Do you need to collect 3D data? Do you know that you can do so easily using a 3D scanner?
A 3D scanner is a device that analyzes a real-world object or environment to collect data on its shape and possible appearance. The collected data can be used to construct digital three-dimensional models or in a variety of applications including motion capture, industrial design, orthotics, prosthetics, reverse engineering, and prototyping.
If you are looking for a 3D scanner, you’re just on the right page. To save you time from researching, we compiled the best 3D scanners for you. Check out the list below.
|Xbox One Kinect Sensor||3/5||$||Handheld/|
|Artec Eva||4.5/5||$$$$||Handheld||1.9 lbs
|Occipital Structure Sensor||3.5/5||$||Handheld||95 g
|Matter and Form 3D Scanner V2||3.7/5||$||Stationary||1.71 kg
|Artec Leo||4.7/5||$$$$$||Handheld||4 lbs
|Digitizer by Makerbot||4.2/5||$||Stationary||4.63 lbs
|Fuel3D Scanify||4.3/5||$||Handheld||1.2 lbs
|Sense 3D Scanner||3.4/5||$||Handheld/|
The second version of the Xbox One Kinect Sensor gaming sensory is a full-fledged 3D scanner, too.
What I love about this scanner is it’s quick and easy to set up. In fact, you can get this running in just a few minutes.
You just have to hook the Xbox One Kinect to the PC and get the Microsoft 3D scan app and it will work. The best part is its sensor is reasonably priced and it works as advertised.
To use Kinect Sensor as 3D scanner, you just have to download a dedicated program from the company.
Once ready, you can specify the dimension and the resolution. You can also scan the object handheld or stationary. Its simplicty and cheap price convinced me that this is among the best scanners in the market.
Unfortunately, there are limitations. The program only works on Windows 10. You have to export meshes into the Microsoft 3D builder where you can choose a file format and access repair tools.
So, if you have a Kinect Sensor, and need a 3D scanner, you already have one at hand. Just download the program and do the necessary step to convert it into a working 3D scanner.
For best scanning experience using Kinect consider the following:
1. Calibrate the Kinect Color mesh by launching the Camera App
2. Use optimal sensor-to-object distance that is about 3 feet.
3. GPU quality: For optimal results use 20 frames per seconds (fps) or higher
4. Lighting quality: Make sure that the setting has no visible shadows. Also, the colors are better with more diffused lights.
5. Background distance: Maximize the distance between the background and the object to be scanned. A non-reflective background is better as reflection can create noise around the scan.
Camera: 1080p HD
OS Compatibility: Windows, Mac, Linux
Video frame rate: 30 fps
Dimension: 1.8 x 3.1 x 5.9 inches
Weight: 3.2 pounds
Artec Eva is designed to be a fast scanner for professionals.
It is equipped with a structured light which makes it ideal for a quick, textured and accurate 3D model of medium sized objects.
The best part of Eva is it’s being light, fast and versatile. These properties have convinced me that Artec Eva is a must-have especially if 3D scanning is normally part of what you always do.
In addition, this functions as a 3D video camera. You can use this without any additional equipment. Just start up the system and scan.
If you are always on the go and sometimes you’re in places where there’s no electric source, no problem! This 3D scanner is portable and can be powered by battery. If you have a tablet and battery back, this 3D scanner can be used in places where there’s no power source.
This handheld 3D scanner scans is very impressive in terms of speed and quality output. It can capture precise measurements in high resolution and vibrant colors.
Artec Eva captures up to 16 frames per second and it automatically aligns the captured image in real-time. Thanks to this process, scanning is really fast and easy even for objects with black and shiny surfaces.
Also, unlike most 3D scanning systems, for ease of use, you don’t need to calibrate this making your scanning experience easier, smoother and faster because there’s no warm-up time required.
Eva uses a safe-to-use structured light scanning technology to capture objects of almost any kinds including black and shiny surfaces.
This device is your tool to innovate, customize and streamline in the industry. Eva was also used to scan Barack Obama and the data was used to create the first 3D portrait of an American president.
