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Ficus Tech Lab

A guide of tutorials on the software and technology in Ficus.


The NextEngine Scanner is a desktop 3D scanner that uses an array of lasers to scan objects at resolutions of 0.005 inches.

Workflow of creating the STL file:

1. To begin, create marks to align scans.  
2. Place the object on the Auto-positioner.  You may also use the PartGrabber to hold the object in place.
3. Launch the ScanStudio software.  The gear icon at the top of the scanner should light up and the positioner should make some test motions.  ScanStudio should report that “Your Scanner is Ready,” and the scan button to the left should be green.
4. Scan the object and align the scans.
5. Check the entire model.  Make sure the alignments are correct, trim out any extra pieces, and finalize the file.
6. Export to an STL file.  You may use other free software to polish your 3D STL file outside of NextEngine.
7. Request a 3D model by emailing it to

Library staff will not scan items or fix STL files for you.  You must scan the item, prep the STL file, and supply to us for 3D printing.


Tips for a successful scan:

  • The light in Ficus should be turned on.
  • The scan disc sits too low.  Make sure to elevate it or adjust it higher with the arm.
  • If scanning an object that is smooth or a solid color, it helps to have indicators in key locations.
    Example: Use a sharpie to make a couple of colored dots on the model. This makes it much easier to align multiple scans. 
  • For most scans, the smaller file size option with 10-12 segments creates enough detail. 
  • The system does have a tendency to crash if you are doing manipulations within the software.  This is usually when aligning scans. However, it always has a back-up saved that you are able to recover. 
  • Files should be saved as an STL file.  You may use another software to do final touches before requesting a print.
  • A wiki with instructions on the various tools is available through the software.
  • Make sure you fill all holes in the file and buff the model so it's smooth.
  • Mouse controls
    • Right click to zoom
    • Left click to rotate
    • Left & Right held to pan
    • Center scroll to pan without selecting an area

Example of a 3D model created and printed in the library.


Digitizing Everything w/ NextEngine 3D Scanner HD

This video covers the entire process from end-to-end on how to user this NextEngine 3D Scanner HD to generate accurate textured 3D models from objects in real life.

Scanning with a NextEngine 3D Scanner Part 1

In this tutorial, you will learn how to scan an object a 3D scanner and ScanStudio.

Scanning with a NextEngine 3D Scanner Part 2

In this tutorial, you will learn how to scan an object a 3D scanner and ScanStudio.

NextEngine 3D Laser Scanner Tutorial

A video on using the NextEngine 3D Laser Scanner.

How to use the NextEngine 3D Scanner

Step by Step written instructions on the NextEngine 3D scanner.
NextEngine 3d Scanner Guide A step by step instruction guide, complete with screenshots and tips, for using the NextEngine 3D scanner.

Autodesk Workshop Guide: NextEngine 3D Scanner

A nine step process to creating files with the NextEngine 3D Scanner.