 11- ALIGN models: When the scan is complete, you may need to align the different scans 
    -- Press ALIGN and place the colored pins at identical spots on the different scans. If your specimen doesn’t have any distinguishing points, like a coral, you may want to somehow mark a specific spot or two before the scan. When you have placed the points click ATTACH SCANS
  • 12- TRIM: Click on TRIM - this is to get rid of unwanted data in your scan, such as the turntable 
    -- The arrow will let your adjust the specimen’s viewpoint, the circle, square, and rectangle allow you to select areas you want to delete
    -- If you accidentally select an area you don’t want to delete, click the "" button and select the area again, this will deselect it from the trim area. "+" will add to the selection
    -- When you have selected what you want to cut out, click the scissors
    -- You don’t have to do it all at once - if you accidentally delete something you didn’t want to, click Edit/Revert To, and you can start over
  • 13- SECOND SCAN: You’ll notice that the top and bottom of your specimen are big holes it is because those surfaces weren’t scanned.
    -- Click the green SCAN button again and reorient your specimen so that it is now horizontal
    -- Do not move the platform in relation to the scanner, and use the same settings
    -- Take all the previous steps with this scan, it should align automatically, if not, follow the same steps as before; Trim this scan as well
  • 14- ALIGN again: To Align the two scans you will need to place three differently colored pins at identical spots on different scans
    -- Space out the pin placement as much as possible
    -- When the pins are placed click ATTACH SCANS.
  • 15- FUSE: When the scans are aligned, click the back arrow, then click FUSE, and FUSE again -- this combines the multiple scans into a single mesh.
  • 16- REFINING: Click on POLISH, and REMESH, this should fill some left over holes
    -- You can also smooth down any rough areas with BUFF 
    -- The refining process is also time consuming, depending on how clean you want the scan to look. All images will require some amount of refining to look presentable. Some will require a great deal of it, and it takes practice to learn how to use all the options, just like any other image manipulation program.
    -- You can adjust the viewing options by clicking on the balls in the lower right corner of the screen. The top beach ball is the standard color view, and second ball is a monochromatic shaded morphology view, the third ball is a mesh, and the bottom ball is a points view.
  • 17- SAVE: When you’re happy with your image, click File/Save As and save the file as an SCN file
    -- If you are looking to import your model into another 3D program, save it in OBJ or STL file format - these are the most common 3D model format and will be easy to import into 3D programs for model correction, manipulation or printing.


-- In other environments: If there is ambient light coming in from the window this may affect your scan. Bright white light on a cloudy afternoon seems to make the scanner think that very light objects are actually blue. If this happens close the blinds or wait until it gets dark to scan your specimen.
-- Scan at the highest resolution at your own risk. The computer doesn’t seem to be powerful enough to handle it consistently. Sometimes it works, and sometimes the program keeps crashing. There doesn’t seem to be much difference between high standard resolution and high
resolution, anyway.
-- Save your model often! The program crashes frequently. It is unclear if it's a hardware problem, a Windows 7 instability, or something else. After you finish a set of scans, or before and after you perform a function like trimming or aligning -- save your model. Otherwise you might have to rescan...
-- If you do a 360° scan 16 rotations are recommended. This adds time to the scan, but it makes aligning much easier.
-- Sometimes the program will try to align the model automatically and it will come out a mess, or your manual alignment won’t come out as good as you wanted. If this happens go to Edit/Detach All. Then drag the first section into the green box and align again. The more pins and the wider they are spaced out the better.
-- Sometimes the fused model of your two scans will look worse than either individual one, small details such as teeth etc may be missing. Try realigning and fusing your scan again 
-- Make sure you have the correct color option (Dark/Neutral/Light) chosen. If you have a really dark object or a really light object and have the opposite option checked the laser won’t pick it up. Neutral usually works, unless it’s very very light or dark.