3D Resolution: 0.5 mm
3D Point Accuracy: 0.1 mm
Accuracy over distance: 0.003% over 100 cm
Working distance: 0.4 – 1m
Linear field of view (closest): 214×148 mm
Linear field of view (furthest): 536 x 3711 mm
Video frame rate: 16 fps
Exposure Time: 0.0002 sec
Data acquisition speed: 2 min points/sec
Output formats: OBJ, PLY, WRL, STL, AOP, ASCII, Disney PTEX, E57, XYZRGB
OS: Windows 7, 8, 10 – x64
Processor: Intel I5 or I7
Dimension: 262 × 158 × 63 mm
Weight: 0.85 kg (1.9 lb)
Structure Sensor offers rapid 3D scanning of objects and people.
If your models are usually objects and people, Occipital 3D scanner is for you. It can 3D map interior spaces and mix reality experiences with a fantasy where it’s impossible to tell the differences.
Just like Artec Eva, this 3D scanner is very easy to use. It is designed to be work with your iPad.
Occipital Structure Sensor is a 3D sensor that you can just yoke to an iPad. Yes, just attach it to a bracket that you clip onto an iPad and start 3D scanning.
This iPad 3d scanner uses an infrared laser projector, an infrared sensor to acquire depth and color data. Aside from 3D scanning, you can view them in X-ray or Mesh mode and email the 3D files you create.
Structure Sensor is Uplink-compatible with Skanect. With Skanect you can create, refine and share high-quality 3D models of objects and people with your Structure Sensor. However, you have to ensure that the Structure Sensor and iPad are on the same WiFi network. Otherwise, the Uplink menu option will not appear.
There are over 100 applications available for Structure Sensor on iOS. This is compatible with iPad Pro, iPad, iPad Air, and iPad mini models.
However, this isn’t easy to use. You have to be techy to get this 3D scanner to work the way you wanted it. If you don’t know how to use this properly, you will never be satisfied with the scannning results.
In addition, this 3D scanner has limitations. It doesn’t scan well when the space is too big. Thus, this doesn’t work well for architecture firms. If you want this for architecture and engineering survey purposes, this won’t be a great choice.
Resolution: VGA (640×480); QVGA (320×240)
Frame rate: 30/60 fps
Maximum Recommended Range: 3.5m+
Minimum Recommended Range: 40 cm
Precision: 0.5mm at 40cm (0.15%); 30mm at 3m (1%)
Field of View: Horizontal: 58 degrees, Vertical: 45 degrees
Technology: Structured Light
OS: iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux
Dimension: 119.2x28x29 mm
Weight: 95 g
Color: Ice Blue, Silver, Dark Grey
Price: $379 for iPad
Price: $499 for complete bundle
If you are into 3D printing, this is the best 3D scanner to pair your favorite device.
This is designed to be a perfect 3D printing companion. You can integrate this seamlessly into your workflow.
Just scan, mesh and export your creation.
The thing I love most about this 3D scanner is its design. This device comes in a sleek and foldable design, so you can keep your scanner and workspace neat.
It has an integrated case that protects the turntable and the camera. Simply fold up the base when not in use.
Its design and weight also make it easier to transport. This 3D scanner is portable. So, if you need to scan objects from time to time but have to travel, this is a great option for you.
With this 3D scanner, you can introduce digital techniques into your creative process. Whether you are new to 3D or already a digital pro, Matter and Form V2 can help you build an intuitive bridge between the physical and virtual medium to diversify your process.
Matter and Form comes with MFStudio software that lets you go through your 3D projects with ease. It also gives you full control over your scanning setup. You can upgrade this to +Quickscan that lets you complete geometry in as fast as 65 seconds.
Matter and Form can compete with professional scanners in term of quality results. But this is much cheaper, so this is worth having.
However, I recommend this for professionals or experienced and not for beginners because you need to be knowledgeable enough with 3D printing and editing to produce usable results.
There will be dents, holes, globes and wasp nests in the scan that you need to fix. For instance, if your object is black or shiny there will be wasp nests or holes. Also, surfaces hidden from the scanner’s view will not be picked up. You can’t render a usable results if you don’t know how to get around it.
In addition, this 3D scanner required a 4 GB dedicated graphics card memory for high-resolution scans. Most common laptops won’t be able to do much in this device.
Accuracy: Within ± 0.1mm
Optics: HD CMOS sensor , 2x Class 1 eye-safe lasers
Connectivity: USB 2.0 high speed interface
Maximum size of object: Height: 25 cm; Diameter: 18 cm
Maximum weight of object: 3.0 kg
Software: MFStudio, +Quickscan
OS: Windows 7, 8.1, 10 (64 bit), macOS 10.11+
File: STL, OBJ, DAE, PLY, glTF2
Dimension when open (HxWxL): 34.5 x 21 x 34.5 cm
Dimension when close (HxWxL): 34.5 x 21 x 8.5 cm
Weight: 1.71 kg
Another smart and professional 3D scanner is Artec Leo.
