Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing

Wondering which is the best 3D scanner for 3D printing? Read our guide for the top 5 recommendations and how they compare to each other.

If you want to reverse engineer a part to 3D print, you have the option of making the part using a 3D modeling software. However, with this option, you need to be really skilled at 3D modeling and get the measurements of the part right, especially if you want a functional item.

Apart from making the model using a 3D software, you can scan the item using a 3D scanner to generate a printable file. Scanning is and easier and faster way of generating files for 3D printing than creating the files using a 3D modeling software.

We conducted a series of tests on five popular 3D scanner models to compare their capabilities and features. We also wanted to see how they are different, and which ones are best suited for creating 3D printing models.

The comparison involves scanners of different price categories and with different scanning principles, i.e. stationary, mobile and combined scanners, both with a laser emitter and with structured illumination. We compared the quality of the scanning using several industrial and artistic sample objects.

Let’s look at these scanners, which are the best 3D scanners for 3D printing.

Best 3D Scanners for 3D Printing

For the test, we chose 5 objects of various shapes, complexity and purpose. These objects would help to reveal the capabilities of 3D scanners.

3D Scanner Object name Dimensions (edit) Photo
RangeVision PRO5M Ring D = 17mm. Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 1
Shining 3D

PRO HD

Sleeve H = 65mm.
D = 90mm.
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 2
Calibry Angel L = 145mm.
H = 130mm.
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 3
KSCAN20 Disk D = 300mm.
W = 20mm.
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 4
Shining hx Shaft L = 260mm.
D = 40mm.
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 5

Let’s consider each scanner in more detail, and touch on its advantages and disadvantages.

RangeVision PRO

Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 6

AVAILABLE ON TOP3DSHOP

The RangeVision PRO5M is the only stationary scanner that made it in our list of the best 3D scanners for 3D printing. This device has 3 scanning zones and, therefore, can cover a wide range of products and scanning in a semi-automatic mode on a turntable.

In the 3rd zone, we scanned a ring. In the in the 2nd zone, we scanned a plug, shaft and angel. In the 1st zone, we scanned a disk. From our test, scanning the objects was flawless and the scans produced were of high quality.

However, one of the disadvantages of this 3D scanner that black and shiny surfaces have to be matted. Also, it is complex to scan products with dimensions of more than 1m.

Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 7

Shining 3D Einscan Pro HD

Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 8

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON | TOP3DSHOP

Shining PRO HD is a portable 3D scanner with a wide range of features and accessories that greatly expand its capabilities. The main advantage of this scanner is that you can easily change its settings during operation.

What does it mean?

When used in classic mode, the device scans fast and is practically not “lost”. When using the Industrial Pack, the scanning process turns into a semi-automatic one. However, in this mode, products with dimensions over 300 mm cannot be scanned as they do not fit into the scanning zone.

For our tests, we carried the scanning in two modes. We used manual mode to scan the disk and shaft, and the Industrial Pack to scan the ring, plug and angel.

The main advantages of Shining PRO HD are fast scanning speed (3,000,000 points/sec – this speed is due to the scanning technology, including structured illumination and a sufficiently large scanning field) and multifunctionality of the device.

The disadvantages include lower scanning accuracy compared to competitors (40μm + – 0.3mm/* m), and the need for matting products. The scanner struggles to capture black and shiny surfaces. Therefore, to scan such items, matting is necessary.

The photo below shows an example of using the Industrial Pack in work.

Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 9

Thor Calibry

Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 10

AVAILABLE ON TOP3DSHOP

Calibry is a handheld wired 3D scanner that is compact and scans at a fast speed of 3,000,000 dots/sec. This speed is due to the scanning technology, i.e., structured illumination. The scanner is easy to operate through the touch screen.

A texture camera is built into the device. Therefore, when scanning, color is captured. The scanner for 3D printing is designed to scan objects with dimensions from 500 mm, for example, to store information about cultural heritage objects and for training.

