So it's 2021 now, there are several options for you if you are looking into getting a 3D scanner for an affordable price. In this article, we are listing out pretty much all the affordable (Under USD1000) 3D scanners you could buy now.
1. Phiz 3D Scanner (price: $379)
Phiz 3D Scanner is a brand-new 3D scanner in the market, developed by us KIRI Innovation. It's a desktop laser 3D scanner powered by your smartphone. Phiz 3D Scanner uses your smartphone camera and generates dense pointcloud using smartphone powers, which means the price is cheaper than other similar laser 3D scanners. The turntable is detached from the laser module, which makes this product capable of scanning objects as small as 40mm in height or as large as 400mm in height. On the smartphone, you need to download its associated app called "3DScanLink". The best part of this app is that the developers are constantly improving it and adding tons of new features to it.
2. The LiDAR in iPhone and iPad Pro (price: free if you have the phone)
The LiDAR module is currently only available on iPhone 12 Pro and 2020 iPad Pro. A lot of people have been asking us, can the LiDAR on the new iPhone 12 Pro do the 3D scan? Well, the answer is Yes and No... depends on what result you are looking for. Yes, the iPhone's LiDAR can 3D scan, but it doesn't produce many usable results. Let's be honest here, Apple did not put a LiDAR module in the iPhone for 3D scanning purposes, it's for locating the 3D models in augmented-reality applications as well as enhancing their cameras. This youtube video created by Jake made a great explanation of Apple's LiDAR.
3. The 3D Scanner Apps (price: ranging from free to $300/month)
In 2021, there are some 3D scanner apps you could download on your smartphone. In general, those apps are either Photogrammetry-based 3D scan or LiDAR/ToF/Face ID Sensor-based 3D scan. Before getting into the actual available products, let's talk about these two 3D scan approaches.
Photogrammetry: You just need to take Pictures around an object, then the software will match those photos and give you the 3D model. It works for regular RGB photos, no special camera required.
LiDAR/ToF/Face ID 3D Scan: Although these are also pure photo apps, they still depend on specific phone hardware. For example, a 3D scan app using LiDAR would require the phone to have the LiDAR module; a 3D scan app using Face ID would require your phone is either iPhone X(s), iPhone 11, or iPhone 12 series.
Trnio is a well-polished Photogrammetry-based 3D scan app. It is only available on iOS but it utilizes a lot of iOS features and it only costs 5 bux to download the app.
Capture is a FaceID-based 3D scan app. So yeah, it only works with iPhone models that have FaceID in them. The advantage of using a FaceID or LiDAR or ToF based 3D scan app is that the scan result shows simultaneously, whereas the photogrammetry app normally relies on cloud computing to do the trick. However, the final resolution that comes out of a FaceID/LiDAR/ToF 3D scan app is normally not as good as the photogrammetry apps.
4. Revopoint POP (price: $499)
Another new 3D scanner from a Chinese manufacturer Revopoint. It is a two-in-one 3D scanner that offers both handheld 3D scanning and desktop 3D scanning capabilities (The turntable for the desktop is sold separately). At the moment of writing this article, it has just gone through Kickstarter and is not yet available for sale. It also claimed to support iOS and Android for an extra cost ($668), it's a great addition to the consumer 3D scanner family.
5. Matter and Form V2 (price: $749)
Matter and Form is a well-established brand in the consumer 3D scanner area. Their first product was introduced back in 2015, and they introduced the second-gen. Matterandform V2 in 2019. It is a laser desktop 3D scanner that is compatible with both MacOS and Windows. It used to scan very slowly but with the included +Quickscan in the kit, it now can scan as fast as 65 sec. If you are looking for a trustworthy brand, Matter and Form is your go-to brand.
6. Sol 3D Scanner (price: $799)
Sol 3D Scanner was first introduced in 2019, it's a robust laser 3D scanner developed by Scan Dimension. You can set it to a small-sized scan or a mid-sized scan by adjusting the frame setup. It also comes with a photo booth so you could have better control of the lighting right out of the box.
7. Ciclop DIY 3D Scanner (Discontinued)
Although this product is discontinued from the manufacturer, you might still find it online for around $100. Yes, it's one of the cheapest laser 3D scanners ever introduced to the market. It uses open-source 3D scan software and 3D printed parts for cost-saving. Although the product features a double-laser design, its DIY nature made it very hard to have both lasers work together. It could be a very good introductory kit for beginners and people who would like to get into the 3D scanning world.
8. Sense 2 3D Scanner (Discontinued)
Sense 2 3D scanner was a big hit back in the day. It's designed by 3D Systems and powered by an Intel RealSense board to 3D scan. It is a handheld 3D scanner which makes it able to scan people and large objects. The downside is its accuracy and resolution when comparing with the desktop laser 3D scanners mentioned above. It's sad to see this product was discontinued by 3D Systems but you may be able to find it from other resellers online for around $500-$700