Bi-directional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF) measurements that characterise the scattering properties of surfaces are extremely important to the design of optical instruments. Sophisticated codes require the characterisation of the scattering function of optically black and/or differently machined surfaces at several angle of incidence in a wide range of detector angles. These data can be used to develop processes to achieve desired BRDF patterns or to improve stray light suppression techniques. In this paper, we present the characteristics of an automatic, three dimensional, BRDF measurement set up that has been designed and developed at Galileo Avionica by the authors and the most significant experimental results of 3D BRDF data achieved on samples of aluminium alloys, gold and titanium, differently machined and/or black painted. The measurements have been taken at different illumination angles (from the normal incidence up to 45 degrees) at the wavelength of 650 nm. The wide variety of possible applications that can be explored through the proposed equipment, jointed to its flexibility, constitute a reference point for future investigations on the characterisation of the scattering properties of machined materials and paintings.© (2005) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.