This device has 3 positioning technologies; by geometry, by texture and by markers. Therefore, you can use the scanner to capture geometry in almost any situation.

In our case, we tested this device by scanning the disk. You can further assess the quality of the scan.

Shining 3D Einscan HX

Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 11

AVAILABLE ON TOP3DSHOP

The Einscan HX 3D scanner is the latest 2020 model from the Shining 3D range of hybrid scanners. This scanner works with two different light sources: blue LED and blue laser. The combination makes the scanner a versatile measuring and digitizing tool.

During operation, the scanner showed its best side. This is confirmed by the measurement results, with the exception of the ring that we scanned. We scanned the items in the “Blue Laser” mode, using marks and matting spray.

The main disadvantage of the Einscan HX 3D scanner is the data collection speed, which is 480,000 points/sec., This is the lower threshold of comfortable scanning. As a result, there are “empty” spaces in the model. Not enough data is gathered for correct construction.

While it is possible to automatically fill the holes, this does not always help. In fact, sometimes, trying to fill in the holes creates a lot of unnecessary geometry. To avoid issues, pay close attention to the speed of the scanner during the scanning procedure.

Scantech KSCAN20

Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 12

AVAILABLE ON TOP3DSHOP

Scantech KSCAN20 is a 3D laser scanner designed for reverse engineering and geometry control. The unit has the best technical features in this list of the best 3D scanners for 3D printing. The accuracy, resolution and functionality of the device are superior to those of the other scanners reviewed. Therefore, we’ll include it as a reference device.

The Scantech KSCAN20 hand-held scanner is an excellent device in terms of price-quality ratio. The unit has a large set of functions and built-in photogrammetry not available in competitor scanners. The scanner can work with objects from 5 cm to several meters.

The accuracy varies depending on the selected mode (R mode: 0.020 mm + 0.035 mm / m; Mode B: 0.010 mm + 0.035 mm / m). Therefore, this device can be used in a wide range of tasks.

However, unlike the other scanners in this review, the Scantech KSCAN20 cannot capture the texture of objects. On the flip side, it “takes” black and shiny surfaces but better than other scanners. This means you don’t have to use matting when scanning dark or shiny objects with it.

Also, the device positions the object in space only by markers.

During operation, the scanner showed a good data collection speed of 650,000 measurements/s. The fast speed is due to the scanning technology with laser lines and a sufficiently large scanning field. Other notable features of the scanner include its high and stable grip, which greatly simplifies the scanning process. Finally, in the “one red line” mode, the scanner can read data from the deepest holes and valleys.

Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 13

Comparison and Test Conclusions

Based on the technical characteristics of the 3D scanners, we chose the Scantech KSCAN20 3D scanner as a reference because of its high accuracy and detail.

Sample: Scantech KSCAN20

Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 14

Scantech KSCAN20 is one of the best 3D scanners and market leaders in its price segment.

The device has a large set of functions, high accuracy and built-in photogrammetry, which partially solves the issue of volumetric accuracy when scanning large-sized items. The volumetric accuracy of its scans made using photogrammetry is 0.02 mm / m. High detail and blue laser mode allows you to scan objects from a few centimeters in size.

The device is suitable for geometry inspection and reverse engineering, as well as for scanning cultural heritage objects.

By the color palette, you can judge the quality of scanning. The colors correspond to the tolerances. If the color reaches red, then the deviation is more than 1 mm. If the color is green, the deviation is less than 0.1 mm. If the color is yellow, the deviation of about 0.1 – 0.3 mm. For blue, the deviation is from -0.1 to -0.3 mm.

