Is the revo mini (0.02mm) good enough o scan insects?

Hello there! I need to scan insects. (2 to 10 cm long depending from the specie)
Which 3d scanner would be the most appropriate for the task? Revopoint Mini Scanner 3D 0.02mm?
I work with museums and I generally clean up and resculpt / retopo the result in Zbrush, 3d print It and hand paint It. I still need to capture all the details.

Thank you.

With 2-10 cm long you can do it , however there is a catch , not all colors can be scanned with MINI , so you need to do some changes in gain settings while scanning colorful objects . Mostly affected will be yellow, orange, green , red , brown .
Unless you can use vanishing 3D spray with 0.03mm layer , and spray a very fine layer using your airbrush , it would do the trick and not affect the object .

‘Hairy’ insects may need editing as you can’t scan individual hair .

Don’t expect also 1:1 copy of your insect , you will have a great scan base and scale to make proper editing in Zbrush .

Remember Mini 0.02mm is a single frame cell precision , the smallest visible element on the 3Dscan I tested with was around 0.07mm , not a single volume ( surface details) so you can’t scan a single hair as volume as minimal single volume is 10mm , but you can scan a surface details at 0.07mm

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Ok. So long I’ve used macro photogrammetry but It’s quite hard and necessitates expensive material. I used my cellphone with a macro lens, better results than my Compact lumix in macro.
The main problem is the focal, the dof being very narrow in macro.
Here is an example of the 3d scan I’ve done with this technique but It’s really not good enough to save me some serious resculting.
Do you think I could get better results with the Revo mini? (I removed the textures to see the geometry better)


You going to miss lots of the fine details , definitely less , partial legs will be missed as well some other parts so still lots of work after editing. I wish I had some insect to scan for you so you can see the result .
But sadly not even a fly is available :disappointed:

Great job btw !

Than you very much for your thorough answer. I’m not even happy with this 3d scan / photogrammetry so I don’t think the revo mini will be the right tool for me unfortunately.
Do you know the scANT 3d scanner?
GitHub - evo-biomech/scAnt: open-source 3D scanning and processing pipeline
But I really suck at building technical things plus all the components are not available in France.
I hoped the Revo mini would fit in my workflow.

I quick checked the link and it looks promising by seeing the examples .
For me MINI covering the needs , so I don’t have to look any further.

For the single base yes , but to capture everything to the finest detail sadly not , and not even a 27K scan with 0.02mm could do that fine details in volume .

For this kind of 3D scanning , you need complete still base and scanner , and nothing portable will archive it as the distance need to be very accurate and any turbulence can interfere with the results .
It is a precision work after all, beyond any portable scanners below 10K to start with.

Once I get some opportunity to scan an insect , I will repost it here just from curiosity to see how it handle it.

But I do scan jewelry as well and I know where the limits are .

MINI would be great if you want to get the proper scale massumernt and simple base of your scanned object and work on that from this point .

For example , it can scan a butterfly, but not the legs as the volume is too fine for the pattern to be project on it for the sensors to pick up anything.
So all you would get is just the body and wings .

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@Marc_Hermitte Bonjour ! (I’m French too)

I wrote on 3DVF a few years ago about DISC3D, an open source project similar to scANT : Scanner facilement une fourmi en 3D devient possible (et open source) (article in French, a few examples are included).
At the time, the cost was between 4000€ and 8000€ depending on the gear used.

I agree with @PopUpTheVolume about the limitations you would face when using a MINI on insects.

You could, however, improve your scans with your current approach, for example by using a better camera (a second hand one will be fine too, since you don’t need the latest autofocus technology for insects that don’t move :wink: ) and by using focus stacking if needed. There are some cheap and easy tools available, such as Helicon Focus. It can even act as a remote control and automate focus bracketing ( Helicon Remote - Helicon Soft ). Motorized macro rails (WeMacron, StackShot) can be used but they are a bit expensive. There are also cheap rails that you move by hand: it takes a lot of time, though.

EDIT : that being said, I think I should be able to attempt a scan this weekend using the MINI + the upcoming RS5. I’ll keep you posted!


That would be only the option with macro to photogrammetry. But the process is very time consuming
I used Macro focus stacking with my Nikon DSLR and their software for various projects in the past but no matters the object small or big it still require lots of work .


Yes, it takes a lot of time. I’ve done it also (for fun, not for commercial projects, so time wasn’t really an issue), using a camera set on a stage micrometer.

Helicon Focus can also convert stacks to 3D models directly. No photogrammetry involved, basically the software creates a depth map after detecting which area of which picture is in focus.
The results are interesting, but you don’t get much detail.
Here are two attempts I did a few years ago:

  • Messor Barbarus, the head is about 1mm wide:

  • Camponotus, the mandibles are less than a mm wide:


My previous attempt was a weta, protected specie, just found a poor quality scan on the web. Museums need a physically accurate reconstitution and this is often a long process with lots of corrections to make. 3d scan would be a time saver.
Here is the Zbrush sculpture of the weta.

I’m very curious to see the result of an insect Revo mini 3d scan if anyone here has got the time for this.

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I managed to find a dead ant, about 1cm long. My attempts aren’t very good. The ant is dark and reflective, and the scanning spray isn’t well suited for small insects: it sticks to the hair of the ant, which probably adds some unwanted noise.

Scanned using RS5 beta, raw mesh, fill holes disabled.

It would probably work better with an insect that isn’t dark and reflective. I’ll have to try on the other idea I had in mind: grey shrimps from the market. They have features similar to insects, and their size is closer to the 2-10cm you had in mind.


You can’t use regular 3D spray for that kind of scanning , Airbrush and Transparent 3D spray with layer lower than 3 microns , regular one is too thick


Thanks for the tip! Unfortunately I only have AESUB Blue and Orange over here at the moment.
Which transparent spray would you recommend? Looks like AESUB transparent is only available in cans (at least according to their website), and creates 10-20 μm layers.

The one in cans is not good , the other is not yet available everywhere. When used with Airbrush you can control better the thickness.
Blue is a snow fall … Orange is better but I am not using AESUB anymore .

You can also use the ATTBLIME μScan 3 microns liquid but too expensive, you can make your own by mixing zinc oxide with a rubbing alcohol and create the layer thickness of your desire .

Recommend to use cosmetic grade zinc oxide, not the nano version ( dangerous for lungs, eyes, skin when handling/spraying ) the nano particles can penetrate skin .