I’m starting to consider buying a 3d scanner for small objects (mainly smaller than a fist). I’ve come across the Eora line and similar products, and was curious whether anyone here is utilizing that style of scanner with their Formlabs printer. Is the scan quality good enough to at least get the CAD started? I don’t do any CAD work myself, but if I could scan objects to send them to someone else to clean up, that would mean I don’t have to pay someone to do the scanning, and I could be more prolific in deciding what to scan.
Thanks for your advice!
Its hard to offer really useful advice without some idea of what you are producing that you need to go from scan to CAD.
the EORA is a toy scanner.
It has extremely limited scanning capabilities- making it nearly impossible to scan any kind of really complicated part without serious holes and misalignments. It can only scan in a single plane- meaning you can not scan at alternate angles to add missing data when scanning a complex object. Its optics are no better than an iPhone- which is NOT a flat field camera and so introduces distortions… and no two smart phones have the same optics- So I would suppose they must use different interpolation for different phones.
It DOES capture a color map while scanning… this is NOT really a feature… its a means to make lousy scans look better than they actually are.
What you want to see are UNcolored images of the raw mesh data the device captures- And examples of this are hard to come by… because they would not speak well of the scanner.
Any time you see a scanner being promoted by scanning things like vases, or brightly colored toys, that is a red flag- Toys often have very little surface detail and softer mushy edges ( especially so with vinyl toys ) And vases are inherently a simple revolved shape, which conceals how poorly the separate scans mesh.
And when they don’t bother to show you an STL model without color map to show off the sharpness of their detail, its because they don’t have any sharpness to their detail.
If you want a cheap 3D scanner, look into the Sense 3D scanner from 3D systems.
its not the highest resolution scanner- but its still a world better and more versatile than the Eora.
Next step up would be the Einscanner pro…
NextEngine makes a scanner much like the Eora- though much higher resolution- but I would suggest the Sense 3D or einscanner because they will enable handheld scanning, which opens the whole realm of uses, and they can merge scans from all different angles.
But keep in mind that if you really want to save money- learn how to model in an app optimized for printed output.
I agree with Sculptingman, but further would add, if you don’t have the skill in-house to do the touch-up, reconstruction, etc. then it makes even less sense. If you’ve got a place that will do the scanning and the modeling together, there’s a big advantage there that they are familiar with the hardware they have and know how to deal with that in CAD.
The reality is that you get what you pay for with 3d scanners. The first one I had was based on the Xbox Kinect, and with certain software it was good enough to scan larger objects, people’'s heads, but while the final scan looked recognizable because of the texture map, the geometry behind it was really poor. Printing the resulting mesh was bearly recognizable.
The next scanner was an Atlas 3D scanner which uses a couple of line lasers and a camera (similar to the Eora but self contained), and it was capable of resolving pretty good detail, but it also produced very noisy point clouds and needed A LOT of post processing. Using tools like Meshlab and Meshmixer I had gotten pretty good at it and managed some decent scans.
But then I bought the Einscan 3D structured light scanner and everything changed. To put it in different terms, it,s the difference between using a sharpened stone to carve a wooden model, and usng a CNC machine to do the same.
No more post processing (well almost none) the models have an insane amount of detail down to the surface texture, and the final model is print ready (water tight).
There are other low cost scanners there like the XYZ scanner which is based on the Intel sense camera, and other small hand helds, but none are intended to scan objects for printing purposes.
The NextEngine was mentioned earlier. It’ a high end laser scanner that is intended to be used in conjunction with Solidworks to produce CAD ready models. The problem is the cost. The scanner is nearly $4K, and the software is another $2K, and that doesn’t include the cost of Solidworks.
A word of caution: do not buy a used NextEngine, the license is not trasferable, and you’ll have to pay for the license full price just to be able to use the scanner.
Thanks, I appreciate your reply. I like the idea of a handheld scanner, so I’m going to look in to the one you mentioned.
I’d like to be able to provide my cad guy a file that he can work with without creating a piece from scratch.
Having the option to scan things without taking them to my cad guy and paying per scan is an advantage to me.
Which Einscan unit are you using?
Thanks for all the helpful replies!
My first scanner was a very expensive lens on a DSLR camera, coupled with specialized lens and slide for a Projector- you projected a grid onto an object and took photos.
You then imported the photos into their software, where it tried to GUESS how the grid mapped across areas of shadow where the grid couldn’t be detected… i then had to use a mouse to painstakingly correct the grid connections, so that the software could derive a 3D mesh based upon the distortion of the projected grid.
What a pain in the ass…
Its only saving grace aside from being lots cheaper than a Cyberware head scanner, was that the Cyberware scanner took 11 seconds to scan a face-- and everyone MOVED a little in 11 seconds- so the scans were always slightly distorted.
With this rig you were taking 1/125 second photos- effectively freezing the model in time… so if you did good on correcting the grid- the scan was dead accurate to the limit of its resolution.
But it took about 3 days to put together an entire head from 6 or more photos.
But that Einscanner… Hoo boy… don’t you just LOVE that thing?
Its as good as scanners that cost $16k or more.
I bought the Einscanner Pro Plus.
They have add ons for capturing color maps, or even for boosting scan resolution- but I find the basic scanner to be more than adequate- but then, I am not doing small engineering CAD models.
If you are scanning mostly small items, I would spring for their enhanced resolution package. It essentially increases scan resolution by about 50%
I also bought the turntable they offer- which is really great for scanning small objects more accurately than you can get by hand.
As to going to CAD- if your provider is running WRAP by 3D Systems- then he is deriving surface models pretty much automatically- but the Wrap software is pretty costly.
The alternative is the Next Engine, which is NOT cheap, as Dude mentioned, but has a software option for deriving parametric models from scan data…
But my question would be “why?” You do not NEED surface data to go to print.
All you need to be able to do is clean up the scan data to print a good part- and if that is all you need, 3D Systems sells an entry level version of Freeform called Sculpt that you can use to perfect scan data really easily, in house.
As I said in my previous post low cost scanners are not capable of producing usable geometry. They rely primarily on creating texture maps that wrap around very rough shapes and create the illusion of detail.
There are some very good handheld scanners but they are not toys, they start at $3000 and go up from there: Einscan
Pro 2x, Artec Eva or Spider, Peel 1, Faro, etc.
3D Systems has a handheld scanner based on the Intel Sense cameras and it’s only marginally better than the XYZ scanner, which isn’t saying much.
I personally have the original Einscan S that included a turntable, very similar to the Einscan SE