1. RangeVision PRO5M

RangeVision PRO5M Scantech KSCAN20
Angel
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 15 Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 16
Deviations
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 17
  • Green = Deviation between -0.1 mm and 0.1 mm
  • Yellow = Deviation between 0.1 mm and 0.3 mm
  • Blue = Deviation between -0.1 mm and -0.3 mm
Stock
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 18 Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 19
Deviations
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 20
  • Green = Deviation between -0.1 mm and 0.1 mm
  • Yellow = Deviation between 0.1 mm and 0.3 mm
  • Blue = Deviation between -0.1 mm and -0.3 mm
  • Red = Deviation more than 1 mm
Disk
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 21 Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 22
Deviations
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 23
  • Green = Deviation between -0.1 mm and 0.1 mm
  • Yellow = Deviation between 0.1 mm and 0.3 mm
  • Blue = Deviation between -0.1 mm and -0.3 mm
  • Red = Deviation more than 1 mm
Ring
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 24 Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 25
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 26
  • Green = Deviation between -0.1 mm and 0.1 mm
  • Yellow = Deviation between 0.1 mm and 0.3 mm
  • Blue = Deviation between -0.1 mm and -0.3 mm
  • Red = Deviation more than 1 mm

During the comparison process, the device handled all the tasks with high accuracy and minimal deviations from the reference value. The scanner is well suited for scanning both small objects (e.g, the ring) and medium objects (e.g., the disc).

Since this scanner is stationary, scanning large-sized objects from 1000 mm is not recommended. If you try to scan larger objects, problems arise with the placement and calibration of the scanner after each movement, which can take about 20 minutes for each reinstallation.

Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 27

2. Shining 3D PRO HD

Shining3D Einscan Pro HD Scantech KSCAN20
Angel
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 28 Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 29
Deviations
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 30
  • Green = Deviation between -0.1 mm and 0.1 mm
  • Yellow = Deviation between 0.1 mm and 0.3 mm
  • Blue = Deviation between -0.1 mm and -0.3 mm
Stock
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 31 Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 32
Deviations
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 33
  • Green = Deviation between -0.1 mm and 0.1 mm
  • Yellow = Deviation between 0.1 mm and 0.3 mm
  • Blue = Deviation between -0.1 mm and -0.3 mm
  • Red = Deviation more than 1 mm
Disk
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 34 Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 35
Deviations
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 36
  • Green = Deviation between -0.1 mm and 0.1 mm
  • Yellow = Deviation between 0.1 mm and 0.3 mm
  • Blue = Deviation between -0.1 mm and -0.3 mm
  • Red = Deviation more than 1 mm
Ring
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 37 Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 38
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 39
  • Green = Deviation between -0.1 mm and 0.1 mm
  • Yellow = Deviation between 0.1 mm and 0.3 mm
  • Blue = Deviation between -0.1 mm and -0.3 mm
  • Red = Deviation more than 1 mm

This scanner is one of the best in its price range. The unit coped well with all the tasks assigned to it. After analyzing the scan data, we confirmed its accuracy.

The scanner produces high detail on small objects but performs a little worse on medium-sized products. We can say that the scanner is suitable for reverse engineering and geometry control on products up to 500 mm in size. Large-sized products can also be scanned, but the accuracy may not be suitable for everyone.

One of the advantages of this scanner is its modular design, i.e., you can connect a “Color Pack” texture camera and a turntable with a tripod for the “Industrial pack Shining 3D” set.

Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 40

3. Thor Calibry

Thor Calibry Scantech KSCAN20
Angel
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 41 Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 42
Deviations
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 43
  • Green = Deviation between -0.1 mm and 0.1 mm
  • Yellow = Deviation between 0.1 mm and 0.3 mm
  • Blue = Deviation between -0.1 mm and -0.3 mm
Stock
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 44 Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 45
Deviations
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 46
  • Green = Deviation between -0.1 mm and 0.1 mm
  • Yellow = Deviation between 0.1 mm and 0.3 mm
  • Blue = Deviation between -0.1 mm and -0.3 mm
  • Red = Deviation more than 1 mm
Disk
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 47 Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 48
Deviations
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 49
  • Green = Deviation between -0.1 mm and 0.1 mm
  • Yellow = Deviation between 0.1 mm and 0.3 mm
  • Blue = Deviation between -0.1 mm and -0.3 mm
  • Red = Deviation more than 1 mm
Sleeve
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 50 Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 51
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 52
  • Green = Deviation between -0.1 mm and 0.1 mm
  • Yellow = Deviation between 0.1 mm and 0.3 mm
  • Blue = Deviation between -0.1 mm and -0.3 mm
  • Red = Deviation more than 1 mm