This is the first handheld 3d scanner that offers onboard automatic processing.
It makes 3D scanning as easy as taking a video. You can immediately see the objected projected in 3D directly on the HD display real time.
Leo and Eva both come from the same manufacturer and both deliver high-quality outputs. But Leo tends to be more friendly to those new to 3D scanning.
With Eva, you have to hold the 3D scan in one hand and a laptop in another. And this can become intense after a few minutes. Leo is designed to be more user friendly.
Leo is the also the fastest professional 3D scanner with a 3D reconstruction rate of 80 frames per second. It can scan large objects and scenes quickly and accurately. For greater precision, you can place the scanner closer to the object to pick up intricate detail just like zooming in with a video camera.
Leo is an ideal printer, it can be used for scanning a range objects from small mechanical parts to the human body. It also works in scanning cars, boats, or crime scenes. This is works great for a wide variety of applications including industrial manufacture and quality control, healthcare, forensics, VR and e-commerce.
Leo is quite expensive. If there’s one thing that you should consider twice, perhaps, it’s the price. But if you have the money and you want to get a really great 3D scanner, this is highly recommended!
Leo is worth it in terms of ergonomic design and portability. It makes one hand scanning easy and comfortable.
Display: Built-in half HD touch panel screen
Processing: On-board real-time processing
Volume capture zone: Over 3 times greater
Frame rate: 80 fps
3D Resolution: 0.25 mm
3D Point Accuracy: 0.1 mm
Color resolution: 2.3 mp
Structured Light Source: VCSEL
Position sensors: Built-in 9 DoF inertial system
Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Data Transfer
Multi-core processing: NVIDIA® Jetson™ TX1
Dimension (HxWxL): 227x228x163 mm
Weight: 4 lbs
Price: $25, 800
BQ Ciclop 3D scanner is a fully open source laser scanner, and it’s more affordable compared to most 3D scanners.
Ciclop has a very simple design, but it gets the job done. It doesn’t offer too many functionalities but it has the basic features to help you scan an object.
For those looking for the best cheap 3d scanner, this is for you. But you should be ready as this is not easy to use.
As mentioned, this is open source and it needs manual labor to get it to work. The kit needs to be assembled and I warn you, it’s not easy to do. However, experienced users can fully assemble this in less than an hour. That’s why I only recommend this to professionals and advanced users only.
Also, you need to use multiple 3d scanning software to convert your file into a printable STL file. If you’re not comfortable or not knowlegable in setting up and installing software, you will probably need help in this part. Otherwise, you will appreciate this.
If you know how to code and find something you want to improve, you can easily tweak the program through GitHub. I highly recommend Horus for this 3D scanner.
Horus is a multi-platform software that controls 3D scanners. It handles communications between the computer and scanner, the capture and syncing of data, image processing, and calibration. This software works on both PCs and Macs.
Anyway, all the source files for the hardware and software of BQ Ciclop scanner are available online. So, you’ve got all you need. Also, there’s a big and supportive community that’s willing to help you anytime you need assistance.
Scan area: 250×205 mm
Scan speed: 2-8 minutes
Accuracy: 0.5 mm
Resolution: 0.5 mm
Triangles per 3D model: 80
Turntable drive system: Nema stepper motor (1.7 A 1.8 deg/step)
Maximum weight on Turntable 3kg
OS: Windows, Mac, Linux
Lead time: 1 week
Dimension: 450 x 330 x 230 mm
Weight: 2.5 kg
Digitizer is another low-cost 3d scanner that will surely please you. It’s one of the efficient and user-friendly 3D scanners on the market.
When I say user-friendly, I mean it! This is fully assembled and inspected when it arrives at your door. So, you can get this working in minutes! In fact, I was able to generate a good 3D model in less than 10 minutes.
I’m pretty sure beginners will love this because it has simple design, doesn’t need to be assembled and very easy to use. Personally, I’m very pleased to find out that this saves me the hassle of assembly despite its low price.
This includes a calibration that walks you through the process. You will calibrate the camera first, then the turntable.
For better results, I suggest that you opt for a non-reflective surface objects. You can also spray the surface with a flat ivory color for a perfect scan.
