X-Carve as an object scanner?

Well, it’s possible. I don’t know of any of the shelf stuff you could use to put it together.

What you could do - for the sake of the argument - is lay out your tools on a piece of transparent material then shine some weirdly coloured light through from the bottom. Say, lime green colour like they use in video production to compost CG with ordinary footage.

That way your tools would have a “harder” border/halo around them you could detect using an edge detection algorithm in your program. Make sure to have little back light behind your top-down faced camera. It would say nothing of the depth you need to fit each tool, but something about their size and shape.

Just off the top of my head…


Check out burntables.com. They do something called “tracing”. Extremely cool tool…


With a touch probe you can digitize objects that can fit under the x gantry. This can be done with open source software like LinuxCNC (or MachineKit). I just recently got a probe and have been experimenting with it. It works pretty good. I mostly use the probe to fit the center of openings to I can v-carve stuff into them. Or use it to probe for the z-offset on curve surfaces.


When you get that probing thing ironed out, I know several of us would be very interested in learning how you did it. On another thread we’ve been discussing this very topic. I’m working on a way to digitize a knife blade blank to cut out the handle scales and Kydex sheath. Please advise.



There is really nothing to iron out. It works. But I am using LinuxCNC. If you are using GRBL, TinyG or any other type of USB based motion controller, There is more too it than just running LCNC. Probing is also a function in Mach3 also.

I found this tutorial to be invaluable when trying to import physical objects. The techniques he uses should be easily transferable to other programs like Inkscape:


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A quick Google search of DIY 3D scanner brought up a wealth of information. Looks like all you need to do is mount a camera and LASER to the Z axis and run a turntable from x or y axis. Doable with a little elbow grease!

There is a way to do this manually, although it would take time:

  1. Determine a good “home” to give you 0,0,0 coordinates.
  2. Step your bit to the first location of interest and drop it to where it’s just touching. This would probably have to be done in the “carve” menu.
  3. Go to Easel’s machine inspector and read the machine location.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for each location of interest.

Remember, I did say it would take time. :smile: