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Choosing A Portable 3D Scanner: 9 Things You Need To Know


As we all know, the rapid development of 3D scanning technology has improved a large number of application scenarios in many industries. 3D scanning makes the process more flexible, saving time and money costs. Naturally, more and more businesses are also integrating this technology into their daily work. However, there are so many 3D scanning solutions on the market, it is not a small problem to choose a 3D scanner that suits you.

Tips For Choosing A 3D Scanner


When choosing your first 3D scanner, go through a few simple but critical steps so it’s clear what looks right to you. First, choose an object or something similar that you scan often and bring it to an exhibition such as Formnext. During the exhibition, take it to visit all 3D scanning companies, and let the company personnel demonstrate the scanning process for you, and you can observe the process. This way, you can spot some differences right away. Afterwards, observe how well each company scans. Compare their different scanning processes, how the scan data is processed and the models each scanner produces.

We know that 3D printing is not a standard technical concept; and similarly, 3D scanning actually refers to a group of technologies (laser, white light or stereo vision, etc.), and each technology has its own characteristics and shortcomings. Therefore, the process of purchasing a 3D scanner is inevitably complicated and confusing. How do we choose a 3D scanner that suits us? What categories do we all need to know? View those parameters? I will explain to you bit by bit.

What Do You Want To Scan? / What Are You Scanning?

The characteristics of the objects you scan often determine the characteristics of the scanner you need. Some 3D scanners are good at scanning people, others at indoor environments, and still others at jewelry. The more certain you are about your scanning object and the more you know about the characteristics of the scanning object, the easier it is to choose a 3D scanner that suits you.

What Is The Size Of Your Scanned Object?

In the world of 3D scanning, size really does matter. Most 3D scanners have an optimal scanning window or scanning range. Generally speaking, you will need different 3D scanners for different sized items. For example, the instrument you use to scan jewelry is not the same as the one you use to scan a car. Currently, the best scanning range for most 3D scanners is ~10 cm to 60 cm. If the object you need to scan is not within this range, then it is likely that you will have to pay a higher price.

How Accurate do you need?

Accuracy refers to how close the scanned model can be to the real thing. In the world of 3D scanning, accuracy is often expressed in terms of Z accuracy or depth accuracy. Although X and Y accuracy are sometimes mentioned, Z accuracy is the most mentioned feature of a scanner product. While everyone wants high accuracy, the price difference is really huge. A 3D scanner with an accuracy of 50 microns (0.05 mm) usually costs around $10,000, while a 3D scanner with an accuracy of 5 microns (0.005 mm) costs more than $150,000. So go for the accuracy you need, not the higher the better!

How High Resolution Do You Need?

The resolution determines how many details the scanned model captures, that is, how many points to scan a unit area to store, the higher the resolution, the clearer the details. For the same area scanned, you may get only 10 (low resolution) but very accurate (high accuracy) points; you may also get millions (high resolution) but very inaccurate (high accuracy) points. low) points. Of course, the resolution is directly proportional to the price. So, you need to decide how much detail do you really need?

How Fast Do You Need To Scan?

If the object you are scanning is still, the scan speed may not be a problem; but if the object you are scanning is moving, such as a person. You then need to consider scanning speed. Generally speaking, you need a fast scanning speed, preferably within 1.5 seconds, because people always have to move. You also need to consider how quickly the software can process the scanned data after scanning. Of course, the scanning speed is also inseparable from the price.

What Will You Do After You Get The 3D Scanning Data?

3D scanning is usually not your final goal, you may be for further processing, such as on a CNC machine tool, for visual display, or for 3D printing. And the next steps you plan to take after your 3D scan can often help you decide on some of the features you want in your 3D scanner. For example, what software are you going to use next, is it compatible? Can it be transformed? Can the data be cleaned up? (remove unnecessary parts).

What Is The Environment You Scan?

Every 3D scanner has certain requirements for the environment. Most 3D scanners can work in an office environment (without too much light). And if you need to use the scanner in other environments, you need to know more. For example, if you need a 3D scanner installed in a car to scan the street, the price will definitely be staggering due to the complexity of objects and lighting. And if you need to scan dark corners, complicated pipes, etc., you may have to have a small, handheld, laser scanner.

What Is Your Budget?

It is impossible for you to say that you have a budget of 100,000 yuan, but find that what you need is a 1 million machine. If it’s not that bad, you might be able to consider sacrificing some features. Therefore, it is better to think about the most needed and most critical features in advance.

Who Will Operate The Purchased 3D Scanner?

One important thing that people who buy 3D scanners often forget is that using a 3D scanner usually requires some training. It’s like letting a rookie operate a high-end camera, and the effect may not be as good as that of a fool’s camera. 3D scanners also have this problem, and users need a certain amount of time to master the scanning skills.

To sum up, don’t forget to consider these factors when purchasing.

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