The invention of 3D scanning has completely blown up the world of technology. Invented in the latter half of the 20th century, 3D scanning began as a way to recreate the surface of different places and objects. 

Today we see the industrial 3D scanner used in many different fields, including healthcare, manufacturing, architecture, engineering, defense, and more. 

Even the most basic 3D scanner can set you back quite a bit. You can expect to spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars up to $10,000 for a handheld scanner. Before you break out the credit card and earn some massive points, you should learn a few basic things about a 3D scanner. 

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about industrial 3D scanners. 


What Are 3D Scanners?

The term 3D scanner covers a broad range of devices. In particular, it refers to a device that measures the physical world a variety of lasers and light along with x-rays to take the measurements of a 3-dimensional object. The scanner can then create dense point clouds or polygon meshes that represent the item scanned. 

Sometimes you will come across alternative terms for 3D scanners such as white light scanners, 3D digitizers, LIDAR, laser scanners, and industrial CT. Regardless, these machines all do the same thing in that they take several measurements to capture a particular image in 3-D.


Types of 3D Scanners

As you begin to research purchasing an industrial 3D scanner, you will quickly discover there are several different types of scanners out there.

The scanner you want and need depends on your purpose with the scanner. Here are the major types of 3D scanners. 

Fixed Mounted

The fixed mounted scanner scans a single area of a subject based on what the scanner can reach. You cannot rotate the scanner around the object because it is fixed to a mount. As a result, you have to take multiple scans to fully capture all faces of the object you are scanning. 

Desktop 3D Scanner

You can also use a desktop 3D scanner. This is a type of fixed-mounted scanner integrated with a turntable. You can calibrate the turntable to the scanner. 

As a result, you do not have to manually move the object you're trying to scan. 

When you used a fixed-based scanner, you will need proper training to make sure it achieves optimal performance. It's a complicated machine. For example, it needs more than one method of data alignment to receive all of the data it needs to describe the object you are scanning. 

With that said, the high-dollar fixed scanner gives you a more accurate scan because of its particularities. To achieve the best scan possible, the fixed scanner requires a controlled environment and a trained operator. 

If you plan on getting a fixed scanner, make sure you also receive proper training for it. 

Articulating Arm Scanners

The articulating arm scanner mounts to a table, often a heavy granite one, or to a portable tripod. The use of an articulating arm with an industrial scanner makes it a popular device for the automotive and aerospace industries. 

While the articulating arm scanner can capture images more easily than the fixed mount scanner, it requires significant training and practice. Not just anyone can operate the articulating arm scanner accurately. 

Because the articulating arm scanner moves, the object you're scanning must remain fixed. The scanner collects all the data in a single, continuous session. So if your object moves, the scanner will have errors in the final data set. 

The articulating arm scanner does produce a high degree of accuracy. You can find the arms in different lengths, each of which affects the accuracy of the scanner. The shorter the arm, the more accurate the scanner. 

Hand-Held Scanners

Hand-held scanners are the newest type of 3D scanning device available. Manufacturers first introduced them in the mid-2000s. With the hand-held scanner, you no longer need any positioning devices. 

Hand-held scanners require the user to fix optical targets on the object they will scan. The scanner detects the targets, and as a result, the scanner will lock the geometric reference between the scanner and the part. Your object can move, and the scanner will not record errors in the final data set. 

You want to use hand-held scanners when your object has a highly complex geometry. Some hand-held systems allow for a separate optical tracking system. This tracker requires fewer targets on the object you are scanning. 

Long-Range Scanners

Long-range scanners consist of a scanner on a fixed point, rotating on a center axis. The scanner uses a laser to capture everything in the full 360-degree scan it takes. 

The range of a long-range scanner varies from model to model. Some can scan as far as up to 600 feet. 

Engineers use long-range scanners to survey buildings, roads, and bridges. Some professionals use this industrial scanner to reverse engineer other objects like aircraft or boats. 

While the long-range scanner has the capacity to scan large objects from a ways away, they do not have the accuracy that you see with desktop, arm-based, or hand-held scanners. 


Where to Purchase an Industrial 3D Scanner 

You should have a general understanding of the industrial 3D scanner now. It can capture the geometric points of any 3-dimensional object. A variety of occupations benefit from the newest and most advanced scanners. 

Are you in the market for an industrial 3-D scanner? If so, contact us. We would love to help you find the scanner you need. 

We develop and manufacture high-quality and easy-to-use portable 3D scanners along with the necessary 3D software that goes with them. We serve clients across the globe with our state-of-the-art 3D technology. 

We also provide research institutions, schools, colleges, engineers, and designers with their specialized needs. We can put together an education bundle for your needs that includes 3D printers, software, and courseware.

We believe so much in our product that we offer a 30-day return window in addition to a one-year manufacturer warranty on both parts and labor on all of our products. Call us today. We would love to help you.