Teaching 3D Scanning in the Field through Photogrammetry

For our newest Student Technologist employee, I had a challenge. Using a self-directed learning method, I asked him to 3D scan one of our icons on campus – our panther statues – his task was to reproduce this model through 3D printing.  I had attempted capturing one in the winter, but it was not successful due to my photo capture and to the snow on the ground, mud and my cold feet. In order to try a second time, I asked our Student Technologist to go on a “field trip” away from the office one morning, to help capture the panther. We used one of our Rebel DSLRs available for checkout,  a tripod and ReMake software (which is now becoming ReCap Photo)

3D Printing our 3D Scan of a Panther Statue at Plymouth State University from Erika Rydberg on Vimeo.

We then captured several photos (20+) around and slightly above the statue. After doing this, the initial render was done in ReMake. I taught the student the basics of ReMake and then additionally the basics of Meshmixer and Tinkercad. Using the two 3d modeling methods we were able to recreate the entire statue (although with more simplified text than the original).

Our Student Technologist really ran away with this project. Many students struggle to find meaning in Meshmixer and what to do with it, but by giving this student a project based application for 3D scanning – scan and re-create the panther statue, it really drove him to learn the software on his own without my support, and he did a great job. Our first model is almost completed, successfully printed on our Ultimaker printer.

If you’re looking for a 3D scanning project for students that means something, don’t forget to look at the world around you and think about preservation and what we see every day that we might forget.