Digital Caliper

Finally got my digital calipers so I can design parts for 3D printing. I wish 3D scanners were cheaper, so many small markets for 3D printing the bottleneck is the CAD design work.


I keep meaning to try some of the ones that use your phone and a lazy Susan or 3D printed contraption

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Most digital calipers have an access port that can be connected to a computer. Many options out there. Do an internet search for "DIY Digital Caliper"and you will find many interfaces including Arduino code.


I have a caliper with bluetooth that outputs like a keyboard. I never use the feature. 3D scanning is usually more difficult than just reconstructing in CAD.


Fusion 360 allows you to import pictures, and scale from a measurement. It works for 2D I haven’t tried 3D scaling.



It’s useful as a reference to check if your design is in the right ballpark in terms of dimensions but it’s not useful as a direct input and it’s not human editable. The only time 3D scans are directly useful is if the shapes are organic and the goal is to replicate them with little or no modifications.


Exactly @lukeiamyourfather and @themitch22

There are so many things in this world I’d rather have calipers to measure and model for functional parts than clean up some noisy point cloud constructed model.

That said, if I have a miniature or action figure (and a little noise doesn’t matter because it’s more about looks than precision), 3D scanning all day long.

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I can take a picture and it will give me the dimensions in 2D?

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Not quite. You can import the picture as a canvas and then you select two points on the canvas and set the distance. It then scales the picture to that measurement so you can use it as a reference for your sketch.


No. You measure a dimension on the physical item, say the length. You then take the picture and import it. You then define the length to be the dimension you measured. This then puts the features of the item in the right places, and you can then measure and manipulate them in fusion.


Lenses have slight distortion so even using Canvas in Fusion 360 if you draw a sketch off it, it’ll be off. This is why I don’t do part recreations for car parts because it takes way more work than it’s worth usually.

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Isn’t it possible to buy 3d models of some common objects that others have already scanned? is the best source I know.