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ISU Libraries 3D Printing: 3D Scanning

Policies and procedures for using the 3D printer. Includes directions on obtaining and designing files for print and procedures for preparing and sending the print request.

What is 3D Scanning?

Einscan SE 3D Scanner

University Libraries is now offering 3D scanning.

3D scanning is the process of using technology to capturing the three-dimensional shape of an object, surface or area. The term “3D Scanning” is usually referring to the act of capturing the raw information of whatever is being scanned, usually in the form of point clouds or images. This could be called the “collection” stage. Once this raw scan data is collected, it gives us the opportunity to gain knowledge either by taking measurements from the data, or create 3D models and visualizations from the digital scan. This could be called the “processing” stage. A convenient aspect of scanning is that the processing can be done at a different time or place than when or where the scan was done. So teams equipped and trained to do 3D scanning can efficiently capture large quantities of scan data, and the processing can be done in the office at a later date by those specialized in such things.

3D scanning is not without limits. Different types of scanning methods have different trade-offs as far as speed, resolution and accuracy. It is our job to be aware of the limitations of the technology and take great care to select the best scanning method to meet your requirements in the most cost effective manner.

About 3D scanning. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Scanning Procedure

3D scanning requests will be submitted by clicking on the Request 3D Scanning button below.  The requestor will select the time and date to bring in the object to be scanned and then he/she will enter his/her first and last name, ISU email address, and a general description of the item to be scanned, including the approximate size, shape, color, etc. of the object.

After submitting the scan request, the requestor will receive a confirmation email with the date and time to bring in the object to be scanned to the Eli M. Oboler Library.  The scan will be performed during the appointment time.  The 3D scan (.stl) file will be emailed to the requestor upon the completion of the scan.

Library Systems

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Library Systems
Eli M. Oboler Library
Building 50
Mail Stop 8089

3D Scanning Policy

The requestor is responsible for the following:

  • Submitting 3D scan requests using the stated method (see procedures).
  • Selecting the appropriate items to be scanned (see limitations).
  • Any modifications necessary to the 3D print (.stl) file.

The 3D scanner is to be used for lawful purposes only. Failure to comply with the policies listed below can result in the rejection of future 3D scan requests. No one is permitted to use the 3D scanner to scan material that is:

Cost of 3D Scanning

Through October 1, 2019, 3D scanning in the library will be available at no charge.


Manufacturer's recommendations:

Difficult to scan:

  • Transparent objects (glass, clear plastic, etc.)
  • Shining or reflective objects (mirrors, etc.)
  • Dark colored objects (black, etc.)
  • Fuzzy objects (hair, fur, etc.)

Do not scan:

  • Moving objects
  • Hollow patterned objects
  • Objects smaller than 30 x 30 x 30 mm (1.2 x 1.2 x 1.2 in)
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