Personally, I have a great 3D scanning experience with Digitizer. However, not everyone is as happy as I am. Prior to buying this, I read reviews and learned that some had a difficult time calibrating this device. Also, according to them, the support is not helpful.
The other downside is that you can’t scan without a computer. You need to always bring a laptop inorder to use this which is inconvenient.
As for me, MakerBot Digitizer is a great cheap 3D scanner due to its price and ease of use. It only requires light computer hardware and includes a free software. However, it doesn’t deliver the best scanning resolution.
Scan volume: Up to 20.3 (diameter) x 20.3 cm (H) (8 x 8 in.)
Dimensional accuracy: ± 2.0 mm (± 0.079 in)
Detail resolution: 0.5 mm (0.0197 in)
Triangles per 3D model: ~200K
Scan speed: Approx. 12 minutes
Optimal Light Conditions: Artificial indoor light
Maximum weight on turntable: 3 kg (6.6 lbs)
Included Software: MakerWare for Digitizer
Exported File Types: .stl
Operating Systems: Windows (7+) / Mac OSX (10.7+) / Linux (Ubuntu 12.04+)
Lasers: Two eye-safe Class 1 laser line generators
Camera: 1.3 megapixel CMOS image sensor
Connectivity: USB connection
Dimension: 16.2 x 18.7 x 8 inches
Weight: 4.63 pounds
Fuel3D Scanify is another affordable handheld 3D scanner.
This device doesn’t look like the usual 3D scanners in the market but it’s as competitive. It also as designed – to deliver high-quality 3D scans.
Scanify is the world’s first scanner to combine pre-calibrated stereo cameras with photometric imaging. It captures an accurate scan from a single point-of-view in 0.1 seconds. In addition, for a more enjoyable and lesser hassle 3D scanning experience, the Studio software provides the ability to stitch multiple scans together.
That’s not all, another thing I love about this is its being cost-efficient. It captures amazing 3D models for one tenth of the costs of a comparable scanner.
Scanify is perfect for product design, 3D printing and on-screen applications like animation and game development because it captures the finest and fullest details. The thing love most about Scanify is that it allows you do slight edits in the free Studio software before transferring the scan to the manufacturing machine. This particular feature will help you save a huge amount of time because you do not have to go into your drawing software to create the model in the first place. Just scan with Scanify and you will have an instant model that is ready for 3D printing. This scanner uses a combination of stereoscopic and photometric data. It has two cameras, three xenon and three LED tracking lights to capture highly detailed scans. This 3D scanner works well in scanning faces. Unfortunately, it is not optimized to scan a whole person. Scanify is expensive and has limitations just like most of the devices you will find in the market. For instance, I notice that its z-axis is off by about 30%. This will affect definitely affect your scans. Anyway, you have to familiarize the device and use software to produce the best output. Unfortunately, this may cost your more money. But if you don’t do this, you will left with a useless model. Technical Specifications
Scan volume: approx. 8 x 12 inches in a single capture.
Scanning technology: Fusion of stereoscopic and photometric data.
Operating distance: fixed at 14 – 18 inches
Light source: xenon LED flash bulbs.
Connectivity: micro USB cable.
Power requirements – AC power adapter.
Min. recommended computer specs: 2GB RAM, 1GB hard disk space, Dual-core processor.
Operating systems: Windows 7+ (32/64 bit, Mac OS
Dimension: 10 x 9.6 x 1.3 inches
Weight: 1.2 pounds
Scanify is perfect for product design, 3D printing and on-screen applications like animation and game development because it captures the finest and fullest details.
The thing love most about Scanify is that it allows you do slight edits in the free Studio software before transferring the scan to the manufacturing machine. This particular feature will help you save a huge amount of time because you do not have to go into your drawing software to create the model in the first place.
Just scan with Scanify and you will have an instant model that is ready for 3D printing.
This scanner uses a combination of stereoscopic and photometric data. It has two cameras, three xenon and three LED tracking lights to capture highly detailed scans.
This 3D scanner works well in scanning faces. Unfortunately, it is not optimized to scan a whole person.
Scanify is expensive and has limitations just like most of the devices you will find in the market. For instance, I notice that its z-axis is off by about 30%. This will affect definitely affect your scans.
Anyway, you have to familiarize the device and use software to produce the best output. Unfortunately, this may cost your more money. But if you don’t do this, you will left with a useless model.
