The majority of these scanners are considered desktop models. This means that they are large enough to fit on your desk, right next to your computer and printer. Professional models are often much larger and can even scan people or other large objects, but consumer models are typically smaller.
Handheld and Mobile
While the majority of scanners are desktop models, there are a few handheld models available. These are able to scan large objects as well, but that may be difficult because you need a steady hand. There are also a few companies that are trying to develop mobile laser scanners by installing a small laser chip inside of smartphones.
Replicas and Manipulation
According to many people, 3D scanning is holding 3D printing back because it isn’t as available to consumers. These scanners allow you to scan an object and print exact copies, which would really propel the industry. Not only that, but you can also manipulate the scanned image in your computer to make modifications. This would propel the creative side of 3D imaging because it would give people a model to start with.
These scanners have amazing educational potential if used properly. For example, there are some institutes that are scanning their priceless artifacts so that the models can be printed at schools. This allows students to actually see and touch the object instead of just seeing it on paper.
Since this industry is really just beginning, the number of patents is very low. This means that the majority of models that are currently being made are hackable and open source. Hackable in this sense means to improve the hardware and coding, not create malicious viruses. If you love hardware that you can modify and improve, then now is the best time to consider a laser scanner.
There’s also a huge business potential for people who own laser scanners. You can scan and sell models of objects if they aren’t copyrighted. Of course this can land you in trouble if you sell the wrong models, so be careful about copyrights and trademarks. Modified models are also a big seller online.