Exploring the Best Affordable 3D Scanners of 2023


3D scanning is often used in the additive manufacturing (AM) sector to design a 3D model more easily than via modeling software. It captures data that is then transformed into a 3D model that can then be 3D printed. 3D scanners use one of two main technologies – laser triangulation and structured light – and solutions offer various levels of resolution, resulting in differing levels of preciseness for fine details. Many affordable solutions are available today (compared to professional scanners which are much more expensive), with many different cheap but still effective solutions allowing users to bring their projects to life. Whether a maker, a teacher or an industry leader, one of these low cost 3D scanners is bound to suit your needs! Easy to handle and transport, we have chosen some of the top 3D scanners that are available for under $8,000 (€7,000), sorted by increasing price.

3D Scanner 2.0 from XYZprinting

Taiwanese manufacturer, XYZprinting, currently offers 5 scanners, though today we will focus on one of their more low cost 3D scanners, the portable and high-resolution 3D Scanner 2.0. With a wider scanning range than its younger sibling the 1.0 A, the scanner can scan objects that are 5 x 5 x 5 ~ 100 x 100 x 200 cm using an Intel® RealSense™ Camera. The scan resolution is also superior to the 1.0A, between 0.2 and 1.5 mm, with an operating range ranging from 25 to 60 cm. The manufacturer also provides XYZScan Handy, a scanning and post-editing software to edit your models after scanning. The product is lightweight, measuring 41 x 157 x 61 mm, with a weight of 238 g. It is available from €199 or $316.

Creality CR-Scan Ferret

You might be familiar with Creality, a manufacturer well-known for their user-friendly and affordable 3D printers. They’ve also ventured into creating an array of 3D scanners, some of which are extremely portable and straightforward to operate. Take, for example, the CR-Scan Ferret, a lightweight 3D scanner from Creality’s product line, weighing in at a mere 105 grams. This handy device provides a 0.1 mm precision and a 3D resolution of up to 0.16 mm. Its scanning range spans to 560 x 820 mm, allowing for the scanning of medium to large-sized objects. Retailing at only $349, the CR-Scan Ferret is a highly functional 3D scanner, accommodating STL, OBJ, and PLY files for 3D printing.

The Mole 3D Low Cost Scanner From 3DMakerPro

3DMakerPro, a subsidiary of the well-established Shenzhen Jimuyida Technology Co., Ltd, has earned a reputation for pioneering advanced, yet affordable technology within the 3D scanner market. In this review of cost-effective 3D scanners, our attention draws towards their MOLE 3D scanner. This compact handheld device boasts an astounding accuracy and resolution of 0.05 mm and 0.1 mm respectively. A notable feature includes its NIR light, which facilitates facial scanning without causing discomfort for the eyes of the scanned subject. Furthermore, this NIR light enables the MOLE 3D scanner to perform in darkness without significant difficulties. Notably, this mini scanner can scan textures and colors in great detail, even distinguishing between colors and fabrics of a scanned shoe. Lastly, its comfortable grip and stable design grants you the ability to perform elongated scanning sessions without fatigue and discrepancies due to arm movements or tremors. This impressive gadget is available at a starting price of $649.

POP 3 3D Scanner From Revopoint

Revopoint is a Chinese company that specializes in creating high-precision 3D scanners at cost-effective prices. The POP 3 is one of their newest and top selling low-budget 3D scanners. This portable, rotatable, economically priced 3D scanner makes use of a class 1 infrared structured light, double depth camera, and complex algorithms to generate detailed 3D models. Expanding on this, POP 3 comes fitted with an IMU, contains four infrared LEDs for enhanced marker tracking, possesses an 18 fps scan speed, has an accuracy of 0.05 mm, even in color, improved connectivity and a more user-friendly design over prior models. It is able to connect through USB or Wi-Fi to your computer or phone and is compatible with Windows, Android, macOS, and iOS. The cost varies starting at $599.00 for the basic version, increasing to $800 for the advanced one. Discover more about it in the following video that contains extra details along with a tutorial for set-up!

Structure Sensor Pro Medical-Grade, Economically priced 3D Scanner

The Structure Sensor solution adds precise, medical-grade 3D vision to your iPad, enabling 3D scanning along with various other functions. The only gear needed for this economical 3D scanner solution to function is a link to a compatible iPad, post which, once you have downloaded the Skanect Pro application, it will start working immediately. The latest model of this device is smaller than the previous, measuring 109mm x 18mm x 24mm, and weighs around 65g. It is advised to use this device on a scanning range of between 0.3m to 5m, while it offers a depth resolution of 1280 x 960. Some additional features of this device include indoor and outdoor mapping, a range of medical scanning apps as well as a few structure demo programs. The Structure Sensor Pro retails between $875 and $995, making it pricier than its predecessor, but it still remains a high-quality, lightweight peripheral device priced under $1k.

