The 3D printing industry is helping to grow the market for 3D scanners, especially with the introduction of a number of low cost scanners. Are these scanners an alternative to more professional versions for your application?
How will the introduction of low cost 3D scanners affect your design process? For more than 40 years, 3D scanners were traditionally high-priced tools targeted at measurement/metrology, quality inspection, and reverse engineering applications. While often viewed as on the high side, the price of these units reflects the accuracy, robustness, and capabilities of these devices.
The emergence of the 3D printing industry, though, has created new applications—in particular, that of quickly capturing data about an object for eventual 3D printing or additive manufacturing. This new application does not necessarily need the capabilities of the professional 3D scanners, so lower cost versions are coming into the market. In addition, for both professional and consumer targeted scanners, developers of the software that manages the gathered data are adding more capability and functions; focusing on ease of use.