What Should You Know About Buying a 3D Scanner?

by | Feb 21, 2022 | Hardware, Tips and Advice

buy a 3d scanner

Summary. Considering to buy a 3D scanner? Match your needs to the right equipment. 3D scanners offer applications like prototyping, site mapping, and reverse engineering. Weigh options between buying and renting based on frequency of use and budget. Ensure proper training for optimal results.


If you’re looking to buy a 3D scanner, it’s important to match the equipment to your purpose.

3D scanning has now become an essential part of fabrication workflows, both at the start of a project, and for quality control and design enhancement purposes upon completion.

There are numerous functions for a 3D scanner, including:

  • Reverse engineering
  • Measurement
  • Duplication
  • Prototyping
  • Troubleshooting
  • Site mapping.

With such a broad range of applications, how do you decide on the best kind of 3D scanner for you?

Also, in certain circumstances, does it make more sense to rent equipment rather than buy it outright?

What Types of 3D Scanner Are There?

3D scanners can be portable or fixed models.

Stationary and desktop scanners are for both indoor and outdoor use.

They are used in manufacturing and industrial design, in product design and quality control.

Desktop scanners can also scan historical and cultural assets for record-keeping, duplication and for reconstruction.

Desktop models include:

For example, the Artec Ray is a highly accurate long-range scanner, ideal for capturing large objects, including buildings and aircraft.

At the other end of the scale, as its name suggests, the Artec Micro is for precision scanning of much smaller objects, and is well-suited for detailed fabrication and manufacturing.

Portable scanners are for use in a broad variety of locations, and are especially useful for scanning moving objects.

These models include:

The Artec models are perfect for face and body scanning, and for aiding the manufacture of prosthetics and interior components of vehicles.

The Zeiss T-Scan Range is used in quality control processes, product design and reverse engineering.

Relevant: Which 3D scanner is right for my needs?

How Accurate And Versatile Should Your 3D Scanner Be?

Accuracy will vary according to scanner models and the technologies they use.

Higher accuracy will be more expensive, but it may be also essential for your end purpose.

There are various combinations of accuracy and resolution available.

The Artec Micro, for instance, has precision, close-scanning capability, whereas the Artec Ray will maintain high fidelity scanning at distances of up to 110 metres.

Versatility will also be important, depending on what you intend to use your scanner for. The Zeiss Comet has flexible measuring volumes, and can scan different types of surfaces.

Consider, then, these factors when buying a 3D scanner:

  • Accuracy
  • Volume and coverage.

Should You Buy Or Rent A Scanner?

Whether you choose to buy or rent your 3D scanning equipment will very much depend on the volume of your work, the time it will take you, how much control you need over the process, and your budget.

Throughput is an important consideration. If you are intending to integrate 3D scanning more or less permanently into your processes, then buying may well be the best option.

Having an in-house scanning capability also means you have flexibility in terms of the time you allocate to it, especially if it’s going to be a frequent operation.

If, however, 3D scanning is a specialisation that you don’t wish to integrate into your work, or it is likely to be something you only need on occasion, then renting equipment is an alternative option.

Renting also means you can see how the technology fits with your current operation without committing to investing in it long-term.

The other major factor in deciding to buy or rent a 3D scanner is your budget. It is going to be better to choose the kind of 3D scanning equipment that will meet your needs, rather than simply opting for the cheapest on the market.

Alternatively, if you require sophisticated scanning functions then the affordable option might be to rent.

Related: Getting into 3D scanning – contract services and rental

Do You Have The Expertise For 3D Scanning?

Whereas cutting edge 3D scanning equipment is user-friendly, you could benefit from specialist training to ensure you can get the most out of it.

Developing this expertise in-house can provide your business with an additional asset, and gives your employees the opportunity to explore the technology further, finding uses for it beyond your initial purpose.

As well as selling a range of desktop and portable Artec and ZEISS 3D scanners, we rent some models out.

We can also provide expert training for your staff, covering:

  • Artec and ZEISS 3D scanning technology
  • Calibration and metrology.

For more information, please contact us, to discuss what you need in detail.