We feature discounted software and hardware which make it possible to digitize physical objects, produce 3D virtual models, translate graphics into 3D reliefs, and make actual 3D prototypes, sculpture, jewelry, and other real parts from your virtual models.

Scanning Devices & Software

Table of Contents


3D scanning is different from the regular scanning most of us are familiar with. Instead of recording 2D information from a picture or object placed on the glass, such as text, grayscale images, or color photographs, 3D scanners pick up positional information from the surface of an object, registering the location of points in space, so that a 3D model of a form can be reconstructed. The means used to do this range from hand-held digitizing arms which capture a point at a time, to automated touch-probes that capture points by moving a sensitive needle over the surface of an object, to laser light beams that can record surface information from an object without touching it at all. Whether you’re trying to “reverse-engineer” a model from an existing part or measuring an irregular space for custom-fit hardware, scaling down an object you’ve sculpted to use it in jewelry or wanting to make a right-facing part from a left-facing one, or creating a virtual model from a natural form or an archaeological artifact, these machines can save you a lot of time and effort in the modeling process.

3D scanning allows one to produce CAD models without having to construct each feature from scratch. Instead, one can start from an existing physical object, and capture its surface geometry very quickly. Once the object has been converted to “virtual” form, it can be manipulated in various ways.

The Capture 3D Scanner from 3D Systems

Scan-to-CAD available with a variety of Software Bundles

Capture 3D Scanner Head on Black with GlowCapture 3D Scanner on Tripod

3D Systems has launched a new and “disruptive” product into the 3D scanning marketplace, the Capture 3D Scanner, and the Capture Mini. These blue-light scanners are intended to revolutionize the engineer’s desktop with a new scan-to-CAD paradigm that allows variations of existing products to be rapidly generated, by capturing the surface features of these objects and transferring them into computer models that can be easily modified so new versions can be produced and tested. These scanners are extremely fast, capturing a 3D view in a minute or so, and very precise, with accuracy of up to 34 microns, depending on the distance from the scanner to the object being scanned. These scanners are not intended for very large objects, although overlapping scans can be tiled to cover fairly large areas, but within its range it’s quite impressive. They are is bundled with a range of software programs, specialized for different uses.

Here’s what the Geomagic site has to say about the Capture 3D Scanner.

The New Capture Mini

  • Precision to .034mm
  • Fine tuning for smaller parts
  • Full CAD integration
  • Easy to use, precise inspection tools
  • Blue LED structured light scanning
  • Pro-pack turntable
  • Simple plug and play set-up

The new mini-scanner is designed for industries like automotive, aerospace, product design, mechanical, jewelry, dental appliances and more. The Capture Mini allows high-quality small object scanning at nearly 1 million points per scan in a speedy .3 seconds. It can also work in combination with the Capture Pro Pack, which includes a rugged case and a powered rotary table for automated 360-degree scanning, as well as the Geomagic Capture multi-scanner setup for simultaneous scanning from multiple angles. Additional discounts on both the hardware and software are available for educational customers.

Manufacturer: 3D Systems

Specifications for Capture Scanner

  • Weight: 1.35 kg
  • Dimensions (L × W × H): 276mm × 74mm × 49mm
  • Data Capture Rate: 985,000 points/scan (0.3 sec per scan)
  • Resolution: 0.110mm at 300mm; 0.180mm at 480mm
  • Accuracy: 0.060mm
  • Stand-off Distance: 300mm
  • Depth of Field: 180mm
  • Field of View: 124mm × 120mm (near); 190mm × 175mm (far)
  • Computer Requirements: Windows 7/8 (64-bit) Operating System, Intel and AMD Quad-core 2-GHz CPU or better, Gigabit Ethernet interface, 4 GB Memory or greater, 512 MB Video Card or better

Specifications for Capture Mini Scanner

  • Weight: 1.04 kg
  • Dimensions (L × W × H): 155mm × 109mm × 49mm
  • Data Capture Rate: 985,000 points/scan (0.3 sec per scan)
  • Resolution: 0.080mm at 157mm; 0.100mm at 227mm
  • Accuracy: 0.034mm
  • Stand-off Distance: 157mm
  • Depth of Field: 70mm
  • Field of View: 87mm × 68mm (near); 88mm × 87mm (far)
  • Computer Requirements: Windows 7/8 (64-bit) Operating System, Intel and AMD Quad-core 2-GHz CPU or better, Gigabit Ethernet interface, 4 GB Memory or greater, 512 MB Video Card or better

These are some of the hardware/software packages we offer:

Capture 3D Scanner with Geomagic Design X

Geomagic Design X (formerly known as Rapidform XOR) is the world’s leading reverse-engineering software. Using it in conjunction with the Capture 3D Scanner, you can scan parts, align and register various scans using targets or picked points and merge them into a seamless whole, recognize features like holes, cylinders or bolt circles and recover the “design intent” from the scan data, create NURBS surfaces based on the reconstructed data and export into solids formats like STEP or Xt.

