Quick-Start Guide Drake
  • 1.
    Charge the scanner for 1.5 hours.
  • 2.
    Unplug the charger.
  • 3.
    To turn on, press the green button under the screen and wait for the software to load.
  • 4.
    Press the “Preview” button.
  • 5.
    Choose whether you want to scan with or without markers.
  • 6.
    Aim the scanner at the object you would like to scan to analyze the correct starting position. Whenthe object is in view, press the “Start” button to begin scanning and “Stop” when finished.
  • 7.
    Plug-in the USB flash drive into the USB port located on the scanner. Wait 5-10 seconds for it to berecognized by the software. Press “Save” to transfer data from the scanner’s internal hard-driveonto the USB drive.
  • 8.
    Turn the scanner off by pressing the button on the left side of the screen and then pressing and holding the “power off” button on the bottom of the side panel for 2 seconds.
  • 9.
    Plug the USB drive into your PC or laptop and transfer the data to the computer. Open Calibry Nest and drag-and-drop this data into the software.
  • 10.
    Go to Settings and choose the appropriate settings for your model. Generally, the most important settings to consider are “Resolution” (try 2mm for MAXI, 0.7mm for MIDI and 0.3mm for MINI), “Fill Holes” (try by radius), and “Max Hole Radius” (try 10mm for MAXI, 1mm for MIDI and 0.5mm for MINI). Leave every other option at default to start with and press “OK”.
  • 11.
    Then, if you need a textured model (geometry and color), press or F6. If you only want geometry of the object only (no color), press or F5. Depending on your computer and the amount of data you captured, this process can take anywhere from 2 to 60 minutes. On average, however, it takes 4 to 10 minutes.
  • 12.
    When finished, export your file by choosing “File/Save Result As…” or pressing Ctrl+S and choosing one of four supported formats.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you own more than one Drake lens (MINI, MIDI, or MAXI), do not switch these lenses while the scanner is turned on. This might severely damage your scanner and is not covered by warranty. Before changing the lenses, make sure to power the scanner off completely.
Tips & Tricks for Drake and Thor scanners
The Basics
  • Rule #1 - Do not drop or hit the scanner. It is sensitive optical equipment. It might lose its calibration and you will have to send it in for repairs.
  • Rule #2 – Keep the lenses clean. Make sure there are no finger prints or dust on the lenses, otherwise you might not get a good result.
  • Rule #3 – Do not leave the power cable hanging while charging. Over time, this might damage the power port and your scanner will need to be sent in for repairs.
  • Just like any other battery-operated device, your scanner battery has a limited number of charges before it starts to decline in capacity. To prolong its lifetime, avoid charging it unnecessarily and never use a third-party charging mechanism.
  • You can switch out the battery on your Drake 3D Scanner yourself. If the battery stops holding its charge or is malfunctioning, you can purchase a compatible battery at a local hardware store. Drake was specifically designed to avoid the need to ship the scanner back for repairs in cases like this. To find the exact specifications of the battery, please contact your local reseller or Thor3D directly at
  • Even turned off, the scanner’s battery is still being drained slowly over time, just like in other battery-powered devices. So, when scanning at a remote location (out in a forest or a medieval castle), try to have a way to charge the scanner the morning of the scanning session. It is not required, but “better safe than sorry”.
Touchscreen, powering off and on
  • The touchscreen is more responsive to touch when the scanner is not charging. So, if you prefer the screen to be “lighter to the touch”, unplug it while using it.
  • To turn on the Thor3D scanner, make sure it is charged, and swipe your finger from left to right in the middle of the screen. The scanner will flash once and the software will load in a matter of seconds.
  • To turn on your Drake scanner, make sure it is charged and press the green button below the screen.
  • To turn off the Thor3D scanner, press the Power Off button on the screen. For a “hard” power off, swipe your finger from right to left three times across the screen. This will completely disconnect the battery from the electronics. By doing this, you ensure that the battery is not being drained while the scanner is in “sleep” mode, but in order to turn the scanner back on, you will have to connect it to a power source before swiping left to right on the screen.
  • To turn off your Drake scanner, press and hold the Power Off button on the side panel. For a “hard” power off, press the green button under the screen.
  • Scanning humans can sometimes be difficult for several reasons. Try following these rules and you should get great results.
  • °
    Place the person on a turn-table. The person spins, while you stand in one place, moving the scanner from the top of the subject’s head to their feet.
  • °
    Try to not scan the same area twice. This is especially true for the face. The face is the most important part of the scan and the trickiest to get right. This is because the face muscles move most often (and of course the person blinks). Also, if you scan the face two times, in one instance the person might be looking to the right and the next time, he is looking to the left. When you blend the textures during post-processing, it might appear that the person is cross-eyed.
  • °
    Start your scan. pointing the scanner at the top of the head, so that one ear and a part of the shoulder is in view, scan the face next, then the other ear and shoulder. Then move down the body in a spiral. Again, try not to scan the face twice.
  • °
    If you do not have a turn-table, scanning will take longer, as you navigate around the person with the scanner. In these instances, it is especially important to tell your subject not to move. Scanning a human body in full on a turn-table takes about 40-60 seconds. Scanning without a turn-table takes 60-90 seconds.
  • °
    A full body scan should be around 1 000-2 000 frames. If you have less, you probably don’t have enough information and might have holes in the final mesh. If you have more, you are ok, but post-processing will take longer and as a rule, you can probably move the scanner faster during scanning.
