Overview of 3D optical scanners: technology, manufacturers, models

Today we will talk with you about modern optical 3D scanners – high-tech devices that have found their active application in many fields – medicine, science, education, and others.


Taken from the site einscan.com

Modern 3D scanners represent high-tech devices, the main purpose of which is the creation of three-dimensional models of various kinds of physical objects. Today we will talk with you about optical-type scanners, which are used in many professional fields and have many unique features. So, let’s begin!

Principle of operation

Taken from the site top3dshop.ru

The principle of operation of optical 3D scanners is simple, the scanning process consists in highlighting objects with the structured light created by the projector and shooting reflected light from certain angles. The object to be scanned is illuminated by a light strip or pattern – a reference monochrome pattern. By processing the reflected signal and calculating the location of points on its surface, based on the difference between the projected and the reflected image, the computer receives information for building a 3D model.

Taken from the site top3dshop.ru

All scanners of the optical type are divided into manual, desktop and floor. Some models are equipped with a color scan function.

Advantages and disadvantages

Taken from the site artec3d.com

Many optical 3D scanners allow you to receive data not only about the location of points, but also about their colors, which compares favorably with laser 3D scanners.

Information about colors is very important, sometimes color changes allow you to diagnose deviations in the properties of the part. It is also necessary for the subsequent reconstruction of the appearance of the object, which is critical if it is not a technical detail, but a historical object or an object of art.

Taken from the site artec3d.com

It is difficult to use optical scanners on a tripod to study large objects, such as vehicles and large parts in mechanical engineering. As a rule, hand-held scanners and tags are used for this purpose – marking stickers. The latter are small black and white stickers that are placed on an object surface in order to create fulcrum. A large object is scanned in parts, and then these individual parts are stitched into a solid three-dimensional model.

Another drawback of “optics” is that it does not cope well with creating copies of black and shiny objects. However, this problem can be solved in 90% of cases by using a special spray that creates a matte finish.

In terms of price, optical equipment wins, since its purchase is not associated with such large expenses as when buying laser counterparts.

Popular manufacturers

Shining 3D

Taken from the site shining3d.com

Currently, there are optical 3D scanners from several manufacturers on sale. The most popular equipment is the company Shining 3D, which produces models of entry-level and professional levels. The first category includes such well-known devices as Einscan-se and Einscan-spand in the second – Pro 2x with Solid Edge and Pro 2x plus with Solid Edge. A small segment of devices manufactured by the manufacturer is adapted for the field of dentistry – models are offered to specialists in this field AutoScan DS-EX and AutoScan DS-EX Pro.

Shining 3D EinScan-SE and Shining 3D EinScan-SP

Taken from the site top3dshop.ru

These models belong to the initial category of desktop three-dimensional scanners and are equipped with a turntable. Such devices can work in auto mode, which makes them indispensable for ordinary users: museum employees, students, etc. The scanner device includes two cameras at once. The backlight of the object emitted by the device is completely safe for sight.

Shining 3D Einscan Pro 2x with Solid Edge and Shining 3D Einscan Pro 2x plus with Solid Edge

Taken from the site top3dshop.ru

Shining 3D Einscan Pro 2x and Einscan Pro 2x plus are professional manual models with a high level of detail and scanning accuracy. Together with the devices, the developer delivers Solid Edge software, the competent use of which provides the user with almost unlimited possibilities. Scanners capable of working in several modes can also be equipped with modules Color pack and Industrial pack

Shining 3D AutoScan DS-EX and Shining 3D AutoScan DS-EX Pro

Taken from the site top3dshop.ru

The models are special developments for the dental field and are designed to solve problems in the diagnosis, treatment and prosthetics of teeth. Able to work with color and in monochrome mode.


Taken from the site rangevision.com

RangeVision produces 3D scanners, both entry-level and professional. Consider the most popular models of this Russian technology.

RangeVision Spectrum and RangeVision NEO

Taken from the site top3dshop.ru

These models are low-cost professional entry-level 3D scanners. Devices are able to work in automatic mode and are easy to assemble and calibrate. Thanks to the convenient interface, even inexperienced employees will be able to understand the scanner setup and management.

In the design of the models, the developers integrated 3.1 MP cameras and the ability to use backlight. The scanner perfectly captures complex subject forms and does not create problems when transmitting colors.

RangeVision PRO Base and RangeVision PRO

Taken from the site top3dshop.ru

Designed for professionals, Russian 3D scanners are much cheaper than their foreign counterparts. The devices are adapted for use in a wide variety of fields – from industry to jewelry.


Taken from creaform3d.com

The main purpose of Creaform is industrial applications. The equipment of this Canadian manufacturer is very popular with large energy corporations and airlines.