Capture Scanner or Capture Mini Scanner
Includes First-year Hardware Maintenance from 3D Systems
(This is just the hardware. You’ll need a 3DS software program as well.)

List Price: $13,000

Pro Pack for Capture Scanner or Capture Mini Scanner

List Price: $1,490

Capture 3D Scanner plus Geomagic Design X
Includes First-year Maintenance from 3D Systems
(support and equipment warranty)

List Price: $22,975

Geomagic Design X Without the Scanner
Includes First-year Maintenance from 3D Systems
(support and equipment warranty)

List Price: $19,950

Geomagic Wrap

Geomagic Wrap is the successor to the original Geomagic Studio; it’s a powerful but relatively easy-to-use program that makes it possible to capture, edit and convert scans to NURBS or CAD formats such as IGES or STEP.

Capture 3D Scanner plus Geomagic Wrap
Includes First-year Hardware and Software Maintenance from 3D Systems

List Price: $17,750

Geomagic Wrap Without the Scanner

List Price: $9,500

Capture 3D Scanner for SolidWorks

Geomagic Capture for SolidWorks

For those who already have these popular software packages, there are options for adding the Capture 3D Scanner and scanning capability with these plug-ins.

Capture 3D Scanner with Geomagic for SolidWorks
Includes First-year Hardware and Software Maintenance from 3D Systems
(SolidWorks not included)

List Price: $16,950

Capture 3D Scanner for SolidWorks: 5 users
(SolidWorks not included)

List Price: $24,900

Annual Maintenance from 3D Systems
(support and equipment warranty)

List Price: $5,000

Scan-based Inspection

3D Systems also offers software that allows the use of the scanner as an inspection and metrology platform.

Geomagic-Control X

Geomagic-Control X (formerly Geomagic Qualify) is an automation and integration platform for repetitive inspection functions. It’s the application to use for comparing parts to their source models automatically, as they are proceeding down the assembly line.

Capture 3D Scanner plus Geomagic-Control X
Includes First-year Maintenance from 3D Systems
(support and equipment warranty)

List Price: $20,950

Geomagic-Control X Without the Scanner

List Price: $15,900

Roland’s MDX Line

Combination Touch-Probe Scanner and Milling Machine

Roland MDX-20 Scanner

Roland Digital Group made a series of machines for capturing surface data from objects and then carving them from solid material. We own and use the MDX-15 and MDX-20 ourselves, and we’ve found them very useful tools for what we do. These are combination units: a touch-probe scanner and light-duty milling machine in one integrated package with a working envelope of 6″ x 4″ x 238″ (for the MDX-15) or 8″ x 6″ x 238″ (for the MDX-20). On both machines, a fine and sensitive piezo-electric scanning needle records even delicate objects without damage or distortion and stores them as polygon mesh surface data which can be exported to other programs or milled out using the cutting spindle of this versatile machine. Roland’s Dr. Picza scanning software, Modela Player and Dr. Engrave milling software is included with both MDX models. We also have a stainless steel fixturing plate with hold-down kit that fits the MDX-20; we sell that for $200 plus shipping.

Manufacturer: Roland Digital Group

Versions Sold:

Roland MDX-20

List Price: $4,995

Stainless Steel Fixturing Plate with Hold-Down Kit for MDX-20

Roland’s 3D Laser Scanner

A Breakthrough Price for Laser Scanning

Roland LPX-600 Laser Scanner

Roland Digital also produced a laser-scanner, the LPX-60, at a breakthrough price for this type of machine. It is capable of scanning objects which fit in a 12″ high by 8″ diameter cylindrical space quite quickly, and automatically registering the scans to produce a solid model. We’ve been impressed with its speed and ease of use, as well as the lack of surface “noise” incorporated. It uses planar scanning to capture single or multiple 3D views of a subject at up to 0.008 inches resolution in X and Y, or it performs rotary scanning at up to 1,800 steps per revolution and the same X/Y pitch. The laser sensor doesn’t contact the object to be scanned; it moves up and from side to side as the object is moved on its turntable. It is bundled with Dr. Picza for control of the scanning operation as well as EZ-scan software from Geometry Systems, Inc. This makes scanning extremely simple—just load the part onto the turntable, securing it with screws if necessary, then press Preview. Yellow lines are then automatically generated that show where the part is. After deciding how many planes are to be scanned setting the scanning resolution, and deciding whether or not to fill in all holes, just press the Scan button—the machine does the rest.

Please note that shiny, clear or dark-colored objects may present difficulties unless painted in a lighter matte color which is easier for the laser to register.

Manufacturer: Roland Digital Group

Version Sold:

Roland LPX-60DS

List Price: $8,395

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