6 Best 3D Scanners for 3D Printing


3D scanning is getting more attention and development in 3D printing, mainly because of the improvement in the scanning capabilities and ability to create accurate replicas. This article will take you through some of the best 3D scanners for 3D prints.

iPhone 12 Pro & Max

This isn’t a scanner of course, but the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a staple smartphone that many people successfully use as a 3D scanner to help with creating 3D prints.

It has features such as light detection and ranging technology (LiDAR) sensor, along with its Dolby Vision HDR video that can record up to 60fps. This LiDAR sensor functions as a 3D camera with the capability to accurately map the environment and scan objects.

LiDAR is similar to photogrammetry, a common scanning technique, but with higher accuracy. This also means it doesn’t work too well with shiny or one-color objects. You’d get the best results when scanning objects that have texture, like statues, rocks, or plants.

Here is a video comparing LiDAR on an iPhone 12 Pro and photogrammetry.

Scanning objects placed on a flat monochrome background is advisable because the LiDAR scanner uses color variation to distinguish the object and doesn’t work well with grainy backgrounds.

LiDAR’s TrueDepth camera gives detailed scans with better resolution than the normal rear camera on a phone. To get a better scanning view, it can be useful to use an external monitor to view the scanning progress when using it.

Applications such as ScandyPro or 3D Scanner App have worked well with LiDAR for many users. They work best with high-resolution settings, they scan 3D models fast, make a digital mesh, and export files for 3D printing.

Point-to-point measurements of objects up to 5 meters away can be taken using LiDAR’s built-in measure application.

The LiDAR isn’t going to give the best accuracy compared to professional 3D scanners, but if you have one handy, it’s a good choice for scanning objects that aren’t too detailed.

Check this LiDAR scanning and printing video.

Get yourself the iPhone 12 Pro Max from Amazon for 3D scanning.

Creality CR-Scan 01

Now, let’s get into actual 3D scanners with the Creality CR-Scan 01. It’s a lightweight 3D scanner that can scan with a 0.1mm scanning accuracy at 10 frames per second. Scanning can be done at a distance of 400-900mm using its 24-bit RGB camera.

It uses a blue-stripe projector with frame flash and a 3D depth sensor that scan 3D models for 3D printing.

There are two main methods of scanning with the Creality CR-Scan 01, one being auto-aligning or a manual alignment.

The auto-aligning scan involves scanning using two positions, working best for solid objects with surfaces that don’t reflect light.

CR-Studio is the editing software that comes with it and that it has features where you can make adjustments to fix gaps or misalignment in your scans.

When dealing with small objects, a user found out that it is better to scan in a single position, raising the surface on the turntable. Scanning multiple times while adjusting the scanner height gave better 3D models for printing.

This video shows how Creality CR 01 performs with small objects.

The resolution of the Creality CR-Scan 01 helps it to accurately scan models for 3D printing or CAD designing, but one user found out it had trouble recognizing boltholes of some car parts accurately.

Similarly, another user could not capture the hair when scanning a person using its body mode.

Users have reported challenges scanning larger objects and also outdoor scanning using the handheld mode because it needs a constant connection to a power socket.

Also, the Creality CR-Scan 01 has a decent requirement on PC specifications, with at least 8GB memory and above 2GB graphics card for it to run smoothly. A gaming PC proves to be better.

In this video Creality CR-Scan 01 and the Revopoint POP Scanner are compared.

Have a look at the Creality CR-Scan 01 on Amazon.

Creality have also recently released the Creality CR-Scan Lizard (Kickstarter & Indiegogo) which is a newer and improved 3D scanner, with accuracy of up to 0.05mm. They have a campaign on Kickstarter and Indiegogo.

Check out the in-depth review of the CR-Scan Lizard below.

Revopoint POP

The Revopoint POP Scanner is a compact full-color 3D scanner with a dual camera that uses infrared structured light. It has two IP sensors and a projector for scanning, it scans objects with high accuracy of 0.3mm (still provides great quality) at 8fps, with a scanning distance range of 275-375mm.

It’s a great scanner that you can use to easily 3D scan a person accurately, then 3D print the model.

Scanning accuracy is enhanced by its 3D point data cloud feature.

The POP scanner can be used both as a stationary and handheld device, using a stabilized selfie stick. Updating its HandyScan software whenever prompted is important. This adds user-scan mode features which help in post-scan operations necessary for 3D printing.

With its infrared light, users have successfully scanned black objects. However, when scanning highly reflective surfaces it is recommended to use a 3D scanning spray powder.

Revopoint has been found to work well with smaller sized-objects. Many users have been able to scan capture smaller details of table decoration, hair when doing a human scan, and car parts, getting detailed 3D prints with color selection on texture mode.

A user who specializes in restoring ancient sculptures had a great experience when using Revopoint 3D scanner, and was able to fill holes during the meshing process and 3D print sculptures with good details.

Another user was able to scan a small 17cm tall figurine with high accuracy while another scanned a flower girl toy and generated a good 3D print.

Users are pleased that it supports many devices, being able to work with windows, Android and IOS. POP can export a variety of file types such as STL, PLY, or OBJ and easily use them for further refinements on slicer software or directly send them to a 3D printer.

