Featured image of 3D Scanner for 3D Printer – What to Consider and Which to Buy
Scan to Print

3D Scanner for 3D Printer – What to Consider and Which to Buy

Picture of Farai Mashambanhaka
by Farai Mashambanhaka
Mar 20, 2019

3D printing creates a physical object from a 3D model. 3D scanning creates a 3D model from a physical object. They are the yin to the other's yang. Read on to find the best 3D scanner for your 3D printer so you can close the loop and recreate objects all day long.

3D Scanner for 3D Printer Getting the Right 3D Scanner

Sense 3D scanner taking a 3D scan of a shoe.
Sense 3D scanner taking a 3D scan of a shoe. Source: rjnenggworks

A 3D scanner is a truly amazing device that captures a physical object and converts it into a digital copy. Today, there are many types of 3D scanners out there, some of which are better suited to use with a 3D printer. There are four main types of 3D scanning, which can be categorized as follows:

  • Laser Triangulation: A laser beam is projected onto the object, measuring the deformation of the ray to develop the digital copy.
  • Structured Light: A light beam is shined onto the object, measuring the deformation of the light pattern on the surface of the shape.
  • Photogrammetry: 2D captures are reconstructed in 3D using computational geometry.
  • Contact Based: A probe measures the deformation from several sampling points on a surface.

The ideal 3D scanner for a 3D printer uses either laser triangulation or structured light. These methods produce a digital STL file. This format is important for sending a 3D scan directly to a 3D printer.

There are quite a few 3D scanners for 3D printers. However, to simplify the search and cater to everyone, this article will describe three popular 3D scanners, one each for beginner, intermediate, and professional use.

Nevertheless, for even more scanners, check out our article on the current best 3D scanners out there! Furthermore, a few all-in-one devices feature both 3D scanning and 3D printing, such as the XYZprinting da Vinci 1.0 Pro 3-in-1 and AIO Robotics Zeus.

In the meantime, let’s dive in!

3D Scanner for 3D Printer Beginner 3D Scanner – MakerBot Digitalizer

Makerbot Digitizer 3D scanner.
Makerbot Digitizer 3D scanner. Source: Makerbot

The MakerBot Digitalizer is a good 3D scanner for a 3D printer for hobbyists and beginners who don’t need to make professional scans. The scanner has a rotating platform and can scan 360 degrees. It is also equipped with a 1.3-megapixel sensor. One scan takes 10 to 12 minutes.

The digital copy of a 3D scan is saved in the standard STL format. This makes it easy to import into 3D modeling programs for editing. This makes it an ideal 3D scanner for a 3D printer.

Features:

  • Resolution: 0.5 mm
  • Scan Volume: 203 x 203 mm
  • Technology: Laser triangulation

Who provides it: Makerbot USA

MakerBot Digitizer

Product image of MakerBot Digitizer 3D Scanner

3D Scanner for 3D Printer Intermediate 3D Scanner – Shining 3D EinScan Pro+

Shining 3D Einscan Pro 3D scanner.
Shining 3D Einscan Pro 3D scanner. Source: Einscan

The EinScan Pro+ (an upgrade over the EinScan Pro) is a handheld 3D scanner with high accuracy and fast scanning. Boasting 100 data capture lines and 550,000 points/sec, the Pro+ is often used for consumer and commercial applications.

Rather than having the object rotate on a platform, the object stays in the same place and the 3D scanner is moved around it to capture all angles. The device uses the background for reference. Therefore, it’s important to keep steady while taking the scan and to ensure the object does not move.

The output is the standard STL format, making it highly compatible with 3D printers.

For even greater capabilities, Shining 3D offers the EinScan Pro 2X and Pro 2X Plus.

Features:

  • Resolution: 0.1 mm
  • Scan Volume: 200 X 200 X 200 mm
  • Technology: White light 3D scanning technology

Who provides it: Shining 3D China

Shining 3D EinScan Pro+

Learn more

Product image of Shining 3D EinScan Pro+ 3D Scanner

3D Scanner for 3D Printer Professional Scanner – Zeiss T-Scan CS

Zeiss T Scan 3D scanner.
Zeiss T Scan 3D scanner. Source: Zeiss

The Zeiss T-Scan CS is a professional 3D scanner with a good capability of creating detailed 3D scans. What sets it apart is the volume it can capture. It has a maximum volume of 5 m3. This makes is especially useful in the automotive industry. The device has a rapid scan of 210,000 points/sec.

The Zeiss T-Scan has a modular concept, with a tracking camera, a handheld scanner, and a touch probe all-in-one. This is great for ensuring you get a proper scan of your object. The output file is in the standard STL format.

Features:

  • Resolution: 0.075 mm
  • Scan volume: up to 5 m3
  • Technology: Laser Triangulation

Who provides it: Zeiss 3D Scan

Where to buy: Zeiss

Feature image source: Cnet

Subscribe to updates from All3DP

You are subscribed to updates from All3DP

You can’t subscribe to updates from All3DP. Learn more… Subscribe

You can’t subscribe to updates from All3DP. Learn more…

Recommended for you