Do I need a handheld or stationary 3D scanner?

When it comes to choosing between a handheld and stationary 3D scanner it is important to consider the ways in which it will be used to understand which device will best suit your needs. Here we will discuss these two different 3D scanner options. We’ll also discuss their uses and how they can adapt to suit your projects.

You can see Central Scanning’s full range of 3D scanners here – both stationary and handheld.

Stationary 3D Scanner

As the name suggests, a Stationary 3D Scanner is mounted in one place and is fixed to that location. Instead of moving the scanner, you will instead carefully move the object you wish to scan until you have finished capturing all the different angles and positions of the object. Similar to how panoramic photographs work, each scan will merge together at the end to create a ‘full picture’ 3D digital model of your object.

Handheld 3D Scanner

The handheld scanner works in a similar way to its stationary counterpart but acts as more of a video camera. The user must continuously be moving around the object so that it is able to create an overall digital scan of the entire object until every digital detail you desire is captured.

What are the differences between the two?

It may appear that there isn’t much to differentiate these two scanners. There are in fact a number of factors which affect their usability and performance in varying situations.

The most obvious difference would have to be the level of accuracy and the resolution of your final digital image. A stationary scanner will always be able to pick up detail and shape with increased accuracy which will ultimately create a high-resolution image. This is primarily down to how each scanner take a snapshot of the object. A stationary scanner will take many snapshots in one scan and then combine each to create the average shot of that scan. Conversely, the handheld scanner will take a single snapshot and use that image as the shot for the scan.

There are however aspects of the stationary scanner’s design that are arguably more user friendly. An example is how portable it is. If you are looking to scan objects away from a computer, the handheld scanner can provide you with hours of battery life. This allows you to scan wherever and whenever. It can also be hooked up to a tablet on the go, making it even easier to use off site. Stationary scanners would never have this capability as they require a constant stream of power to successfully run.

You may also find that handheld 3D scanners have more capability when scanning hard to reach areas, helping you create a more accurate and detailed overall digital design of your object. It is easy to manoeuvre and can quickly scan large areas of an object. That being said, stationary scanners can also scan large objects by simply moving it forwards or backwards to increase the lenses’ field of view.

These are simply a few of the many factors you may want to consider when choosing between a stationary and handheld 3D scanner. However it is always advisable to consult with an industry professional 3D scanner provider. They can help you better understand each models’ capabilities and how they will operate within the confines of your work.

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In its thirteenth year of trading, Central Scanning Ltd has grown from strength to strength, developing close working relationships with our clients. From teeth-sized objects to complete cars and more, Central Scanning Ltd is able to provide a full service for 3D scanning, digitisation, reverse engineering or inspection as required.

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