Today’s prevailing 3D scanners can be classified into two distinct groups, structured light scanners and laser scanners.
Each comes with several models and brands, but all of which practically covers your different 3D scanning requirements. When it comes to matters concerning applications, capabilities, and costs, anticipate these pieces of machines to vary considerably.
So under what criteria do we need to look into so we will not have a hard time in identifying the right kind 3D scanner to have and be assured that it will serve our needs and receive more value?
Besides budget, you need to know exactly what applications you will implement 3D scanning with. You also need to know what your specific application requirements are, that is in terms of speed, accuracy, lighting conditions, safety, and finally (very important, too) is if the object you need to scan is moving or stationary.
We will try to delve into each one of these criterias, compare notes as to how the two above mentioned 3D scanning machine categories would fit into anyone of them.
Compared to a laser-technology based scanner, structured light type of machines are likely to offer you with a higher level of accuracy. Normally, laser scanners will scan your object only just one time and this happens after the machine’s laser beam has passed over the object you are trying to illuminate. The scan will be carried out by stretching a 1-dimensional line towards becoming a 2-dimensional region.
This is the underlying reason why you can’t be fully satisfied with laser scanners in as far as the level of accuracy is concerned. With structured light scanners, the subject material or object you are working on will be scanned several times, making use of changing patterns in phase and width.
This allows for the careful evaluation of the object’s shape during each pass of the scanner. With this multiple scan readings, the machine is rendered to deliver a greater level of accuracy. And because of the repeatability of the readings, the results are rendered to become far more accurate.
Time is among the most valuable resources of any business organization nowadays, especially now that the highlight of technological developments are happening at such a dizzying pace. Scanning speed is a criterion that we can never get away with if we’re trying to look or shop for a 3-dimensional scanner.
One would conveniently assert that laser scanners usually come with an inherent advantage with respect to speed since they take only a single sweep which is in complete contrast to the structured light scanners that need to do multiple.
Nevertheless, it is such a relief to know that structured light scanners have undergone a lot of enhancements over the years. By integrating faster processors and state-of-the-art cameras, these machines are now capable of completing a scan with over 1,000,000 points in just a fraction of a second.
Therefore, with respect to speed, there is no possible way that one can make a plausible assertion a particular type of scanner would be far more superior than another. Checking out speed is important with regard to the model technical specifications you are keen on acquiring.
Safety is also important and must not be put behind. There is no reason to worry about this aspect when it comes to structured light scanners because the majority of them are utilizing LED illumination, with blue or white light. This feature though, consequently, works to the advantage of the machine operator because it doesn’t bring along any kind of safety issues at all.
On the other hand, laser scanners focus energy and light intensity in a very small space. This presents an inherent issue on safety, mainly for the eyes and will be highly dependent on which classification they fall into. Higher laser power will elevate a scanner’s performance in environmental or natural lighting but may run the risks of further increasing safety concerns.
Laser scanners are more practical to use when the subject you need to work on is on the move or in action. It also makes sense to use it when you are required to perform in external lighting conditions.
As for structured light scanners, they are indeed far more superior when it comes to safety and precision. The one notable feature that makes the latest models stand out today is their significant speed improvements.