Did you know that each time you want to scan and print a simple object with a 3D scanning service, you can spend as much as $1200?

For small businesses and individuals, this quickly becomes unfeasible. With the costs of using a scanning service remaining so high, it can be a better choice, financially, to purchase your own scanner.

But how much will a 3D scanner cost? Learn about what a scanner does and what factors to consider when choosing one.


What a 3D Scanner Does

A 3D scanner creates a digital 3D model of an object using snapshots. These snapshots are then added to the 3D model of the object, allowing you to see the object from any angle.

Each 3D scan fits together to create the object. Think of a 2D scan, which is made up of pixels, and substitute those pixels for minute triangles. These form a mesh that captures the object's shape and geometry.


3D Scanner Cost Factors to Know

If you cannot afford to spend a thousand dollars each time you want to 3D scan an object, the solution is to purchase a scanner of your own. But how much does a 3D laser scanner cost? The answer can be a complex one with numerous factors to consider.

Accuracy and Resolution

The accuracy of the scanner can vary, mostly depending on the price. The 3D scanners with the highest accuracy and highest resolution will cost more.

But accuracy can mean different things depending on the provider and the technology. A handheld 3D scanner's accuracy depends on the distance it is placed from the object and the scan's reconstruction. Contrast this with a desktop scanner, which has a fixed accuracy because it cannot be moved.

In a perfect world, you want to purchase a 3D scanner that is high accuracy and high resolution, allowing you to get the details and textures. This can mean a higher price.

If you cannot afford the most expensive options and want a low-cost 3D scanner, think about the intended use to find the accuracy levels that work best. For artistic uses, you may want a scanner that offers more details, or a higher resolution, without needing the highest accuracy. For more technical uses, the opposite may be true.

Volume and Coverage

The coverage that a 3d scanner will offer can also impact the cost. The more coverage it offers, the most expensive the scanner will be.

Handheld 3D scanners can usually capture items that range from the size of a football to a room, with the ease of moving it around to get the exact scanning you want.

The more expensive handheld scanners have a larger range and can be a great option for capturing objects that require high resolution but that a desktop scanner cannot capture.

Some 3D scanners use a turntable to cover more of the object. The sophistication of the turntable will affect the cost, as well. If the turntable allows the scanner to move the object on multiple axes, you can expect the cost to be higher.


Can the 3D scanner get the same results every time? For a business that wants to create parts, it is essential that the 3D scanner offer the highest levels of repeatability.

That may not be as important for individuals or if you need the scanner for artistic purposes.


You want to consider how long it takes the 3D scanner to capture the images it needs to fuse on the model.

A low cost 3D scanner will take about an hour to complete the process from scanning to creating the model, while a higher-cost one can take fifteen or so minutes.

If time is not a concern, then a low-cost scanner can work well; otherwise, you may need to spend a bit more for efficiency's sake.

Software and Ease of Use

The ease of use of the scanner and the quality of the software can be another factor and it is one that you want to think about with care, especially if you are not experienced with using a 3D scanner.

For less experienced users, easier software can be a benefit. It can allow you to capture the images you want with less fiddling than you would have to do with a more advanced scanner.

With a 3D digital scanner at the low-cost end, you will not have the opportunity of changing exposure levels, and many of the hole-filling post-scan are automated.

If you do have experience, you may prefer a scanner with more options. This means spending a bit more but also getting texture projection and deviation analysis options. More advanced programs also make it possible to use scripting, allowing you to automate many aspects of the scanning process.

Customer Support

You want to be able to get help if you run into issues with the 3D scanner. Sometimes this can affect the cost of the scanner.

Before you choose the scanner, think about whether you would like to have full support. If you are experienced with 3D scanners, you may not need this.


How to Choose

The use you want from the 3D scanner is what should guide your purchase. If you are focusing on 3D printing, the scanner does not need to be as accurate since the results do rely mainly on the printer quality. Choosing a low-cost laser scanner option can work in these instances.

If you are interested in reverse engineering, research or medical purposes, or quality inspection, accuracy and repeatability is essential. That means spending a bit more on the scanner.


Contact Experts

Before you make a purchase, you want to speak with experts about 3D scanner costs and what you can expect.

Contact us today to find the right 3D scanner for your needs!