How to make a 3d fingerprint from a flat scanned one

Does anyone know how I can get a fingerprint onto a flat surface. I am trying to make a flat round charm with a fingerprint etched on it. Any help would be appreciated.

Making the presumption that you have a ‘real’ fingerprint in some sort of graphic, I would try putting that into a pictureframe or background bitmap and then building curves manually to fit. Use as few control points as possible. Then select the curve[s] and piipe them. When all are done, use a planarsrf to bisect the pipe[s] and delete the lower half. Then use the pipe sections to split the planarsrf, and then join to it.

Post a FP image for more help.

If the image is sufficiently good you may be able to use Heightfield to make a “relief map” in either mesh or surface form from your (grayscale) image. That may be sufficient for 3D printing or milling purposes.


Thank you. How or where can I find how to use those options? I know enough in Rhino to be dangerous (lol) but not nearly enough to know all these options and tools rhino has.

The helpfile has a very good index as well as coverage. [F1]

Since Mitch is a pretty reliable authority on this forum, it’s a good bet there really is a command whose name is “Heightfield”. Even if it’s not exactly that, but close, you can just type “Hei” and see what comes up. If you have already selected the option “Command Help” under the “Help” menu, you should have a tab in with the layers, display, etc labelled “Help”. If you actually start the Heightfield command, a description of it and how to use it, along with any options it has should appear in the help area.

If you already know about this, then I actually typed it for someone else. :smile:

@Helvetosaur advice is spot on here @rocoloco7. As he mentioned the most important thing is how good your image is. Make sure you get it right before you even try to height field it. This might mean working on it using something like photoshop.


Nice! --Mitch

Thanks @Helvetosaur . Print these all the time on an Asiga Pico and direct cast into jewellery.

Hi ChrisK
I would really recommend ZSurf4 because I think it produce better result then Heightfield (personal opinion!) Its a bit hard to understand at first but then it really makes fine nurbs surfaces. Download for free at The text is in Czech but inside the zip file is a translation. Its a good tutorial on the webpage if one cares to google translate it.
Do try it!

Pretty funny that it says

The author is a mysterious person acting on forum Rhino under the name Jim - more information to me about it unfortunately failed to gain.

@jim is not all that hard to get in touch with… :wink:

He can be “mysterious” though… :smile: --Mitch

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Hmm, perhaps their confusion is because they credited it to Jim, not Little J jim. :wink:

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Hey, that’s a new turn. Personally, I always have ‘lower case jim’ in my head. :smile: