3D Scanner Buying Guide

It is not easy to buy a complex system like a 3D scanner. It requires knowledge of different technologies in use for 3D scanning. You have to determine your specific requirements to choose the right scanner. Following information will help you select the right scanner for your needs.

The Purpose

You have to determine the type of parts and workpieces that you will be scanning. There are different types of scanners to scan physical items. Do you need a high resolution mesh after scanning? Should it also provide the material substance? In that case, you are going to need a photogrammetry technology scanner. If your requirement is limited to accurate measurement of an object, a structured light scanner is sufficient for the purpose. In addition to the type of object you will be scanning, you also have to consider where you will be scanning the item. Will you always scan the workpieces on the same platform or do you need a mobile scanner so you can scan the workpieces wherever they are placed? It will determine whether you need a portable mobile scanner or a stationary 3D scanner.

The Workpiece

What type of part or workpiece are you going to scan using the scanner? All types of scanners are not suitable for all applications. One technology will deliver the most precise measurement while another scanner for the same application will not deliver the desired result. A photogrammetry scanner is useful for scanning large objects like humans and animals. Structured light scanner is used for highly precise measurements of small objects. Time of light scanner is used to take accurate images of objects in real time. It is capable of tracking the movements of an object. Laser scanners are very useful in scanning large objects like cars and buildings. Then there is contact scanner that is used for quality control. The drawback of a contact scanner is that if the workpiece, the scanner and the platform are not controlled precisely, it can result in deforming or destroying the object being scanned.

The Size of the Object

If you will be scanning mostly large objects, a photogrammetry scanner works best. On the other hand, a structured light scanner is useful in scanning tabletop small items. A contact scanner is preferred when object preservation is not a big problem.

The Object Surface

The object’s external surface determines what type of 3D scanner will deliver the best result. One type of scanner can be used to scan only certain types of materials.

The Resolution

You have to select a 3D scanner based on how high resolution data you need. A low-resolution result is sufficient in some applications while in other applications extremely high resolution is needed. You will be paying more for a higher resolution scanner.