Photo Credits: Structure

The Einstar Low Cost 3D Scanner From SHINING 3D

When it comes to low cost 3D scanners, we would be remiss not to mention the solutions from SHINING 3D. Since 2004, the Chinese manufacturer has been known for its high-precision and accessible 3D digital products and previously we have included the EINSCAN and EINSCAN H on this list. Now, we want to draw attention to one of the newer solutions from the company, the Einstar 3D scanner, available from $959. This affordable handheld (weighing only 500g) solution has been put forth as a scanner that “makes high-quality data available to everyone.” It uses infrared VCSEL structured light and has a has a scan speed of 980,000points/s, up to 14FPS with a depth of field of 160-1400 mm. Additionally it is eye-safe under all conditions of normal use.

The Matter and Form 3D Scanner V2

The Matter and Form 3D Scanner V2 is a sophisticated desktop 3D scanning solution presented by Matter & Form, a company established in 2013. The firm is committed to building and providing affordable, high-resolution 3D scanners. The model V2 perfectly portrays their intention as this 3D scanner is priced from $750. It is able to reproduce superior scans noting an accuracy as acute as 0.1 mm. This lightweight device, weighing 1.71 kilograms, is just 35.5 cm tall and 21 cm wide. Its slim and foldable design ensures it occupies minimal desk space. The V2 permits scanning of objects peaking at a height of 25 cm and a diameter of 18 cm. Files from both Windows and Mac are compatible, and there are multiple exporting choices for 3D printing.

SOL 3D Scanner Offered by Scan Dimension

Established in Denmark over three decades ago, Scan Dimension is a global player revered for creating consumer-demanded products. Drawing from their extensive expertise, their scanners are an ideal fit for any user. One of their latest economical 3D scanning inventions is the SOL PRO 3D, an upgrade of the earlier model SOL 3D. The prime utilizations of this device are inspection, modeling, and 3D printing. The scanner boasts an admirable accuracy of 0.05 millimeters ensuring excellent quality. The latest software, SOL PRO creator 2.0, makes it user-friendly and efficient. A distinguishing feature is the ‘turbo’ mode allowing rapid scanning without sacrificing accuracy. Even more impressive is the device’s consistent accuracy on dark surfaces or inadequately lit conditions. The SOL PRO 3D Scanner is available for $1,899.00.

Calibry, Affordable 3D Scanner From Thor3D

Thor3D, a Russian company, produces the Calibry portable 3D scanner. The scanner utilizes structured light technology and includes a touch screen which allows users to monitor the scanning process in real time. The Calibry displays a high level of accuracy, down to 0.1 mm, and can scan objects ranging from 30 cm to 10 meters in length. The scanner is equipped to effectively handle black and glossy surfaces, providing exports in stl, obj, ply or WRML formats. The fast and lightweight Calibry is capable of scanning up to 3 million points per second and weighs only 900 grams. It can be purchased from $5,790.

Polyga Compact S1 3D Scanner

The Polyga Compact S1 stands as an affordable professional desktop 3D scanner with dimensions of 58 x 270 x 158 mm. It comes with two 2.0 megapixel cameras available in both monochrome and color versions. Accompanying the Compact S1 is the FlexScan3D software which aids in 3D capture and post-processing, incorporating innovative post-processing and analysis functions along with rapid data acquisition. The standard configuration of the Compact S1 has a field view varying from 100 x 80 – 120 x 105 mm, while the larger configuration (S1 Wide) ranges from 155 x 135 – 245 x 210 mm. The point-to-point distance in the standard configuration is 0.085 mm and is 0.150 mm in the large configuration (S1 Wide). The Polyga’s Compact S1 3D scanner starts at a price of $5,999.

Eva Lite Low-Cost 3D Scanner From Artec 3D

Artec 3D, based in Luxembourg, offers the Eva Lite as its cheapest option for 3D scanning. This professional scanner is specialized in the digitization of complex geometries, such as the human body, and is therefore increasingly used in the medical field. It works on the basis of structured light technology and, although it does not have the ability to capture colors and textures like most scanners of the brand, it has an accuracy of 0.5 mm and great functionality for educational and professional uses. Artec 3D even includes special pricing for educational packages, which includes a bundle of 20 licenses of their Artec Studio software. Artec Studio is a powerful tool for an optimized 3D scanning process. This software is able to perform, assemble and repair 3D scans. The Eva Lite is currently for sale for €6,700 (about $7310) and comes with a 2-year warranty.

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