  • During scanning, keeping the correct distance to the object is probably the most important thing to keep in mind. This skill comes naturally after several weeks of practice, but at first, it might be tricky. When your object disappears from view on the screen that means you either came too close (most common problem for new users) or are too far from the object.
  • If certain parts of the scan turn out well and others are not great, try rescanning the object and collect more data in those trouble areas. Try scanning the same area at different angles. The data you collect using the middle of the frame is more valuable than the data you collect using the fringe of the frame. If a certain part of the object is not coming out well, try holding the scanner at a 90-degree angle to the object (scanning at a 45-degree angle or less might produce less than desirable data).
Scanning with or without markers
There are two scanning modes (also called “tracking methods”): with and without markers.
  • Scanning without markers is most often used when scanning humans or human-like sculptures (also called “tracking by geometry”).
  • Scanning with markers is used in almost every case expect for human body scanning or sculptures.
  • °
    The device will stop scanning unexpectedly (and revert to Preview mode), when it does not see enough markers.
  • There should be a minimum of three markers in every frame (5 is the recommended number), thus, scanning will stop if there are less than 3 markers visible at any given point during the scanning session.
  • Since markers are identified in real-time at up to 12 times per second, not all markers will be properly detected on every frame. So, you might have 3 markers in a frame, but for a single frame, the software will only see 2 and stop the scanning session. That is why we recommend having 5 or more markers in every frame.
  • When affixing markers to a surface make sure not to place them on an edges (like the edge of a table that you want to capture), otherwise, the “automatic removal of markers” algorithm in Thor3D software might cut out the marker along with vital geometry.
  • Sometimes, if the object is small, you might want to place the markers on the table under the item and not on the object itself. In this case, make sure that during scanning, you are capturing enough of the table to let the scanner see at least three markers at all times
  • If you are not sure which method of tracking to use, ask your local reseller or email us a photo of the object to To quickly assess whether an object will need markers for good results, you will need a bit of practice. After a few weeks of working with the scanner, you will be able to distinguish between objects that have enough geometry for tracking and those that do not. Generally, however, markers are always recommended to attain the best possible accuracy. So, if you are using the scanner for industrial applications, you will most likely be using markers.
  • Markers vary in size depending on which scanner you use. You don’t have to purchase them. Just print them on your office printer using sticky paper or mailing labels you buy at a local stationary store. Download the correct marker file for your scanner in our Download Center.
  • You can read more about markers and why they are important in our “Guide to Markers” and on our Software page of the website.
Scanning difficult objects or in difficult conditions
  • Lighting conditions are important but can be tricky to get right. If the room is too bright, you might find it difficult to get good geometry results. If the room is completely dark, you might find it difficult to get good texture results. So, follow these rules:
  • °
    If you only need good geometry results (usually for industrial applications), make sure the room you are in is dark.
  • °
    If you only need good texture results (usually for CGI and human body scanning), make sure the room is not dark.
  • °
    If you need both geometry and texture, try to find a balance. For example, there is a lot of natural light coming through the window, but the overhead lights are turned off.
  • °
    If you are scanning outside, you will get the best results during sun-down or on a cloudy day. If it is too bright outside, you will have to scan under a tent or an umbrella.
  • Shiny, transparent or black objects have traditionally been difficult to digitize with optical scanners. That is because these surfaces either absorb light or bounce the light back in an unusual way. Because of our unique technology, Thor3D scanners are better at seeing these types of surfaces than most other scanners on the market, but some are too difficult even for our devices. In these cases, we recommend spraying the objects with some sort of powder before scanning.
  • °
    If you are in an auto garage, you can use the same tool you use to apply paint to automobiles. Instead of regular paint, load the sprayer with white emulsion paint diluted with water. This substance washes off easily, but allows you to scan windows, which are see-through, or rims, which might be very shiny.
  • °
    For smaller objects that might need spray, use a “Matting 3D spray”. In-house, we use Helling 3D spray, but there are several companies around the world that make it. One bottle will last for a few weeks/months and costs around $10-15. For a cheaper alternative, try talcum or baby powder. It might add a bigger layer to your geometry, but it is cheap and readily available in your neighborhood pharmacy.
  • It’s ok to go slow. If you are not getting the results you want, try scanning slower. For beginners, this is a frequent issue (people either walk too slow or too fast around the object). You will find the optimal speed with experience, but slower is better than faster.
Other important aspects to consider
  • If you have more than one lens (module) of the Drake scanner (Mini, Midi, or Maxi), never switch these modules out while the scanner is turned on. This might severely damage your hardware and is not covered by warranty.
  • Although we have never had a problem, our scanners have not been tested on people with epilepsy. If you have epilepsy or a similar condition, don’t risk it. Don’t be around the scanner when it is operational.
Can’t get the results you expect?

