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5 Things to Know Before Buying 3D Scanner For Your 3D Printer

Buying a 3D scanner can be a great help in your 3D printing efforts. From scanning everyday items to recreating 3D models of complicated objects, there is so much you can do with a scanner.

But before you go rushing to buy the most expensive scanner in the market, there are a few things to consider. There are many types and price ranges of scanners out there, with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Not everyone needs the most expensive scanner, and not every need can be met by a basic one. You should do your research before investing in a scanner.

So here are the 5 things to know before buying a scanner for your 3D printer.

1: Which Type of Scanner is Best for You?


3D scanners come in two categories: platform scanners and handheld scanners. Platform scanners are easier to use, as the rotating platform takes care of capturing the object at every angle by itself.

In handheld scanners, you have to move the scanner yourself, giving you portability but also requiring more effort. They usually sport better lenses though.

The deciding point is size. How big are the objects you are planning to scan? Small objects can fit on a platform scanner easily, making it the natural choice. On the other hand, if you want to scan something much larger, you are going to need a handheld scanner.

2: Why Do You Need a 3D Scanner?


Before you invest in a 3D scanning machine, know what your purpose for getting it is. Do you want to scan objects and resize them? Or do you plan to modify the 3D models to your liking? For these scenarios, a basic scanner is going to be good enough for you.

But maybe you are looking to scan detailed miniatures. The objects can be small toys and products that you want to replicate. Or it might be a clay figurine that you have labored over throughout the week.

In that case, you are going to want something more precise. Choose a high-end handheld scanner with an excellent scan resolution.

3: What is the Resolution of Your Printer?


Like 3D printers, scanners have a resolution too. The resolution decides the precision at which the object can be printed. This is why it is a good idea to know the resolution of your printer before you buy a scanner for it.

There is no point in wasting money to buy a scanner with better scan resolution only to find that your printer is not capable of creating details that precise.

For most FDM printers, this means that budget 3D scanners tend to be sufficient. You should go for the premium scanning devices only if you use a stereolithography printer.

The best 3D scanners can detect details smaller than 0.1 mm, while the cheapest ones can only manage 2mm.

If you know some 3D modeling, you can make do it with a low-resolution scanner. Use the scanner only to obtain a base model to start working on, and add the fine details by hand. This approach is actually better as it allows you to creatively modify the models to be printed.

4: How to Change the Scale of 3D Models?


Printing replicas of large objects is a common reason why people get scanners. But how do you change the size of the 3D model?

There are two ways to go about this.

The first option is to use the slicing software. Whether you use Cura or Slic3r, you can use a scaling option to print the object smaller or larger than its digital model. It is easy to use and does not modify the 3D model itself.

The second option is to edit the STL file in a modeling application like Blender. This approach has the advantage of changing the model permanently. This also allows you to make other changes if required.

Which option you choose depends on which software you are more comfortable with; the modeling app or the slicer. The volume of prints you are looking to produce is a factor too.

If you just want to print the object in a different size this one time, just use the slicer. On the other hand, when the print is meant for mass production, it is best to modify the model itself to save you time and effort in the long run.

5: Which is the Best 3D Printing Scanner?


With all that we have already discussed, there is probably no one ‘best’ scanner for 3D printing. You might need impeccable scan resolution, or you may be satisfied with the basic digitization of objects.

That said, we can narrow it down somewhat.

First, handheld scanners are almost always the better choice than platform scanners. They used to be more expensive once, but nowadays you can get a good handheld scanner at comparable rates.

Second, scan resolution is almost always higher than print resolution. Even with budget models, you are likely to get a detail level of 0.1mm or even better.

With these two points in mind, all we are looking for is a handheld scanner with decent performance and low cost.

The XYZPrinting handheld 3D scanner is a perfect choice, combining quality and affordability in an easy-to-use device.

In Summary

3D scanners are an incredible tool in the arsenal of any 3D printing enthusiast. Too many hobbyists get turned off by the lack of interesting models online and give up printing.

With a 3D systems scanner though, you can convert any object into a blueprint for your printer. You can duplicate items, scale them up or down, and even change their shapes in a modeling program before printing.

What makes it even better is the seamless compatibility of a scanner with any 3D printer. Since scanners produce STL files, they can work with any brand or type of printer without any issues.

And the best thing? 3D scanners are more affordable than ever before. So what are you waiting for? Get your own scanner and start printing your ideas.

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