3D scanning is by far the easiest and quickest possible ways to digitize objects in the 3D space. Increased affordability has led to wider proliferation of 3D printers and now their owners have more options than ever before to create 3D printable designs. Users can now choose what to print, despite not being able to design a 3D model using CAD software. A huge enabling factor of this ability has been the availability of affordable 3D scanners.
Until recently 3D scanners were restricted to niche fields such as prototype development and the gaming industry. Anything which is exclusive, is in principle, generally higher in cost. However, wider proliferation of 3D printers has renewed the development in Affordable 3D scanners once again. The combination of a 3D scanner and a 3D printer can work together similarly to a photocopier machine.
AIO 3D Printers
All in one 3D printers are a step towards realization of 3D copy machines. In the case of All in One 3D printers, the scanning and printing processes are streamlined by the manufacturer. The limitation of the maximum print size also applies to the maximum scanning size. Moreover All in One 3D printers save space and time with features such a single touch duplication mode. XYZ Da Vinci 1.0 AIO 3D Printer is highly recommended in this category.
Static 3D scanners
When using a static 3D scanner, the object is rotated around its axis while the scanner is fixed. Hence the size of the scan is limited according to the manufacture. Technically, the scanners in the AIO 3D printers also belong to this category.
There are many vendors in this category with varying price ranges. Scan resolutions higher than 0.5mm are the norm. The Makerbot’s Digitizer stands out in this category for its clean appearance and design. It allows multiple scans of the same object from various angles to be merged into one for greater accuracy and higher detail.
Hand Held 3D Scanners
Hand held or portable scanners are highly flexible in terms of scanning. Both the scanner and the object are movable. Handheld models allow scanning of larger models. Hand held scanners offer high resolution color scans as well which can accurately render the texture of the surface. Fuel 3D’s SCANIFY is an affordable scanner in this category.
Among the more affordable scanners in this category are iSense and the Occipital Structure Sensor. Both of them are attached to iPads. They convert the 2D camera of the iPad to 3D. These scanners are highly affordable and are suitable for beginners. They can be used to scan objects from a distance 3.5 meters with moderate to good resolutions.
3D Scanner technology is advancing leaps and bounds by the day. More manufactures and the availability of technology is lowering the prices of 3D scanners to a large extent. As 3D printer technology matures, 3D scanners are becoming an integral part of the 3D printering. Everyone should take advantage of the newly available affordable 3D Scanners. Happy scanning and happy printing!