Can I 3D Scan with my Phone?

Can I 3D scan with my phone?

You want to create a 3D scan, but you don’t have a professional scanner. Investing £1000’s in a 3D scanner is not really an option. You can’t splash out and hire a professional, but you want the item 3D scanned?

The smartphone that you carry around in your pocket every day could help you 3D scan your model. Better still; you can use a free app! So the answer is yes you can 3d scan with your phone!!!

What is a 3D Scan?

There are two types of 3D scan: structured light 3D scanning and photogrammetry 3D scanning. Most 3D scanning apps use the photogrammetry method.

The photogrammetry method is when you take lots of lots of photos of an object or person at various angles. These photos are ‘stitched’ together to create a 3d Model.

Easy right? Well, it sounds effortless, but there is a complex photogrammetry algorithm that makes it all work at the click of a button. Luckily someone has already worked that out for us!

How do I use my phone as a 3d scanner?

Well as the saying goes… there’s an app for that! Of course, you do need a phone with a pretty good camera. The best Apps for 3D scanning at the moment are Trino and Qlone.

Most of the app’s you download are free or cheap. You can download from the Playstore or the App Store.

Once your app’s installed, you’re ready to start your 3D scan!

How do I 3D scan the object with my phone?

Place your object in a central location; you will need to be able to walk around the item while holding your phone. You will need to do this comfortably, creating a smooth and even motion.

If your 3d scanning a person you will need to ask them to stand very still. If you’re scanning just their face, scan them from ear to ear.

If it is a full-body scan, you’ll need to be able to walk around them comfortably.

You will then need to slowly walk around the object or person in a 360-degree circle. It is best to keep the camera the same distance away from the item or person at all times.

Once you have done several rotations, your scan data is complete. Your app should do the rest.

we providing a 3d scanning service in your location
You could end up with a 3D scan that looks like this.

Are there limitations of using my phone as a 3d scanner?

Yes, for sure. Using a free phone app will never be as good as using a machine that costs thousands of pounds. But you can create a scan that’s good enough.

There are a few things you can do to get the best results.

  1. Keep the phone at an even distance from the object.
  2. Make sure you have an even natural light. No bright lights or shadows.
  3. Don’t try to scan a shiny object. A reflective surface will confuse the scanner and affect the final scan results
  4. Don’t try and scan a large item. Start small, maybe a can of coke or a little ornament.
  5. Don’t try and scan a plain object. The scanner finds it easy to pick up shapes and colours. A very plain model would not give the scanner enough data to create a model
  6. Make sure the background is a different colour to the object. It makes it much easier for the scanner to detect the edge of the item if the colours are different.
Will the 3D scan be good enough quality?

If you’ve followed the tips above, you will give yourself a good chance of creating a usable 3D scan.

If you want to get creative and have fun, maybe creating an avatar for your game then yes it will be good enough.

If you put in a bit more practice, you could create a 3D model and get it 3D printed. We can help you with that.

You can even upload it to Sketchfab for other people to print.

But of course, no matter how much patience you have and how much you practice, you probably won’t get the same results a professional.

If you would like more information on our professional 3D scanning service please get in touch. We would love to hear from you.

If you would like to know more about the latest apps that you can use for scanning on your mobile phone check out this article released on the 5th of August 2020: Top 13 3D scanner apps for Android and iOS. It’s written by the experts at

Our services

3D Scanning

Transform physical items into precise digital models with our metrology-grade 3D scanners.

3D Printing

Use your own STL file or 3D scan data for one-off prints or batch production runs.

Reverse engineering

Convert your scan data into an editable CAD file, ready for the next stage of your project.

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