As with every other product, every 3D print enthusiast looks for a good 3D scanner. Hosts Tom and Tracy Hazzard are not really the kind of designers that use 3D scanning, which is why they had to go out and find the answers for you on this one. There are so many to choose from and so many price points right now. Tune in to today’s show so they can point you to the right direction where you can get an entry level 3D scanner at about $149 and up. It really depends on what you plan to scan – after all it is always about the what!
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What’s A Good 3D Scanner?
This is scanning week.
We decided we didn’t know anything about scanning.
We don’t do it very much, but we know a lot of readers out there who are involved in 3D printing have an interest in it and maybe a need for it.
Especially when we saw The UPS Store and they had got it in. They felt that there was a large customer base that would want this service. It’s not a part of our process because we create an original design. We don’t have a lot of firsthand experience so we thought we’d get some.
This episode’s question is, “What is a good 3D scanner? What makes a good 3D scanner?” Let’s talk about the two main types. There’s this desktop scanner, a device you sit on your table or desktop. It has a turntable on it where you put an object on it. It spins and scans it for you.
My understanding is they’re pricey but they have their own lighting a lot of times and 360-degree scanning of whatever the object is. Keep in mind, it’s only the outside.
They’re sending an infrared light map onto the object and reading it back. It is like a radar reads things back to the device. We experienced and looked into more about scanning larger objects that you would like having yourself scanned or some other larger object that won’t fit on the turntable.
We thought it’d be fun to have mini-mes or mini-Hazz designs.
The place that we went to use structure from Occipital. This was a device that attaches to your iPad.
It was low budget and low equipment. It was easy and low entry to get into if you’re interested in it.
It was reasonable. The great thing about it is it uses its own infrared lightmap grid that it puts on the object and reads it back. It also uses the iPad camera to take photos to get the color information of the object it was scanning.
It did both the 3D map, it was a topographical map and then it also had the color information. The interesting part about it was when we looked at the two scans and you looked at the map, that looked like junk to me. It looked terrible.
The map was pretty low-res. They said it had a tolerance of a less than a millimeter, but still if you look at the grayscale object, it didn’t have a whole lot of detail.
It had no facial features. Nothing’s showed up until you overlay the color map. All of a sudden, “That looks like a person. That looks like Tom.” That’s interesting that the color information is critical to it, which makes it not viable if you’re going to print it out on your FFF printer. It doesn’t have good information. It’s not interesting. Maybe doing the scan of parts or things like that have some value in the FFF world, but we didn’t go out and experience that one.
As with any new tool or function within this space, scanning in and of itself is a big world and there are a lot of different products out there. There seem to be some good tools out there that are pretty reasonable.
About $150 seemed average for the Occipital. For the actual little thing itself, some of them were out there for $150. You still need an iPad and some other things.
You may need software depending on what you’re going to do with that scan when you’re done.
If you’re interested in it, you should get one and try it out. See what you think about it. Get yourself scanned and try it out. That was a low budget thing for us. That was $100 for each person to get scanned.
Going and talking to people that are doing it and going to a service bureau that has that feature would help a lot. If you’re going to buy one, buy one with a 30-day return policy. In case it doesn’t meet your needs, make sure you can return it.
You might need longer than 30 days because editing the scans took the longest part of everything. Just because you have a scanner, it doesn’t mean that you’re going to get good results out of it that you can use. If you want to make sure that you both test the equipment and then test the results, you might want to give yourself enough time.
You need a lot of time. It’s not like, “I’m going to scan it and I’m going to put this file into the 3D printer and print it.” It’s not that simple. I hope that helps. It’s a complicated area that’s hard to address in a quick Ask Us. Hopefully, this points you in the right direction and gives you some things to look into.
We’d be happy to have a follow-up to this little Ask Us with some new information because we’re not the scanning experts. It’s more of 3D printing for us.
Thanks for reading.
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