A 3D Scanner made quick and dirty:

It's very easy to build a 3d scanner for cheap, if you
don't mind writing some code to go with it.

Jim Bredt and I have built a couple, all you need is a video camera,
laser, turntable, glass swizzle stick.

Put the bust of Beethoven on the turntable. Make it spin slowly. Shine the
laser through the swizzle stick so it draws a vertical red line on Ludwig's
head. Now videotape this from an angle. You're now done with the hardware.
7.5 minutes have elapsed.

Now use a frame-grabber to get the video to disk, use pbmplus or imagemagic
or somesuch to filter out everything but the red line,
write a program that figures out the distance to the object from the
red-line silhouettes. takes 1 or 2 lines of trig. Now you have data.

And if you find a good way to manipulate that, please let me know.
Not every cad pgm or modeler can handle that many points.
So then you need a polygon decimator to reduce the number of points.
This is a feature in Lightwave and "Materialise Magics RP".

	If you don't want to do it yourself:
The best commercial solution is probly to find a service bureau
with a cyberware or other scanner, and have them do the scanning for you.
It shouldn't cost too much.
There are some cheap 3d cameras on the market now. look at 
 www.sculptor.org  to see what's out there. 
hey kenny, here's Chris Barnhart's cvm 3dscanner code.

C 2003 Tim Anderson