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3D Scanning in 2023: The Devices

Book a demo here 3D scanning is on the rise. A proliferating number of advanced 3D scanning devices is driving an ever-diversifying range of applications. Simply put, 3D scanners are doing better than ever — and their prominence is only …

Ile Kauppila

March 9, 2023

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3D scanning is on the rise. A proliferating number of advanced 3D scanning devices is driving an ever-diversifying range of applications. Simply put, 3D scanners are doing better than ever — and their prominence is only projected to increase.

But with the great number of devices comes a problem. In a marketplace flush with options, finding a 3D scanner that fits your application, budget, and needs can be difficult. You must ensure you have all the features you need without overpaying for ones that you don’t.

In this article, Solid Print3D gives you a look at some of the most popular 3D scanner products in 2023. Read on and find out which of them is right for you.

Mobile Phone

Did you know you can 3D scan objects with nothing but your smartphone or tablet? It’s true! 3D scanning apps for both iPhone and Android devices allow you to digitise physical objects into 3D models using photogrammetry.

That said, iPhones or iPads perform better in this regard. The latest Apple devices have standardised TrueDepth camera systems and lidar technology, that make it easy for software developers to create decently-functioning 3D scanner apps.

Android devices have varying camera systems, so they may not produce as successful results as an Apple iDevice. However, both are serviceable for quick, hobbyist-level 3D scanning.

Digital Camera

If you have a quality digital camera, you’re ready to start 3D scanning using photogrammetry. This technique involves photographing an object from every angle and stitching the pictures together into a 3D model.

This technique can be cheap, but it’s also rather challenging. Special photogrammetry software often has a high learning curve and takes a lot of processing power and time to produce an accurate 3D model.

Peel 3D

Peel 3D Scanners

Peel 3D is a subsidiary of Creaform that — like its parent company — manufactures professional-grade, high-quality 3D scanners. The company aims to offer powerful 3D scanners that are nonetheless simple to use. Their scanners offer a streamlined, smooth 3D scanning process that speeds up reverse engineering or design applications.

The recently introduced Peel 3 is a turnkey structured light 3D scanning solution with a high accuracy of up to 0.1mm. An intuitive touchscreen makes operating the device easy and it also functions as a distance meter. Peel 3 is the first 3D scanner to feature haptic feedback, delivering real-time information about the scanned surface to the user through a series of vibrations.

Peel 3.CAD is a version of Peel 3 that comes bundled with the Peel CAD software. Thanks to this addition, the scanner can transfer the scanning data to a computer to generate a high-detail CAD file. It’s a fully integrated reverse engineering solution for applications such as manufacturing, healthcare, and education.

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Peel 3 Handheld Scanner

Leica

Leica BLK 360 Scanners

Although Leica might be more famous for cameras, its Leica Geosystems branch develops a range of laser pulse-based 3D scanners. These versatile, high-speed scanners are intended for long-range scanning of large-scale objects and environments, such as entire rooms.

As an example, Leica BLK 360 is a 360° stationary 3D scanner that produces high-definition panoramic 3D models of its surroundings up to 60 metres away. It’s the smallest machine in the Leica range, but that only works to its advantage, affording the scanner excellent portability. Capturing 360,000 points per second, this small but mighty 3D scanner can image a whole room quickly and accurately for architectural, construction, and other applications.

Solid Print - Quaterley Report - 3D Printing - 3D Scanning - Desktop Manufacturing - Additive Manufacturing - Neil Sewell
Leica BLK 360

Artec

Luxembourg-based Artec manufactures a wide range of structured light and laser 3D scanners. The company’s expansive catalogue has products and software for most industries, from manufacturing to jewellery.

Artec Eva, for example, is a fast 3D scanner for medium-sized objects, while Artec Micro can scan tiny objects in extreme detail. As a curiosity, Artec Leo claims to be the world’s first AI-powered 3D scanner.

Solid Print - 3D Scanning Devices - Peel3D - Leica - Creaform
Artec Eva

Creaform

Creaform 3D Scanners

Creaform, hailing from Canada, manufactures high-performance 3D scanners for demanding applications. The company’s products offer excellent detail quality, fast scanning, and easy mobility for automotive, machinery, and other industrial applications.

Creaform Handyscan is a laser triangulation-based 3D scanner that can capture details as small as 0.05mm. In addition to accuracy, convenience and simplicity are the scanner’s greatest strengths. The user can move either the lightweight scanner or the objects freely still producing highly repeatable scans of complex surfaces.

