Does anyone create 3D relief files

Does anyone create 3D relief files or can explain a way for me to take a picture(s) and turn it/them into a 3D relief file for carving? I really don’t have the skills to create the files but there has to be an easy way to reproduce items. Anyone now where I can buy a scanner to capture fine carvings for furniture repair? Thanks

I have not tried this yet but I want to. It looks promising. I installed fusion 360 and got my free license but that is it so far.

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Me too but I'm not very good at it. Estlcam is a program that can do the same thing. I have Artcam 2018 free version. I havent tried it yet but it seems perfect and easy to use. Its no longer made so I got really lucky getting the software. Watch for my comments as I get the software working once I learn it.

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This peaked my interest so I did an Amazon search on 3d scanners. Cough, cough, cough, Ok, sit down, it appears that anything with 4+ star reviews starts around $1300 and the good portables go up over $5200. I feel that there would still be a pretty steep learning curve in their use too. I think I will keep researching gray scale photo mapping which also seems to have a learning curve also but is much cheaper.

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Yeah, Jim, I lost my breath when I saw pricing. Grayscale photomapping seems like the only way to go. If I were an engineer, I’d create an affordable 3D scanner. Seems like these and thermal cameras are way overpriced. If you find a good grayscale photomapping program, pm me. I’m def interested. Thanks

I found this link. explaining how to make a grayscale image bump map. And this too: for some free 3D files to download. If you have something you want to replicate, take a picture with lighting that shows the depth - not a flat image. When you turn it into a grayscale, then invert it, the depth shows up - or that’s the concept. I tried on a pic from Google and it seems to work. Now I just have to figure out how to convert it into a usable file. I’m going to try to save it as an stl file. Not sure how to do that but I have ArtCam for free so most likely in that software. I’ll update as I learn more. If someone would like to try and cut my file, I would appreciate it. I don’t have my machine yet. Any volunteers? Thanks

The free version doesn’t do the 2D->3D conversion. I was extremely disappointed to find this out when I snagged a copy of the free version.

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You’re kidding! Ugh. Know any software that does?

I have a 3D activator for Photoshop cs6 I’m going to install. I’ll see if that works. Thanks for the tipoff. Grrrrrr.

OK. This is cool! So I was trying to figure out the whole take a picture and make a 3D relief from it using Fusion 360. I got a free license for fusion 360 using the home hobby startup license thingy. It is too powerful a program for me to learn in great detail so I will stick to Estlcam for my CAM and OnShape for my CAD but I like it for this cool feature.

Check this out. I found this image with a Bing image search for greyscale Christmas. This image has a slight watermark but it was good for a test.

I Followed these instructions to get the script installed into fusion 360. Then I generated a mesh. I right clicked in fusion 360 and exported as a stl. (obj was also an option.) Here is an image of how it turned out. the STL is a 47 MB file so I only uploaded the image.[attachment file=74905]

It looks like it can do color as well but those might turn out to be really messy.


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Yeah, 3D scanners are insanely expensive. I found this: If you have an iPad/MAC system, use the Structure Sensor:, if you have Windows get the Structure CORE. Eventually, the Structure Sensor will be available for Windows.

These are an all-in-one package. Turn on, scan, save, manipulate (clean up the files) and print or carve. Naturally, Mac is more expensive.


The 3d Systems one has been around for a while, and is relatively affordable. A local guy uses it to scan boat floors and stuff to make custom fit liners and mats.

It and the one that is the Skanect are priced about the same. I like your Sense Scanner better because I do have to scan my boat floor and replace the plywood. It’s portable and all in one. Have you used one before?

I took the plunge and bought into Carveco. It’s literally just the full version of ArtCAM rebranded. I don’t mean that in a bad way.

There is one feature that looks to do a great job with minimal clicking but only for side profiles. It’s called the Face Wizard. Google ArtCam Fave Wizard and you’ll find tutorials that show how it’s done. It does NOT work very well for anything but side profile portraiture.

By default, when you import a photo you are given a lithophane result. There are lots of great tools to clean up, invert, smooth, remodel etc but the learning curve is STEEP. I’m working my way through it. I’ll be sure to share successes if any are achieved.

I have yet to feel confident enough in a result to machine anything but it’s top priority to figure out so I can get a refund on the software if I decide not to keep it. There is a grace window and no questions asked return policy.

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I teach and Aspire gave me a free copy of the trial (sounds confusing but it’s an upgrade from the trial version everyone else has access to. It’s not limited and I can use all settings. There aren’t any clipart files. From what I can tell, that’s the difference between the full version and the upgraded except I have no access to their forum either. YouTube comes in handy).

I’m learning a lot on it now that I’m using it but I’m having some issues with it losing code when I run it.

If anything interferes with the movement of the gantry(like my cord being pinched when the gantry was at the farthest corner), I have to delete the file and start over with a saved version. I think the post-processor has something to do with it. The first cut went perfect but I hadn’t leveled my waste board (that was part of my next cut). It never happened. I still haven’t figured out the ESTLCAM enough to level my wasteboard yet. If you figure out how to do that, please let me know. I would be so happy. lol

To level my waste board I just took .5 mm off the surface. Made a rectangle the size of the work area and cut :slight_smile: you could add anything I used inkscape the first time the second on i used v carve

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I think I have Fusion 360 figured out for the most part. I was able to create a funnel. That was hard but I did it. No tutorials, just went and did it.