Top 10 Best 3D Scanners for Every Budget
You need a 3D file to send to an online 3D printing service or to use on your own 3D printer? Several possibilities are available to you: you can design your own 3D file or get one from the internet, of course, but you can also 3D scan an existing object! We want to help you find your way through the many 3D scanners options, so we’ve combined what we believe are the best ones: from the free photogrammetry smartphone app to the professional 3D scanner, there’s a 3D scanning option for every budget.
Give yourself the one that matches your needs and use the files for 3D printing, but also animation. We have ordered them by price, so you can find one that goes with your budget.
If you’re looking for more available options, we have a 3D scanners guide available for you. This is a revised version, so you have more recent options. To check the guide out, it’s that way.
TO 3D SCAN ON THE GO:
1. Best smartphone app: Autodesk 123D Catch (free)
Autodesk 123D Catch is a free application which uses the principle of photogrammetry. It allows to create a 3D file using photos taken from various angles. You can use it to 3D scan an object, a person or even a landscape. For some applications, if you don’t need perfect accuracy, you don’t actually need dedicated hardware. This app actually provides pretty good details and is simple to use. However, you will need time (at least 30 minutes) for the app to process the images you’ve taken, since it does it all online, and it’s a lot to send from your smartphone.
2. Best DIY 3D scanner: Kinect ($99,99)
The Xbox Kinect is used to enhance gameplay. It was not intended as a 3D scan but, using some easily found DIY guides and a 3rd party software (there are several free options, like ReconstructMe), you can turn it into a 3D scanner. If you are into DIYs, this is an interesting and inexpensive option for 3D scanning.
Resolution: 0.051 mm
3. Best mobile device accessory 3D scanner: Occipital Structure Sensor ($379)
This scanner can be fixed onto your mobile device (it’s best suited for iPad, but it can adapt to other devices). It is light and easy to use, and has very good resolution. It can be used for large shapes (like full body scans) and outdoor scans. You can use it with specific apps that make use of Occipital’s SDK. This improves the scanner’s resolution, and gives you access to specific applications, like the room scanning option. This probably won’t be something you’ll use for 3D printing, but it’s interesting for game designing, for example.
Resolution: Up to 0.5 mm
Precision: Up to 4 mm
4. Best low-cost portable 3D scanner: Cubify ($399)
3D scanners can be quite affordable and easy to use and carry if you choose the low-cost portable version. The Cubify is a very good option for that: it gives a relatively good resolution. However, it’s not sophisticated enough to provide texture scanning: it’s best to use this scanner when you want to print with only one color.
Depth Resolution at 0.5m: 1mm
TO 3D SCAN AT YOUR DESK
5. Best low-cost desktop 3D scanner: Matter and Form ($519)
If you want to go to the next level in terms of quality, you can invest in a desktop 3D scanner. This one is compact, easy to use, and has good resolution, especially considering its cost (it’s not the one to use if you need perfection, but it will do great for educational and demonstration purposes). The scanning process uses laser beams and a rotating platform. It takes about five minutes and captures textures as well.
Capture size: ±0.25mm
6. Best All-in-One 3D Scanner: XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0 ($600)
This low-cost device combines 3D scanner and 3D printer. The quality of the prints is not very high, but the price is very low for a device that combines both uses, which makes it a no-brainer if you are a beginner looking for an affordable scanning and printing option.
TO 3D SCAN FOR THE PROS:
7. Best quality for price portable 3D scanner: Fuel3D Scanify ($1490)
Very simple to use, intuitive, comfortable to hold, this scanner will allow good precision and quality of textures. The only limit is that the capture area is limited: it’s excellent for small objects, but is not designed for a full body scan, for example.
Precision: Up to 0.3 mm
8. Best quality for price desktop 3D scanner: DAVID Laserscanner – SLS3 ($3995)
This scanner uses a technology different from that of most 3D scanners: instead of a dual laser scanning system, it relies on lighting and a camera system to quickly capture scans, with great speed and a very high level of detail, down to 0.06 millimeters! The scanner comes with the DAVID Pro Edition 3 software, which edits OBJ, STL and PLY model files that can then be exported to other software for further processing.
Precision:0.5% of object size
9. Best professional desktop 3D scanner: Solutionix Rexcan 4 ($79 900)
This one is a professional 3D scanner, and with its price comes a far higher image quality. The Solutionix Rexcan benefits from a twin camera for more precision. It uses phase-shifting optical triangulation technology and high resolution twin CCD cameras to achieve high accuracy data. It can be used to scan larger objects by enhancing its performance with a photogrammetry system. It can also be combined with an automated turntable capable of handling up to 50 kg.
Price: $79 900
Resolution: 0.003 mm
10. Best professional portable 3D scanner: MetraSCAN 750 ($50 000 – $100 000)
The Creaform MetraSCAN 750 is a complete professional, industrial solution for accurate 3D scanning. It is light, accurate, fast, and scans with great accuracy, any type of material, with any type of texture.
Price: $79 900
Resolution: 0.050 mm
Precision: Up to 0.030 mm
We hope this was helpful and you found the 3D scanning solution that is right for your application and your budget! If you want to learn more about photogrammetry, you can read this article.
Happy 3D scanning!