Any ideas on how to use xcarve as a 2D scanner?

I would love to know if anyone has a solution to scanning 2D drawings. I regularly have to cut complex shapes out of mdf, but the shapes are too large for a conventional scanner, which forces me to use a circular saw and jigsaw… big time consumer. the shape must be precise, so I doubt photographs of the drawings will help, since there will be inherent lens distortion. If there is a way to use either a laser or a small camera, and have the ability to program it so it scans and saves, my life would be so much easier. I have seen a few products but they all use mach3. Any solution will be appreciated!



What about using something like this…?

That could work! I wonder if it can somehow be calibrated to the scanning speed of the motors, or maybe these handheld scanners have accelerometers… thanks!

I cant work that way, i make glass sculptures that need a wooden base, and each sculpture is different, so what i do now, is I trace the outline with pen, and cut laboriously with a circular saw then a jigsaw, i need something to scan the large size that the base will ultimately be.

Wow, if this works like its seems it will. Wow… im going to try it right now. Thank you!!

Here is what you do.
-Grab a scanner. Place the glass base on the scanner.
-Scan said area, (that you would have traced.)
-Open up any vector based program. I use Adobe Illustrator.
-Make the artboard the size of your MDF.
-Import the scan you just made.
-With the pen tool trace around the base that your going to need to cut out.
Now you have an un-proportionate outline of your item.
-measure the base to get the largest length you can. side A to side B

  • Scale the shape to the length you mesured on the item. BOOM proportionate vector line.
  • Save as .ai and open in your gcode making program.
    -set the depth and do a little dance cause you just saved 800 hours.
    Call me if you want me to walk you threw the first one. we can scype or facetime.

Sadly it got all wonky wih my 38"x24" image. I marked regularly intervalled (sp?) reference points to make sure my regular ipad photos line up once i vectorize the image, if possible. I cant imagine an image that size from 20 ft away can distort that much.

this is what i need to cut… that marker outline… i need to make sure each and every spot meets up flush with the layout of glass i traced.

this is the end product of a recent piece which i had to cut manually. Which just wastes too much time, but now you see what im tracing onto the mdf… any glass overlapping looks bad.

Regardless how well the photo method works. i may end up rigging a scanner wand parallel to one of the axes. The motors will help it make precise scans.

great idea! I still want a built in scanner one day, but for now, this will save quite a bit of time. I guess i should grid the piece i have now. That definitely helps with any issues, especially the one I was avoiding, being able to line up the 8" overlap with ease… unless i can fit it in diagonally and do it in one shot. Thank you guys! This is such a helpful community.

Uploading… so i took the grid via Illustrator route. Came out almost perfect. Next run ill be saving myself a full day.

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Yes, i see what your talking about with the camera skew. i have to battle that to.
Just wondering…ive never tried it, but what about panorama mode on your phone?
Do you think something like that will give you workable results?

Hmmm, that is big and complex.
Too big to get in just one photo, but too big to cut as a single piece. So multiple photos are not a problem given that you will be cutting the MDF in multiple pieces anyway.

You just need to constantly take good pictures, at the same “Scale”. You could trace each of the various photos (inkscape = free). Cut each one out and fit them together afterward. (Again as long as there are all at the same “Scale” it should work)

What if you made a wide rolling gantry to mount the camera on? Holding the camera at the same distance above the sculpture. Roll it over the sculpture. take a pic, move it, take a pic. Basically building your own oversized manual “Scanner”.

You could probably mock up a test rig using some 2x4s, casters and a tripod mount.
If you wanted to go fancy you could use some rail and a slide plate so you can shift the camera side to side as well.

Another option would to be to make a track mounted in the celling over your work area to mount a camera on. So you can position it as needed (at a consistent height) to take multiple pictures.

You can correct for lens distortion in Photoshop and other tools if your camera is low pix quality.

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Thank you everyone! I found the iphone seems to have the least lens distortion of any camera i tried, i get perfect cuts now, such a time saver!