The 3D Scan app, from Microsoft, allows you to scan an object while holding Kinect in your hands. This is a great way to get children and students involved with 3D printing and 3D Scanning. Read below for a step by step guide on how to do so!

Import pictures in 3D Builder

 The latest version of the 3D Builder app includes a new Image Import feature that allows you to load photos, drawings, charts, and more from your PC and extrude them as 3D content. Changes to model settings render in real-time so you can play with it until you get what you want.
3D Builder is a free software built into every copy of Windows 10 and is officially endorsed by Microsoft. it’s a great tool for school to use and teach students basic 3D design and it’s learning curve is a lot lower than that of Blender or Autodesk apps.

3D Scanning Tutorial for Microsoft Kinect and 3D Builder

Step 1: 3D Scan an Object or Person


  • If you choose to scan an item or person while holding the Kinect, make sure to enable the handheld mode and rotate around the objects you are scanning. Carefully pick the size of the area you want to scan and hold the Kinect sensor to “record” your object, just like you would use a normal camera. The app even lets you take 3D selfies using the one-click timer option
  • You can also get great results by putting the Kinect on a tripod and placing the object you have in mind on a turntable in front of it. Don’t forget to switch off the handheld mode if you go for this option

Five major factors influence the quality of your 3D scan:

  • The GPU quality (Graphics Processing Unit): A high-end GPU allows for higher frame rates and produces better scans. In order to get the best results, try to stick to at least 20 frames per second (fps)
  • The lighting quality: Not surprisingly, a setting without any visible shadows produces the best results. The surface colors of your 3D scan will become better with more diffused light
  • The distance from the background: Aim to maximize the distance between your background and the object you want to scan. This way the Kinect sensor will not mistakenly add artifacts from the background to your 3D scan
  • Reflections: Try to scan in an environment with as little reflections as possible, since reflections in the background can create noise around the scan
  • The distance from the object: You will get the best 3D scanning results when you place the object approximately an arm’s length away from the Kinect sensor (that’s 3 ft. or 90 cm)

Step 2: Import and Edit Your 3D Model

Now that 3D Scan has captured your object, it’s about time to import and edit this 3D model. Microsoft’s free 3D Builder app does the trick. It allows you to import your 3D scan directly, to visualize it as a 3D model, to edit it and to 3D print it.

In order to import the 3D scan, start the 3D Builder app and choose “Scan” from the menu on the left-hand side. Once the scan has been imported, you can start editing the object. For example, you might want to create a base for your 3D scanned selfies.

Step 3: 3D Print Your Object

In the top right corner of the screen you can find a 3D print button. Click it to prepare your model for 3D printing. In the ‘select printer’ dropdown menu, you can choose ‘3D printing service’. In the layout tap you can still double-check the size of your future 3D print.

Thanks for reading, and as always if you found this guide useful let us know!

don’t forget to post your scans and print to our twitter, we love seeing whats going on in the 3D print industry

System Requirements

  • Use the latest Kinect driver
  • 64-bit (x64) processor
  • Dual-core 3.1 GHz (2 logical cores per physical) or faster processor
  • 4 GB RAM
  • Nvidia CUDA graphic card or a Kinect Fusion compatible GPU
  • A compatible USB 3.0 port (Intel or Renesas chipset)

Download and run the Kinect Configuration Verifier tool to check your system configuration.

See Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0 System Requirements for a detailed list of supported graphics adapters.

For more information on USB 3.0 requirements, see the Kinect for Windows SDK 2.0 Getting Started guide.

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