I would like to make a 3d scanner for accurately modeling very small metal parts.

I figured I might be able to take advantage of the fact that metal conducts electricity, and avoid using light. This might be cheaper, easier to make, and wouldn't get thrown off by shiny surfaces.

Basically, I am imagining an object on a rotating stage, and a movable "feeler" probe. The probe is moved towards the object, and when the probe touches the metal object, a circuit is closed. The distance and angle of the probe and object are then recorded, and used to model a cross section of the object.

My question is:
Is this technique already being used? If so, where? Is there a name for this technique? What resources should I look at for researching this?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Welcome to SE.3DP, but I'm afraid this question is not within the scope of SE.3DP, please read What topics can I ask about here?. $\endgroup$
    – 0scar
    Sep 20, 2018 at 6:15
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @0scar, arguably, this comes under technology, although I feel that it is too niche to get a good answer here (doesn't make it off topic, just unlikely to be answered). 888, you need to define small. A physicist/chemist/biologist might suggest Electron Tomography (and related techniques) as being well established solutions. $\endgroup$ Sep 20, 2018 at 8:10
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ While I'm not sure if it's off-topic, I do know this technology is used regularly in the machining world (CNC). It's called Touch Probe Scanning $\endgroup$ Sep 20, 2018 at 12:51
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I suspect you'll find the accuracy and precision required of your probe (and the servos which position it) will lead to a rather expensive project. And a very time-consuming method, given that you basically have to trace the entire object in 50-micron stripes. $\endgroup$ Sep 20, 2018 at 15:23
  • $\begingroup$ The target of the question is in the question, but the way how it is asked is not (imho) $\endgroup$
    – Trish
    Sep 21, 2018 at 18:47

1 Answer 1


I have heard of similar scanning not using the electrical connecting but using the capacitance of the metal object to detect it. Capacitive Scanning works by detecting a metal object near the prob so the prob doesn't have to touch the object being scanned


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .