Scanner Operation

The Cyberware 3D Scanners are designed to scan a wide variety of objects in many configurations. The following sections describe how the scanners work and how they are controlled.

Theory of Operation

The scanner operates on the principle that light in a straight line, reflected off an object, can be viewed from a different angle to reveal a profile of the surface. The greater the angle between the light source and the viewing point, the more pronounced the description of the shape; however, the risk of a given surface being in shadow also increases. The scanner uses a plane of laser light, which can be distinguished from most ambient light, and has two viewing points, positioned at equal angles on both sides of the light source. A beam splitter (one-way mirror) is used to overlay the two images, so that if one side is shadowed, the other will normally contain the data. A system of mirrors inside the scanner enables the optics to be contained in a smaller space than would otherwise be necessary.

[Theory of Operation]
Theory of Operation
Blue LineIncoming Laser Line
Red LineOutgoing Laser Line
[Laser Tube]Laser (Helium Neon or Laser Diode)
[Camera & CCD]Camera Lens and CCD

See the Safety section of this user guide for information on any concerns about exposure to the laser.

At each point in the course of a scan, a series of data samples (typically 512) are taken vertically along the reflection of the line, and stored as the "range" of that point from the plane of reference. As the object moves past the scanner, repeated sets of these data samples (normally between 200 and 1000) are made and sent to the host computer to be stored as a grid of range values. If, at a given point, the scanner receives no reflection (or too weak to detect) or the surface is out of the allowable range, the system stores a special range value called a void.

Because of the nature of determining the range in this way, the scanner cannot detect surfaces farther away than the plane of reference. For this reason, placement of the object is very important. Also, the scanner only looks straight horizontally in a direction normal to the plane of reference, so any surfaces that are obscured at that angle of view will not be scanned. If you keep this in mind, you should be able to inspect an object and predict how well it will be represented.

A more complete description of the data capturing process is contained in the Introduction section of this user guide.

Motion Platform

The motion platform should provide a stable base for the object and the scanner. Place it on a solid floor so that no other motion jars the platform. It should be large enough to accommodate the objects and the scanner, and it should be at a comfortable height for the operator. The scanner platform should be adjustable to accommodate different heights. If scanning a live subject, the platform should be comfortable and easily accessible so that the subject can remain perfectly still while being scanned. Please reference the Site Preparation section of this user guide for more information.


The motor should move the scanner or object at a constant speed, making a servo motor the most likely choice for motion control. Make adjustments in resolution by changing the speed and length of scan in the Scan Setup Control Panel.

Image Controls


The brightness compensation is available only for the 3030-based digitizers.

For a 3030 digitizer the user can adjust the scanner to compensate for your object's surface brightness by directly changing the range camera F-stop inside the scanner head. Open the panel on the side of the scanner head by removing the 8 hex head screws (2.5 mm). Move the F-stop dial on the right-most camera (behind the controller boards). Most objects will use the standard setting of 4. Please read the document on setting the f-stop for more information.

New-generation 3030s do not have an f-stop, but use an electronic shutter mechanism. If the amount of light is not correct, please contact Cyberware Support for assistance.

Range Settings for a 3030 Scanhead

Range Settings for a 3030HRC

If you have an RGB or HRC option with your scanner, you can also adjust the Color Brightness by directly adjusting the color camera F-stop. Open the panel on the side of the scanner head and move the F-stop dial for the left-most camera. Most environments will use the standard setting of 4.

Color Settings for a 3030 Scanhead

Color Settings for a 3030HRC

When you set up a color scanner, adjust the F-stop until you are satisfied with the image colors. You may set the F-stop between indents if necessary. Once you have the F-stop appropriately adjusted for the room, it should not need to be adjusted again unless the room lighting changes.


The power supply provides power for the motion platform, as well as the scanner head. It contains the main power switch, located on the front of the power supply near the orange/red power light. To verify power throughout the system, power lights are located on the power supply and on the side of the scanner case.


The scanning software running on the host workstation controls the entire scanning process. The laser turns on automatically when the Scan command is given, and turns off when the scanning is complete. If there is a motion platform present, the Scan command also calls the motion commands that are appropriate for the type of motor and for the scanning parameters set by the user.

For safety, the laser always turns off after 30 seconds, even if the motion stops and or if the system is still in the process of scanning an image. This becomes particularly important when setting up for a scan. The software will allow the user to setup for a scan that will take longer than 30 seconds to complete. When this condition occurs, the scanner will execute the scan, but the laser will turn off after the prescribed 30 seconds. The motion platform will continue through the scan process even though no data is being captured.

Motion Platforms

For specific information about controls on Cyberware motion platforms, refer to the Scanning Notes for that platform.