Modern technologies open up almost unlimited possibilities for us in three-dimensional modeling, therefore it will hardly be possible to find a person who would wonder what a 3D scanner is.

What is laser scanning and what are the types of laser scanners?

The range of our online store in this category of products can rightfully be considered one of the richest in all of Russia. It is represented by compact amateur and professional models designed to solve many household and industrial issues.

 Principle of operation

To answer the question of what a 3d scanner is, it is necessary to understand the principle of operation of the equipment in this segment. The simplest definition of what can be done with a 3D scanner is the digitization of three-dimensional objects with the parallel creation of a polygonal model. You can scan as real objects with exact reproduction of their geometry, as well as use photos – most modern models with great accuracy convert a 2D image into a full-fledged 3D layout.

A 3D scanner is based on stereo vision. Most devices are equipped with two cameras that determine the coordinates of each point of the future point cloud. The resulting image is further processed using a number of computer programs, and the illumination used in the scanning process makes the future model more accurate and reliable.

The work is carried out according to the following scheme:

  • the scanner is installed on the scanning point. If objects are scanned with reference to the terrain, the coordinates of the device installation point must be known;
  • the scanner is calibrated to determine the horizontal plane;
  • distances are measured to points on the surface of an object in automatic mode in the area of ​​the device;
  • then the laser wireless 3d scanner is transferred to a new point and the procedure is repeated;
  • after scanning, the resulting point cloud is transferred to a specialized program for processing information and obtaining the required image model.

The advantages of 3D scanners include:

  • digitization accuracy;
  • efficiency in building a model;
  • safety;
  • mobility.

 Types and possibilities

The main scope of 3D scanners is the creation of the most accurate 3D models for further refinement using specialized software and subsequent printing using three-dimensional printers.

The main classification distinguishes the following types of 3D scanners – contact and non-contact. Devices of the first type must be in direct contact with the object under study, equipment of the second type is considered safer due to the fact that scanning is carried out at a certain distance from the object.

3D scanners of the non-contact segment, in turn, are divided into active ones, which carry out the scanning process under the influence of a laser beam generated by them or directional structured light, and passive ones, which analyze an object using visible light.

Consider the main types and their features.

By scanning method

  1. Contact. Such scanners need to “touch” the object to obtain information. This happens due to the control of a special manipulator. The speed depends on the operator.
  2. Contactless. Direct contact with the surface is not required.
  3. Active. The device sends a wave to the scanned area. Most often a laser beam or a beam of artificial light. The reflected wave is fixed by the scanner sensors and converted into coordinates.
  4. Passive. The formation of laser beams or any other waves is not observed. The basis is the visible spectrum, which surrounds us everywhere.

By accuracy

  1. High precision. Minimum errors and maximum detail of the object – the accuracy of the study is up to 10 microns.
  2. General application. Middle class (up to 30 microns). They are considered universal, can be used in domestic conditions, differ in affordable cost.
  3. Low precision. Structured light 3D scanning that don’t need a high level of detail. They are used, for example, in construction when digitizing buildings or in landscape design when creating a project.

By the size of the scanned objects

3d scanner for small objects. Jewelry, miniature parts, molds, etc.

For medium objects. Separate industrial mechanisms, man, car, sculptures, etc.

3D Scanners for a large objects. Large machines, industrial machines, buildings, construction products, large areas, etc.

By scope

They are used almost everywhere, but among the most popular areas stand out:

  • engineering tasks;
  • art scanning, museums;
  • medicine, human body;
  • dentistry;
  • construction, design of large-sized objects
  • etc.

By level of mobility

Manual. Universal option. Suitable for both home use and industrial digitization.

Stationary. They are used to scan small objects that are placed on a special platform.

Producing countries

Great success in the development of equipment for three-dimensional scanning has been achieved by the USA, Germany, Japan, and China. The choice in today’s market is vast: models of all kinds, basic design or with functional innovations, high or low processing speed are offered. It all depends on the goals you are pursuing.

3d scanning of objects

  1. Scanning small, static objects is the most common task for 3D scanning.
  2. Jewelry: copies of rings, pendants, brooches, coins made of precious metals and/or stones. It is necessary to pass the form of the object. A high precision implementation is not required. However, due to its small size, a turntable and high-resolution cameras are required for greater convenience and quality of work.
  3. Highly artistic products: bas-reliefs, three-dimensional icons, plaster sculptures, wood carvings. Not demanding on micron accuracy, only form transfer is needed. Most types of scanners are suitable for this task.
  4. Medical Instruments: Despite the small size of objects, high accuracy is often required in scanning critical parts such as the shape and inclination of the teeth of a surgical knife.
  5. Industrial parts: they need to realize high precision, so high-precision 3D scanners are used to repeat their profile. This is followed by the mandatory processing of the result, building a tree and exporting the model to the cad-system.
  6. Cars: When scanning a car, you need to use a professional scanner that can work with various surfaces and stitch together a large number of scans, since scanning a car will involve moving the scanner around the car from all sides, including top and bottom.

3d human scan

From a 3D scanner for scanning a person, the following operating conditions are required:

1. High scanning speed, since it is difficult for a person to stand still for a long time. Ideally, this is a portable, light weight 3d laser handheld scanner for photogrammetry.

2. Safety technology for the eyes.

The accuracy of the scanner does not play a big role, but the perception and reproduction of color will be an advantage.

3d scanner for buildings, streets, premises

To perform such tasks, specialized architectural 3D scanners are used, which are divided into 2 types – facade and interior.

To build the appearance of buildings, streets, fences, large monuments, facade laser scanners are used that can recognize objects at long distances.

Interior scanners have a lower range than exterior scanners, but they can capture more detail and build models with higher accuracy. They are used to scan enclosed spaces, such as rooms. The main task of such scanners is to convey the shape and relative position of interior items, so the accuracy is not very high.

3d scanning of the scene of an accident: Architectural 3D scanners can also be used to reconstruct and build the scene of an accident or other accident. Criminologists use engineered models to virtualize the scene.

3d scanning of the foot for the manufacture of orthopedic insoles

The technologies of 3d scanning of the foot, modeling of the insole and its 3D printing already exist and are actively used.

3D Orthotics: We can scan a patient’s leg in five minutes. We process the scanned model, create an insole design in another five minutes. And it takes another three minutes to prepare the digital model for printing. Most of this work is automated thanks to the cloud environment we have developed.

Special scanners are used for volumetric scanning of the foot, which are part of the complex, including for the manufacture of insoles.

3d scanning for prosthetics

A digital impression of the teeth is made using a special scanner.

3D dental scanning is used in complex dental prosthetics to create dental crowns and prostheses of increased comfort, as well as in the manufacture of individualized brackets to speed up data transfer and reduce the waiting time for the bracket system.


Therefore, if you want to choose the best option for equipment, you should first decide on the scope of its application. If the key purpose of the scanner for you is to capture the interior of buildings or restore work with high accuracy, phase-type equipment with a range of 50 m is best for you. Anyway, you will measure the room from several points due to the presence of corners, columns, communications. In the same way, it makes no sense to overpay for a range of 1 km if your scope of laser technology is usually limited to a construction site and a range of 100-200 m is enough with a margin.

In any case, now you have an idea of ​​how a 3D scanner works, what it is, and what parameters you should pay attention to first.


Have experience in writing for big hi-tech magazines. I love new technologies and I always want to be on the cutting edge. That’s why I write about them – to share my experience with other people who are interested in this stuff like me.

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