This is a very cool and extremely easy-to-make accessory that can turn a a CNC mill into a scanner which can be used to duplicate parts. It uses an inexpensive USB webcam and some free software. The camera mount is also super simple. The video shows them simply taping the camera to a rod held in a collet.
The Bad News
You can test Tormach’s software for free but it’s pretty useless unless you buy the full version for $335. The “shareware” version won’t let you save anything, so you can’t export your scan into a CAM program. Which means you can’t actually use it to make a duplicate part or do anything else that is very useful. Also, the video says your accuracy and resolution will depend on the web cam you use. That sounds like you could use a $20 web cam but your results might not be very good. Tormach describes the camera they sell, for $513 with a mount, as a USB microscope. As you can see in the video, the camera is only a few inches from the part it’s scanning, so it appears you may need a camera that can focus at close distances.
I really wanted to try this out until I learned how crippled Tormach’s free software is and how unaffordable the full version is. I even found a $12 web that would be easy to mount on my mill. I don’t know how well it will work, but it has a focusing ring and it gets good reviews on Newegg (where it costs more).
This would be a nice accessory to have, but it’s not affordable and don’t see how I would use it much.