The 3D scanning industry is currently experiencing a major boom. In fact, it's projected that the global 3D scanning market will grow to reach nearly $11 billion by the end of 2026.

The beauty of 3D scanning is that it can be used in a variety of industries and for all kinds of purposes. Whether it's for architecture, fine art, or archeology, people are constantly discovering new and innovative ways to put 3D scanning technology to work. 

3D scanners make workflows much more flexible, as well as more cost- and time-efficient. 

With all that said, there is a vast array of 3D scanning devices currently on the market. They vary greatly in size, price, and so much more. And with so many options, it's easy to get overwhelmed.

Luckily, we're here to help. So continue reading and we'll walk you through the main factors to consider when choosing 3D scanners.


1. Handheld Scanner Vs. Stationary Scanner

Probably the most important question you're going to have to ask yourself is if you want to get a handheld scanner or a stationary one. As the name implies, a stationary scanner doesn't move while it scans. Instead, the user turns the object and the device captures the scan. 

The user continues this process until all of the scans are captured of the whole object at different angles. Depending on the kind of processing software that's used, the scans can be merged together automatically during the scanning process. It also might have to be merged after all of the scans are collected. 

A handheld 3d scanner works a little differently. With this kind of device, it's the scanner that moves around the object. A handheld scanner is portable and more flexible than a stationary scanner. 

If you have an object that can't be moved, then a handheld scanner is usually the way to go. However, if you need to scan many similarly sized objects that are easy to rotate, then you'll likely want to go with a stationary scanner. 


2. Price Vs. Accuracy

The accuracy of 3D scanners varies greatly between technologies. And better accuracy tends to come with a higher price tag.

When accuracy is in the range of 0.1 mm or better, structured light and laser scanners are a good fit alongside high-resolution 3D printers. 

Both laser and structured light 3D scanners use an offset camera and projected light to triangulate points on a scan object. A structured light scanner projects a focused grid from a digital projector while a laser scanner projects laser lines on the object. Due to the noise that's caused by laser speckle patterns, structured light scanners tend to come with better accuracy than laser scanners. 

Other than the accuracy between measured points and their actual location, 3D scanners also vary with regard to resolution. This is the distance between captured points at a given scan distance. 

That means that details on the scanned object that are smaller than the resolution of the scanner won't actually be captured. 


3. 3D Scanner Coverage and Volume

The area that can be captured by a 3D scanner can vary greatly from device to device. You want to choose a scanner that will fit your resolution and size needs without too much overhead, as cost tends to increase with scan volume. 

A handheld 3D scanner can be moved manually around a scan object and comes with fewer size constraints than stationary scanners. Many affordable handheld scanners can capture objects from the size of a basketball to a whole room. 

A top of the line 3D scanner can have an even larger range.

If an area of the model can't be captured by the scanner, then there's going to be a gap in the model. You can repair small missing sections automatically with most scan software in order to make a 3D model that's printable. However, repaired holes are usually not as accurate as the original object. 

A stationary scanner uses a turntable to increase what the scanner sees. 


4. Speed

As the adage goes, time is money. This is especially true when it comes to 3D scanning. 

When you're talking about 3D scanning, the speed has to do with how fast the scanner can capture an object. The way that the speed is measured differs depending on the kind of technology that the device uses. 

For example, the speed of a structured light 3D scanner will be calculated by the number of points and the number of frames captured per second. 

A faster 3D scanner means that you can capture your objects more quickly. This can help you increase productivity and get rid of unnecessary costs. Speed can be especially important for expensive projects that are on tight schedules. 


5. Maintenance

Just like most other technological devices, 3D scanners need to be well-maintained. That means you might have to occasionally have your scanner checked-up. This will guarantee that your scanner will work correctly and provide you with accurate results for a long time to come. 

Each manufacturer has its own set of maintenance procedures. This includes optics cleaning, calibration, and more. It may be helpful to look for products that come with warranties and other guarantees. 


The Importance of Knowing About Factors to Consider When Choosing 3D Scanners

As we can see, there are several factors that you should consider when choosing 3D scanners. This is why it's so important to do your research and really know what your project requirements are before you make a decision. 

Are you looking to buy or rent high-quality 3D scanners? If so, then contact us today and see what we can do for you!