Creaform academia

Taken from the site top3dshop.ru

Creaform Academia is a hand-held 3D scanner designed specifically for the education industry. The device weighs 850 g. The capture area is 380 x 380 mm. Of the minuses of Creaform Academia, it is possible to note the lack of the ability to make scans in color, but this drawback is not critical for the educational sector.

Creaform peel 3D

Photo source: peel-3d.com

This is a joint project of Creaform and Ametek – convenient hand-held scanners for amateurs and novice professionals, sold under the separate brand name “peel 3D”.

Photo source: peel-3d.com

The emphasis in their development is given to ergonomics, as well as to the convenience and simplification of working with them, while maintaining decent scanning quality.

Photo source: peel-3d.com

The software delivered with peel 3D scanners provides all the basic editing and export functions in the most intuitive interface.


Taken from 3d-scantech.com

ScanTech models appeared on the world market back in 2011. Devices released by this company have found their application in many well-known enterprises, including giants like Nissan and Siemens.

ScanTech Ireal 2S and ScanTech Ireal 2E

A fairly popular blue light scanner in the scientific world. The device is reliable, high precision. Both ScanTech Ireal 2 scanners use the Blue light LED technology, which ensures high quality scanning. Modification iReal 2S allows you to perform 3D scanning also in the infrared range and with the capture of color information.

Both devices are ergonomic, easy to operate and light in weight.


Taken from the site thor3dscanner.com

The Russian company Thor3D recently became known thanks to such 3D scanner models as Calibry and Drake.


It is a model for working with objects with a length of 20 cm to 10 m. The scanner is equipped with a convenient touch screen for control. Calibry is the most “friendly” 3D scanner for beginners.


A professional mobile model that scans with an accuracy of 200 microns, optimized for working with construction and industrial parts of large sizes. The device can be recommended for creating models of living people. The scanner is equipped with a set of three pairs of lenses with different focal lengths.

Main applications

The science

Taken from the site artec3d.com

Swansea experts were able to adapt the Artec Eva scanner to monitor marine life and learn about their way of life in the natural environment. By creating special individual tags, scientists were able to gain complete control over the behavior of experimental samples without causing them physical discomfort.

Museum and art

Using the Shining 3D Pro 2X Plus model can provide the highest quality digitization of the object with the most accurate texture transfer. For testing, specialists chose multicolor canvases and a vase decorated with complex ornaments.

The scanner did an excellent job and clearly proved the fact that it can be safely used to catalog museum exhibits, as well as produce souvenirs.

Photo source: einscan.com

Reverse engineering

It took exactly 10 minutes to digitize the bottom of the Volvo XC90. An Artec Leo optical three-dimensional scanner was used for scanning – with this device, the researcher freely moved under the car and was not afraid to get entangled in numerous wires.


Taken from the site top3dshop.ru

Such simple and not time-consuming for their development models, such as, for example, XYZPrinting 3D Hand Scanner 2.0 and 3D Systems Sense 2 will be an excellent solution for learning in schools and technical schools. The capabilities of these devices are more than enough to familiarize themselves with the specifics of the scanning process.

Taken from the site rangevision.com

More advanced models (for example, from RangeVision) are used for research work in many universities. So, at a university in Vienna, using a 3D scanner, a unique template was made for professional cutting of pork brains. Specialists scanned the material, and then gave it the desired shape using the technology of three-dimensional printing.


With the Medit i500, dentists can quickly perform painless scans of patients who need emergency care. Having an accurate digital copy of their teeth, doctors are able to step by step monitor the progress of treatment and discuss its effectiveness with other specialists.

3D scanning can also be used to effectively create prostheses – this solution allows you to get significant temporary and financial savings, compared with the costly procedure of creating casts.

Theater art

Taken from the site 3dtoday.ru

In order to create colorful scenery at the Bolshoi Theater, it was decided to use the RangeVision Smart model. As a prototype, the craftsmen used a small elephant figure. After the scan was received, the theater-goers made of it a realistic and original foam model, which was subsequently used in performances.


Summing up the above, we can conclude that optical 3D scanners have a huge number of applications. The modern market for such devices is represented by models of the most varied cost – from 30,000 to 1,500,000 rubles.

Hand-held and stationary-type scanners can be used almost everywhere – in education, art, architecture, medicine, etc. Professional models of 3D scanners have proven themselves in production, reverse engineering and forensics. In addition, using this technique, you can create a budget, but high-quality souvenir products.

Buy the 3D scanner you need in the Top 3D Shop and get at your disposal truly high-quality equipment with a guarantee and service.

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