For more demanding applications, Creaform Go!SCAN provides even sharper accuracy at very fast scanning speeds of up to 1.5 million measurements per second. This structured light scanner can generate complex 3D models with a simple point-and-scan process.

Solid Print - 3D Scanning Devices - Peel3D - Leica - Creaform
Creaform Go!SCAN

FARO

FARO is a Florida-based manufacturer focusing primarily on large-scale imaging solutions for heavy-duty industries. The company produces many robotic arms and laser scanners for such demanding applications as construction, crime scene, heavy equipment, and aerospace scanning.

The company’s catalogue also includes the Freestyle 2 handheld laser scanner. Like the rest of FARO’s products, this scanner is intended for imaging larger objects from several meters away.

GOM/Zeiss

GOM, part of the German Zeiss group, produces industrial 3D scanning and coordinate measuring solutions. GOM manufacturers primarily stationary scanning devices that can also be attached to robotic arms.

ATOS Q and GOM Scan 1 are two of the company’s most popular structured light 3D scanners. That said, GOM also offers the newly-introduced T-SCAN Hawk 2, a handheld laser scanner that can swap between red and blue lasers based on the required accuracy and speed.

Shining3D Einscan

Shining 3D’s Einscan range of 3D scanners features many different products for varying applications. Einscan scanners run the gamut from affordable budget scanners to professional handheld and industrial-grade stationary devices.

The Einscan H model series consists of hybrid 3D scanners that combine structured light and laser triangulation in one device. The Einscan S series comprises tabletop scanners that can integrate with 3D printers to transfer scan data for immediate printing.

Dental 3D Scanners

Heron IOS 3D Scanners

Dental 3D scanning is a category of its own, but it warrants mentioning here due to its increasing prevalence. More and more dentists are purchasing intraoral 3D scanners — and for a good reason.

These scanners, such as 3DISC Heron IOS, produce more accurate dental impressions than classic moulds and trays at a much faster speed. Both dentists and their patients benefit from improved quality of care, more accurate imaging, and better comfort. The high-detail dental 3D scans can be used for explaining procedures to patients, manufacturing guards or dentures, and preparing surgical guides, among many other uses.

Solid Print - 3D Scanning Devices - Peel3D - Leica - Creaform
3DISC Heron IOS Scanner

How to Choose Your 3D Scanner

With so many 3D scanner types, manufacturers, and models, choosing the device that serves your purposes can be a daunting task. While you shouldn’t make the decision lightly, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as it initially seems.

Here are a few things to consider when purchasing a 3D scanner:

  • Budget: Depending on the 3D scanner, the investment you have to make may not be insignificant. Knowing your budget in advance helps narrow your options to scanners you can afford.
  • Application: A 3D scanner that images machinery components well may not be suitable for, for example, construction applications. Keep your application in mind so you don’t waste money on a scanner that doesn’t work well for your scale of operations.
  • Scanning surface: Think about what kinds of surfaces you need to scan. Some 3D scanning technologies, like structured light and laser, may have difficulties with transparent, dark, or shiny surfaces — although you can mitigate the issue with scanning sprays.
  • Technology: Each 3D scanning technology has its own advantages and drawbacks in terms of accuracy, speed, and so on. Check out our detailed 3D scanning technology comparison for more information.
  • Mobility: Consider whether you need a stationary or mobile scanner. A stationary device may be more affordable, but the versatility a handheld scanner provides is critical in some use cases.
  • Environment: The scanning environment may impact the quality of the scan due to, for example, low or very bright light. Additionally, if you need to scan objects in the field, you will likely need a handheld scanner.

Completing this checklist should give you a fairly clear idea of what type of 3D scanner you need. If you need more help or would like to learn more, you can always contact our Solid Print3D experts! Call us at 01926 333 777 or email us at info@solidprint3d.co.uk.


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Arrange a meeting with a member of our team and look at our range of 3D printers, 3D scanners and desktop manufacturing solutions to find out which best suits your application.

At Solid Print, we are focused on giving impartial and honest advice when recommending the best products on the market for your application. We are fortunate enough to work with the leading brands within 3D printing, 3D scanning, waterjet cutting, laser cutting and desktop cnc. 

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  • Together, we will find the best solution for your business
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