However, the HandyScan App has a challenge on the language translation, users have found its messages hard to understand, though I think this has been fixed with previous updates.

There is actually a new and upcoming release of the Revopoint POP 2 which shows a lot of promise and increased resolution for scans. I’d recommend checking out the POP 2 for your 3D scanning needs.

They give a 14-day money-back guarantee as stated on their website, as well as lifetime customer support.

Check out the Revopoint POP or POP 2 Scanner today.

SOL 3D Scanner

The SOL 3D Scanner is a high-resolution scanner with a 0.1mm accuracy, perfect for scanning objects to 3D print.

It has an operating distance of 100-170mm and uses a combination of white light technology and laser triangulation with a texture feature to accurately scan objects that can be 3D printed.

People who scanned objects under any lighting conditions using the foldable wireframe black hood that fits nicely over the scanner table got good 3D prints.

Better results are obtained by re-scanning objects from different angles to ensure all the geometry and texture are collected for a good print.

After scanning objects editing and scaling is usually important. Adjusting the size of the scan, leveling the scan to create a flat base, and closing the mesh using Meshmixer helps for easier 3D printing.

Also, making the scan hollow helps to reduce materials used during 3D printing. You can your standard slicing software like Cura or Simplify3D to help with making adjustments in orientation, making duplicates, adding support, as well as a raft for better adhesion during printing.

Here is a useful video guide for editing.

SOL can generate print-ready files of varied formats that can be also exported including OBJ, STL, XYZ, DAE, and PLY. These files can also be evaluated and cleaned up using slicer software if necessary.

Scanning using close-mode is a good trick for smaller objects, this is done by moving the scanning head near to the turntable. This increases the number of points and angles scanned resulting in a denser model and accurate measurements for your 3D print.

Check this video for more information.

A user found SOL perfect in scanning older discontinued figurines. The user was able to replicate their design, with a few custom touches and got a good 3D print.

However, some did mention scanned models using the SOL 3D scanner can lack sharper details, and the scanning process to be slow in some cases.

You can find the SOL 3D Scanner on Amazon for 3D scanning.

Shining 3D EinScan-SE

The EinScan-SE is a versatile desktop 3D scanner with an accuracy of 0.1mm and a maximum scan area of up to 700mm cube, considered useful for duplication and making custom parts for objects such as plastic cases using 3D printing.

With the purchase of a discovery pack that adds two additional cameras, this scanner is able to scan colors with fine details that yield better 3D prints.

When using Shining 3D software, adjusting some settings before scanning helps. A balanced camera exposure setting will give you good details for a good 3D print.

Also, using the watertight option in autofill is useful because it closes the model and fills holes. Smooth and sharpen tools also help to re-adjust scanned data for a perfect 3D print.

A user acquired the scanner to digitize silicone dental impressions, and got good 3D print results for use in surgical guides, so it can be used for many applications.

Using fixed-size mode and adjusting the object for the best cross position when scanning medium-sized objects has been found to give better scans and 3D prints.

The scanner can’t scan black, shiny, or transparent objects well, applying a washable white spray or powder is helpful.

Here is a video of a user testing EinScan-SE to 3D print a ‘Bob Ross bobble head’ desk decoration toy with impressive results:

EinScan-SE outputs OBJ, STL, and PLY files which are usable with various 3D printing software.

Most non-technical users such as 3D printing hobbyists can also get good scans and 3D print with more ease and speed than using photogrammetry.

However, Mac users cannot use the EinScan software, and many report that calibration fails and support is non-existent and works best for Windows PCs only.

Get the Shining 3D Einscan SE today.

Matter & Form V2 3D Scanner

The Matter & Form V2 3D Scanner is a compact and completely portable desktop 3D scanner, it has an accuracy of 0.1mm with the precision of dual eye-safe lasers and a dual camera.

With its MFStudio software and Quickscan feature, objects can be scanned in 65 seconds watching them as they are being created, for a fast 3D print.

Check this short +Quickscan video.

This scanner is able to process the object’s geometry relatively fast and has meshing algorithms that create a watertight mesh that is ready to 3D print.

Lighting is by far the most important thing for users to consider. With ambient lighting, its adaptive scanner does not require powder or paste to be applied on objects, making it possible to scan and 3D print many different objects.

One user did use an alternative method of using a light box without a light and a black backdrop to keep the background constant and got great results.

People have found that calibrating the Matter & Form Laser Detection often helps to ensure accuracy and using high-resolution yields perfect 3D prints.

A user reports the Matter & Form scanner to be good at scanning small 3D prints made of ABS or PLA because these materials normally have a glare-free surface. You could use it to create a dimensionally accurate model that fits with an existing 3D print for example.

Another user was able to make scans of several objects with good results and then printed them on 3D Makerbot Mini with good results.

Scanned models can be imported to different 3D printing software such as Blender for easy editing and scaling before 3D printing.

Here is a video showing a Matter & Form Scanner being tested on a variety of sculptures and objects.

Here are some user concerns on the Matter & Form’s 3D scanner:

  • The software does not perform well with complex models and needs multiple scans in different orientations to get a good 3D print.
  • Some users mention it is loud and noisy when scanning.
  • It can be slow to process models and requires technical skills to clean up scans nicely

Get the Matter & Form V2 3D Scanner today.

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