You’ve purchased a sophisticated optical device. It will take a few weeks to get the results you want. Don’t get frustrated. After a while, you will be able to determine the correct lens to use and the ideal method of scanning just by looking at an object.

In the beginning we recommend following basic tips&tricks and try scanning objects with rich geometry (statues, carvings).

Such objects are easy to scan and are good examples to practice the major scanning techniques:

  • Scanning from top to bottom,

  • Keeping an even distance from the scanner to the object,

  • Tilting the scanner to capture surfaces which are invisible from the frontal view,

  • Moving evenly without haste.

Objects of poor geometry such as pipes, cylinders, spheres, closets or cars require additional targets attached on the surface of the object or around it to let the scanner capture the sequence of frames in the correct way. This marker-tracking algorithm will also help to scan large objects with better accuracy.

The scanner gives an opportunity to adjust data capture settings with regards to lighting conditions in the area or object’s surface. Try adjusting these settings on the scanner and see whether the object is visible in preview mode.

The point cloud looks noisy or twisted? Don’t get upset. Smart algorithms within Calibry Nest will be able to fix those issues by filtering unwanted objects, hole filling, splitting the project and precise alignment of frames.

Need more training? Feel free to contact your local THOR3D reseller or contact us at

USB vs. WIFI data transfer to PC?

When scanning is complete, all gathered data is saved on the scanner’s hard-drive in .ASCAN format. In order to post process the data and finalize the result to receive a polygonal model, we need to transfer those files to the Calibry Nest program on the computer. There are two ways to do that.

The first option is to use an external USB flash drive. When the drive is connected to the device it is possible to transfer all files from the scanner SSD to the USB drive. The speed of data transfer will be around 20 MB/s and is limited to the configuration of the USB 2.0 port of the scanner. The main advantage of using USB drive is that it allows not only to transfer the data from scanner to the desktop software, but to store it as well. That might be useful in situations when you do not have a PC at hand.

The second option allows you to transfer data via Wi-Fi. However, for that you will need and external Wi-Fi adapter and access to the local area network. When you plug the adapter into the USB port of the scanner, select your network ID from the list and enter the password, you are ready to start transferring files. On your computer Drake’s SSD will be visible as a network disk drive and you will be able to access it with the path: \\THOR3D\scans. The major benefit of using this method to transfer data is speed, which is up to 300 MB/s. But it is limited to bandwidth of your Wi-Fi router and parameters of the external Wi-Fi adapter.

Both methods provide a flexible approach for the user on how to deliver scanned data to the desktop software. However, using a USB flash drive seems to be more popular among our customers. In most cases, scanning sessions take place in areas with limited Wi-Fi access. It is also possible that there is no computer present.

THOR3D© 2015 -