Are 3D scanners worth it for 3D printing?

Hey there, tech enthusiasts! Dreaming of diving into the realm of 3D scanning without breaking the bank? You’ve landed at the right spot! As integral as 3D printers stand in the 3D creation landscape, 3D scanners play an equally pivotal role. The beauty of it is, even if they’re slightly under the radar, 3D scanners are available in a multitude of styles – think mobile, handheld, on-desk, and even top-notch metrology systems catering to varied proficiency levels. Presenting to you, a curated collection of 3D scanners priced below $1000:


3D Scanner V2 by Matter and Form – Desktop – $500 – $750
POP 3D Scanner by Revopoint – Handheld – $600 – $700
SOL 3D Scanner by Scan Dimension – Desktop – $500 – $750
Structure Sensor by Occipital – Mobile – $500 – $600
Sense 2 by 3D Systems – Handheld – $500 – $600
3D Scanner 1.0A by AXYZ Printing – Handheld – $200 – $400
HE3D Ciclop DIY 3D Scanner – Open-Source – Desktop – Under $200

Diving a tad deeper into their specs, we aim to guide you in discerning which 3D scanner ideally aligns with your requirements. Given our focus on sub-$1000 devices, our spotlight primarily shines on Desktop, Handheld, and Mobile 3D scanners like Matter and Form 3D Scanner V2, POP 3D Scanner, Scan Dimension SOL 3D Scanner, and Occipital Structure Sensor Mark II, to name a few.

3D Scanning: A Quick Guide
For the Hobbyist: If you’re dabbling in 3D scanning for sheer pleasure or occasional projects, go for something light on the pocket yet efficient.
For the Professional: Detailing and speed are pivotal for you. The size of the object you’re scanning can also dictate your choice. Whether it’s intricate jewelry or expansive artifacts, your scanner must rise to the occasion.
Do I Need a 3D Scanner? Mulling over how much to shell out for a scanner? Explore our cost-effective recommendations first.
Photogrammetry vs. 3D Scan: If a dedicated 3D scanner feels hefty, how about leveraging your smartphone? By snapping multiple images from varied angles, you can morph them into a 3D model, thanks to the art of photogrammetry. It’s a budget-savvy move where software processes images into 3D renditions, offering an alternative to traditional 3D scanning techniques.

Understanding 3D Scanners
3D scanners employ diverse methodologies to capture data. These encompass:
Laser 3D Scanning: Here, a laser light is beamed onto the object, and its reflection is recorded to decipher the object’s dimensions and details.
Photogrammetry: This technique melds multiple photos, mirroring human binocular vision, to deduce the shape and depth of objects.
Structured Light Scanning: Common in facial recognition, this method projects light patterns onto the object. The light’s distortion upon the object’s surface is then recorded.

Other Features of a 3D Scanner
Factors such as scan area, range, and the scanner type (Desktop, Handheld, or Mobile) matter. While desktop scanners ace in detail for smaller objects, handheld ones are versatile for larger scans. If you’re testing the waters, mobile 3D scanning apps might be the perfect start, balancing affordability with functionality.