Sense 3D Scanner is one of the best digital tools you can find in the market when it comes to 3D scanning.
This handheld 3d scanner is fast, practical and easy to use.
It can capture and process data in real time, generating a complete polygon mesh. It also speeds up the data acquisition process by over 60%.
This uses an HD color cameras and a highly-sensitive infrared projector that allows it for a closer scan range and a higher resolution.
This device can transform your work! This is fully integrated with the Cube 3D printer, so you can just scan an object and 3D print it instantly in a seamless workflow.
Sense has touchscreen editing capabilities that you can use to enhance the color, design, shape and size of your images to create replicas.
This 3D scanner has its own limitations too. You need a computer in order to use this. Thus, you have to carry both when scanning. It has a USB cable, but it’s too short to move the scanner away from the computer. A Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection would have been preferable.
Another annoying thing during scanning is that you have to start or pause the scanner from the keyboard which is inconvenient. The process would have been better if you can start and pause the process from the scanner itself.
While some of its features lack the comfort the users desire, it also excels in some aspects. If you are always on the go and want a portable 3D scanner, Sense 3D scanner will work well for you. This is light and easy to transport. It is small enough to fit in your laptop bag allowing you to scan while on the go.
You can easily bring Sense with you on your trips and bring back your memories at home in 3D. This will also make a great keepsake or present.
Operating System: 64-bit Windows 8 or later
Minimum Scan Volume: 0.2m x 0.2m x 0.2m
Maximum Scan Volume: 2m x 2m x 2m
Minimum Operating Range: 0.2 m
Maximum Operating Range: 1.6 m
Depth image size: 640(w) x 480(h) px
Spatial x/y resolution @ 0.5m: 0.9mm
Depth resolution @ 0.5m: 1mm
Field of View: Horizontal: 45°; Vertical: 57.5°
; Diagonal: 69°
Operating temperature: 10-40° C
Maximal image throughput: 30 fps
Dimension: 5.08(w) x 7.08(h) x 1.3(d) inches
Weight: 1.2 pounds
Intel® Core i5™ 5th Gen or equivalent processor
RAM: 2 GB minimum
1280 x 1024 minimum screen resolution
4 GB available hard disk space
EinScan Pro+ is among the best 3D scanner in the market today. This is beginner-friendly, too.
The first thing I noticed upon unboxing EinScan Pro+ is its design. It is lightweight, comfortable to grip and easy to move around when you scan an object.
I’m particularly impressed with how easy its hardware and software are to setup. In fact, it too me less than an hour to unbox and produce my first good scan using this device.
The calibration is easy and it’s software is self explanatory. You will be guided through every step of the way. Even if you have never scanned before, you won’t have any problem using this 3D scanner for the first time.
EinScan Pro+ is great for both consumer and commercial applications in manufacturing, engineering, design, development, testing, artwork archival, animation and even in human form acquisition.
Another great thing about this is that it has high compatibility to 3rd party hardware and software. It captures the exact size, details, texture and color.
This 3D scanner allows you to use the physical objects around you and conceptualize a better idea. With a 3D scanner, it’s easier to have a starting point for your CAD (Computer Aided Design) model.
Its scanning software allows you to create “open” models for reverse engineering in a CAD system or it can create “closed” watertight models that are ideal for 3D printing.
The best thing about EinScan Pro+ is its being a multi-functional 3D scanner. It is also portable and accurate thanks to it’s four versatile scanning modes.
Handheld Rapd Scan mode is for large objects with rich features that don’t require high precision or accuracy. Handheld HD Scan mode is recommended for highly-detailed objects that are difficult to move. Auto Scan mode is for objects that are less than a cm in size. Lastly, Fixed Scan mode is best for large, complicated and richly detailed sculptures or pieces.
The package includes an instruction but it isn’t helpful as it’s available in Chinese. The good thing is that you can find an English version online. You just have to search for it.
Overall, I have a positive experience with EinScan Pro+. I have been using this for months without problems. I love this 3D scanner very much in terms of design, quality of results and ease of use. I highly recommend this.
Price: $4,099 – $5,599
3D scanners are very useful in 3D printing, design, gaming and more applications.
So, if you need one, you can choose any of the brands mentioned above. These units are the best 3D scanner on the market. They have been proven to be effective and reliable.
However, these units come in different prices and specifications. Just consider your budget and requirements. You will always find one that suits your need.