Has anyone tried ScAnt or similar for insect photography?

I was just reading about this, and it sounds extremely cool: https://www.fabbaloo.com/news/scant-an-open-source-3d-scanner-for-ants

I was wondering if anyone here has tried using this or something similar for taking insect observations (or anything else small for that matter). If so, I’d love to hear your experiences with it!


Well, you’d have to kill them, which isn’t ideal for most observers. I’m also not entirely sure that 200 photos from very slightly different angles of an insect is a useful thing to upload. I think a camera, and/or a camera paired with a magnifying glass, is a better option for INat observations.

Don’t get me wrong, this thing is definitely extremely cool, and I’m sure it has plenty of uses. I just don’t think this is one of them.

1 Like

A lot of observers either kill/collect specimens, or focus on already-dead things. I wasn’t imagining uploading all 200 pictures, but rather, once the model is created, you can “photograph” it from any angle you want and upload those images instead.

Although, it WOULD be pretty awesome if iNat adds the option to upload 3D photogrammetry models as observations someday. I know of some people doing very interesting things with that technique and lichens.


This does sound really cool. I can imagine using something like this to scan an insect and then export a file to a 3D printer to create a resin model 100’s of times larger.

The down side is that their idea of “you can build one yourself at a very low cost” doesn’t match mine.


Not necessarily … depending on how long the scan takes, it may be possible to chill the insect in a small specimen container (or jar lids, saucer, etc.) with ice packs until they become sleepy and still. I’ve done this many times; and in almost all cases, the insect gradually warms up and starts crawling. Once it seems to be moving pretty normally, I release it where I found it.


This seems to require the insect to be stuck on a pole. If that can be adjusted, I suppose chilling might work, though I wish there were more studies on if it has permanent effects on the lil guys.

I found a couple studies of how well insects recovery from chilling, which are quite over my head. However, I glean that the chilling in the experiment was much more intense and prolonged compared to using first aid ice packs for a few minutes.


I might wonder if this could work for the ScAnt. If the scan does not take very long, perhaps one could chill the insect, then use a tiny bit of water-soluable glue (e.g., Elmer’s school glue) to hold it in place. After it starts moving, apply a droplet of water to soften the glue and, after, let the insect crawl on a wet cloth to remove the glue? Just conjecturing…

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.