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3D Hand Scanners – Structured Light vs Laser Scanning

Hand held 3D Scanning can use various technologies to scan objects for reverse engineering purposes. Two of the most common technologies used in 3D hand scanners are structured light (sometimes referred to as white light scanners) and laser scanning. Both …

Tom Marlow-Gilks

May 6, 2020

Hand held 3D Scanning can use various technologies to scan objects for reverse engineering purposes. Two of the most common technologies used in 3D hand scanners are structured light (sometimes referred to as white light scanners) and laser scanning. Both technologies are non-contact measurement devices that are capable of capturing data to within micro millimetre accuracy. However deciding on what the best fit for you is, is down to the application you are using it for and your budget.

How do they work?

Structured Light scanners were typically tripod mounted but hand held options are increasingly available. They project light patterns, typically parallel strips, which become distorted by the surface of the object being scanned. The light is projected across the 3D surface of the object and cameras on the scanner works out the variances in the 2D lines which in turn generates point cloud data. A 3D model is then generated using the position of the points using XYZ coordinates. Both the Peel 3D – Peel 2 and Creaforms’ Go!SCAN 3D use white light technology.

Laser line scanners can be both handheld and tripod mounted. A laser is projected onto the surface of the object to be scanned. A camera then looks for the location of the reflected laser spot. Depending on the distance to the object the laser dot will appear at different locations in the cameras field of view enabling the angle to be calculated to capture the distance: This is referred to as triangulation. Creaforms’ HandySCAN 3D use laser line technology.

Laser-scanning-diagram

Pro’s and Con’s

ProsCons
Structured LightSpeed (scans multiple points at once), precise, portable, eye safeSensitive to lighting conditions and surface of the part. Dark, matt and highly reflective surfaces can be hard to scan
Laser ScanningHigh accuracy ~10 microns (depending on working distance)Limited working distance

Summary

If you are looking to scan large objects quickly then structured light scanners are a good option. However if you are looking to scan highly detailed objects then laser scanners may be best suited but are substantially more expensive.

If you would like to discuss 3D scanners further and find out what is going to be the best fit for you, give us a call on 01926 333777 or drop us an email to info@solidprint3d.co.uk.

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