Pen-type of Scanner for outlining an object?

Not sure if I will describe this right, but I am looking for a way to have an object in front of me that I could use a pen type of scanner or something similar and be able to draw its outline to the computer. I have found a few projects where I want to replace the board in the item but it does not have a perfect circle or ellipse that I can easily create with my minimal level of knowledge with the software tools that I use. I would envision taking the pen and outline the shape and having it come up on the computer. I could save it as jpeg or similar type and then be able to manipulate it from there. I could see using a scanner but in some cases the projects I have taken on are larger than my scanner could even consider. I suspect if I took a picture with my camera that may work, but it seems like there has to be a product out there than can provide a simpler way to outline something. Unfortunately my google search skills have not found that product yet. Anyone seen anything like this? Thanks.



Have you considered a laser based, 3D scanner?

I saw the 3D scanners but I wasn’t interested in getting into 3D so I kept changing my searches to basically 2D.

The DIY digitizer looked pretty neat and heck it would be fun to build I am sure, but I am looking for something a bit simpler and less limiting. With the fixed base and arm length it seems like this would be a bit limited to whatever size you created versus having the ability to go around larger (or taller) objects.

How about this?,loc:2

We are getting there. I started searching for digitizer pens now. I think if it is slaved to a tablet underneath I may be stuck with a size issue again. This helps though. I truly appreciate the feedback. Thanks!

I have had good results making various tool holders and other stuff by tracing the object onto a piece of paper and then taking a picture of that trace with a ruler in the photo. I can then bring that photo into Fusion 360 and calibrate to the ruler and then work with it. I’ve also done this with a smartphone camera. The thing that’s gotten me with this trick is not to try to photograph the object directly because you want the ruler to be in the same plane as the trace or else you get perspective effects distorting the sizes. I also tend to use my SLR more now as I’ll put the traced paper on the floor and stand over it to take the picture aiming as straight down as possible. Having the camera as high as possible and zooming in more as opposed to having the camera close to the object and using a wider zoom setting means less distortion of the image.

For a lot of projects this works and is free. I designed this plane holder with exactly this technique

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I have no idea what the tolerance of this is, but I have been looking at it for a couple of years now always with something else coming up to take priority with $.

From the Amazon page:
Designed for Rough Concepting and Creative Brainstorming
Accuracy Main area of A4 paper: +/- 0.1 inches (2.5 mm)
Margins of A4 paper: +/- 0.2 inches (5.0 mm)

So that’s a no.

Assuming you saw this, but if not…

I hadn’t seen it. Thank you. I sent the company a request for information on pricing and how to purchase one as their site doesn’t seem to have a ‘buy now’ type of set up. Thanks!

(Popcorn) :slight_smile:

and … bookmarked… :slight_smile:

I’ve been using Wacom graphics tablets for a very long time, they’re wonderfully precise / accurate given a suitable input — if it’s something which fits under the tracing overlay, you’re golden, esp. if you get a model which supports the “lens cursor” / tracing puck:

Another alternative is to use a profile gauge:

or, if it’s an object which will fit on the machine bed, make and use a digitizing probe: /

I did contact the polhemus company for a price. At $3375, this pen is out of my league for pricing.