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Need to Buy a 3D Scanner? The Top Things to Look For

Did you know that the 3D scanning market will go up by $10 billion by 2026? It’s a growing industry due to the increasing applications in medicine, engineering, and architecture. You can even use a 3D scanner for hobbies, crafts, and arts!

Of course, it all starts with buying the right 3D scanner. That said, there are a lot of them flooding the market now. The problem is that the 3D scanner market is all over the place!

You’ll find portable scanners, expensive scanners, laser scanners, and more. How do you know which one to get? 

Fortunately, we’ve got the answers you seek right here. Continue reading to learn more from our buying guide below:


Resolution Matters

When it comes to 3D scanning, a higher resolution should always be one of your top priorities. Resolution refers to the number of data points in a scan. The more data points there are, tightly packed together, the better the image quality. 

Low-resolution scans result in poor-quality images. If you intend on 3D printing something based on 3D scanning, you won’t get an accurate replica due to the quality of the images.

Checking Accuracy

Don’t mistake resolution for accuracy, however. If resolution refers to the number and spacing of each data point, accuracy refers to the relation of those points to the original object. 

Inaccuracy leads to gaps, misalignment, and improper placement of data points. You can have a high-quality image but low accuracy means the result won’t look like the subject. 

For this reason, make sure to compare both resolution and scanning accuracy before picking a 3D scanner. You can’t prioritize one over the other.

Handheld or Stationary

Yes, there is a difference between a portable 3D scanner and a stationary one. 

Stationary scanners are great for objects you can move around. These work best for smaller, lighter subjects. You can flip them around and move them to scan every nook and cranny.

Portable scanners, like the Freescan 3D Laser Scanner, are great for larger objects you can’t move and rotate. Instead, you’ll move the scanner. 

If you can afford both and you have the software to support it, use a stationary scanner to get all the major data points. You can then switch to a portable scanner to fill in all the minute details.

Scanning Speed

Your scanning speed can also make or break a purchase. There’s no point in getting a slow 3D scanner if you need it for a fast-moving job. People in the medical industry, for example, need scanners that can get the job done as quickly as possible.

Unfortunately, there is no universal unit of speed to measure how quickly a 3D scanner is. People measure the speed differently, based on the technology and type of scanner. However, if you compare two scanners of a similar type, always check which one can scan faster.

Maximum Scanning Range

There are short-range scanners, mid-range scanners, and long-distance scanners. Make your choice depending on your needs. Keep in mind that most long-distance scanners are heavy, expensive, and used by big companies.

For example, someone who needs to scan tall buildings and other city structures should get a long-distance 3D scanner. You’ll be able to get the finer details of the subject even from one standing point.

Mid-range and short-range scanners are more common. These are the ones you’ll need to scan objects to study, 3D print, or edit using 3D-rendering software. Unless you need an industrial long-distance scanner for work, these are the ones to look for. 

Software Support

Speaking of software, don’t buy a 3D scanner that no longer gets updates and software support from the manufacturer. Updates will help iron out bugs and issues with the accompanying software that works with your 3D scanner. Updates can also add new features or improve the editing options.

If the scanner no longer sees updates, you might not have a solution in case you run into a critical bug or failure. The developers no longer support the scanner, meaning you’d have to start from scratch and hope there’s a third-party team that made fixes and patches.

Price Tag

It’s no surprise that buying a scanner is a costly endeavor. Some of the more affordable scanners can still cost several hundreds of dollars. The better ones can cost over a thousand.

It’s all too easy to step out of your bounds and purchase the most expensive 3D scanner in the market.

However, that doesn’t guarantee the best scanner. Always check the factors listed above first and then read reviews to make sure you get one that lives up to its price tag. Otherwise, you might end up with an expensive scanner only to find out there’s a cheaper and more efficient alternative.

Always Read Reviews

Did you know that a majority of online shoppers trust reviews? This is due to the fact that reviews come from consumers, not businesses or manufacturers. Unlike advertisements, reviews highlight both the good and bad about a product.

The key to finding the best 3D scanner is to read reviews that detail every feature and capability. These reviews should focus on the build of the scanner, its resolution and accuracy, and the included software. 

For even better insight, look for a video review. Watch a breakdown of the 3D scanner and check how the person used it. This will give you a better idea of whether or not that scanner is the one you need.

Get the Best 3D Scanner Now

Now you know the different factors to consider when shopping for a good 3D scanner. There are multiple types to consider, price tags to evaluate, and reviews to check. Always make sure you read about the scanner’s accuracy, range, speed, and resolution as well.

Did you enjoy this guide about 3D scanner shopping and hope to find more? We’ve got a library of in-depth guides to help you out. Continue reading our posts today as we discuss more technology, business, marketing, and entertainment tips!

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