3d scanners are widely used in the 3D printing world.

It makes life easier when there is a need to replicate an items or to back engineer them

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3D printing is impossible without files that tell the printer what to print. They represent 3D models of objects in a format understandable to a slicer, and when a file, a slicer, and a 3D printer come together, a printing miracle happens. One of the ways to create such files is 3D scanning, and in this article, we will explore 3D scanners and their capacities.

 

A Little Bit Of Science Behind 3D Scanning

Have you ever asked yourself a question: how does one scan a complex three-dimensional object, or an object too big to be put on a glass plate of an average scanner? The solution is as simple as it is brilliant: instead of pushing a flat object against a source of light behind the glass bed, light (or its substitute) is emitted towards the object from various positions, and sensor cameras record in the XYZ format the distance between the laser source and the object, shape of the laser ray, etc. Literally, the ray of laser or light probes the surface of an object, and the ‘brain’ of the scanner captures the gathered data in the form of a point cloud that is then translated into a polygonal model. The technology is called triangulation because there are always three working ‘points’: a source of laser/light of a scanner, a camera with sensors, and the actual light dot on the object.

 

Main Types of 3D Scanners to Know

The technology behind scanning is important because it directly impacts the accuracy of scanning. Accuracy stands for capturing small details, delivering the smooth surface, making replication as true-to-life as possible, and other aspects of 3D printing that depend on the quality of a 3D model file. The higher the accuracy, the better the printing outcome is. So, knowing about accuracy helps you make the ultimate decision about what 3D scanners to buy.

Structured light scanners

These scanners operate with the help of the source of light. This light is emitted in the form of a grid that covers the scanned area. This type of scanner is considered to provide better scanning quality, slightly superior to laser scanners because laser dots patterns create noise, which interferes with data acquisition by sensors. Yet, the structured light scanners will be on the more expensive side of the market.

Laser 3D scanners

These scanners rely on laser rays to ‘map’ the surface and create XYZ descriptions of every point of the object. You’ve probably seen it in the movies: a red laser line moves along something and immediately, the digital model is reproduced on the computer screen. Now you can reenact this sci-fi scene right in your workshop with the advent of affordable laser scanners. The accuracy of these scanners is slightly lower than that of structured light devices, but for hobbies and some non-industrial tasks, they work fine. Besides, the costs of 3D scanners in this segment are lower than those for structured light devices.

Depth-sensing cameras

This feature has become a breakthrough in smartphone-based scanning, but its quality is far from what you would expect for 3D printing purposes. Cameras emit infrared light to create a network of dots on the object's surface. The resolution is usually more than 1mm, so minute details and edges are usually lost. Accuracy also declines as the distance to the object grows.

 

Essential Specifications of 3D Scanners To Check Before Buying

As you see, the best quality of 3D scanning is provided by structured light scanners (which are quite expensive). But what parameters should you look at if you try to buy a 3D scanner on a cheaper side?

Resolution is the distance between neighboring dots on the object. The lower the number denoting the resolution, the higher the resolution is. A resolution of 0.1mm is great for most printing purposes. Mind that the resolution higher than that will be 0.08mm (for example) and not 0.2mm.

Accuracy includes resolution, but it is more than that. Accuracy is in general the correspondence of a model to its real-life prototype. Accuracy usually fluctuates between 0.1 and 0.01mm (for portable scanners), and it is a good index.

Configuration of scanners

Handheld scanners can help you scan everything, from a human to a whole room. You carry the device around and perform scanning where you need it. More sophisticated models of portable scanners have a tripod in the box. When you need to scan an immovable object with great precision, just put the scanner on the tripod and go.

Turntable scanners are fixed devices directed at the rotating platform (turntable). Such scanners cannot scan something that does not fit on the rotating bed, but their fixed position accounts for greater accuracy of scanning. Since every area of an object needs to be captured by a scanner, some turntables can rotate along several different axes. In such a way, all sides of an object are properly scanned.

If you plan to scan objects in the distance, look for long-range scanners. They may be used as handheld or attached to tripods.

So if you ask yourself: which 3D scanner should I buy, think of the size and resolution of the objects to scan and see what type of scanner you can afford.

 

The Most Important Question: How To Pick A Right 3D Scanner

As you see, parameters to consider are diverse, and the point where the price and specs you need meet indicates the perfect scanner for you. If you think where to buy 3D scanner, here’s a tip.

Visit some 3D technology exhibitions and lay your hands on different scanners to understand the actual outcome of their work. If you cannot do it, decide on the resolution and accuracy you need, on the price you can pay, and look through the range of models in a given segment. Structured light devices are better; but for entry-level, some laser 3D scanners will be a solid solution in terms of pricing.

If you need brand names to start choosing a 3D scanner, look to Creality, Phiz, Matter and Form. They are the best in terms of price vs. quality combination for non-industrial purposes. On a more professional scale, look for Creaform, Shining EinScan, and Artec (the upscale kind of scanning device). You can easily order these 3D scanners in Perth, as well as in other big Australian cities.

 

Final Tips On How To Buy The Device Of Your Dreams

3D scanners are a pricey investment, so look for sellers who provide long-term warranty and service. It’s better to acquire from suppliers who have an office where you can go and ask for help directly if anything happens. So if you plan to buy 3D scanners in Melbourne, or order 3D scanners in Sydney, aim for local vendors. They will deliver the proper level of service and assistance, and it will support the national economy in general. So if you plan to purchase 3D scanners in Australia, go to trusted companies like Aurarum. You will get help in choosing and the excellent quality of the device you buy. Reliable and robust, like all things Australian.