The device is suitable exclusively for scanning art products, or for transferring the general shape of an object. The scanner will perform well in education and demonstration of 3D scanning technology, as well as for reverse engineering of medium and large objects, provided there are no requirements for metrological accuracy.

Compared to the Scantech KSCAN 20, the scan performance of this scanner is inferior in accuracy and detail.

Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 53

4. Shining 3D HX

Shining3D Einscan HX Scantech KSCAN20
Angel
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 54 Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 55
Deviations
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 56
  • Green = Deviation between -0.1 mm and 0.1 mm
  • Yellow = Deviation between 0.1 mm and 0.3 mm
  • Blue = Deviation between -0.1 mm and -0.3 mm
Stock
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 57 Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 58
Deviations
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 59
  • Green = Deviation between -0.1 mm and 0.1 mm
  • Yellow = Deviation between 0.1 mm and 0.3 mm
  • Blue = Deviation between -0.1 mm and -0.3 mm
  • Red = Deviation more than 1 mm
Disk
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 60 Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 61
Deviations
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 62
  • Green = Deviation between -0.1 mm and 0.1 mm
  • Yellow = Deviation between 0.1 mm and 0.3 mm
  • Blue = Deviation between -0.1 mm and -0.3 mm
  • Red = Deviation more than 1 mm
Ring
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 63 Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 64
Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 65
  • Green = Deviation between -0.1 mm and 0.1 mm
  • Yellow = Deviation between 0.1 mm and 0.3 mm
  • Blue = Deviation between -0.1 mm and -0.3 mm
  • Red = Deviation more than 1 mm

During the test, this scanner pleased with its functionality and set of features, such as laser scanning, structured illumination, the presence of a built-in texture camera. It also showed decent accuracy and resolution.

The device is suitable for scanning and controlling the geometry of objects from 200 mm, giving. For such objects, it produces acceptable detail. The accuracy of scanning large objects rests on the technical characteristics, i.e., the volumetric accuracy, which is 0.06 mm/m. This makes the scanner suitable for geometry inspection and reverse engineering, as well as for scanning art and cultural heritage with color rendering, for example in museum applications.

Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 66

Conclusion

So, which is the best 3D scanner for 3D printing.

Best 3D Scanner for 3D Printing 67

According to our test, the values closest to the standard are achieved by the RangeVision PRO5M 3D scanner. This is the only stationary scanner in this comparison, and it is the closest in technical characteristics to the KSCAN 20.

Models scanned by the RangeVision PRO5M, especially those small in size, come out with good detail. When working with this device, the process is semi-automated, which allows you to work comfortably and quickly.

In second place are two devices at once. These are Shining 3D PRO HD and Shining 3D HX. Both scanners performed well. They can scan large objects and produce sufficient detail. However, the small ring object turned out better with the PRO HD model using the Industrial Pack. The pack increases the cost of the equipment, but also the scanner’s capabilities.

The Shining 3D HX is a versatile device. It has a laser illumination system, structured illumination, and a texture camera on board, which increases its capabilities.

In general, all the 3D scanners above achieve fairly good results when scanning models for 3D printing. However, each of them will be more productive in its specific area of application. Based on these guidelines, you can choose the right 3D scanner for 3D printer for your various needs.

Using the best 3D scanner for 3D printing will allow you to quickly, and with minimal effort, scan objects that can be used anywhere, from design bureaus to museums.

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