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.

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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