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Insight: The Costs of 3D Scanning an Object

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We’re lucky. Every day we get to hold the future of engineering in our hands.

3D scanning, an ever changing, ever improving tool of modern design and manufacturing, unlocks doors to unseen precision and innovation. However, as with all high tech equipment, it comes at a price.

In this blog, we delve into the nuanced world of 3D scanning costs, exploring how various factors from part size to location impact the budget.

Whether you’re a veteran engineer or a curious novice, understanding these costs is crucial in navigating the 3D scanning landscape effectively.

Understanding the Costs of 3D Scanning

When considering the costs of 3D scanning an object, it’s essential to remember that this process is not one-size-fits-all. Various factors contribute to the overall expense. Let’s break down these components to get a clearer picture.

Then we have some examples (so be sure to read on!)

Part Size

Size does matter in 3D scanning. Smaller parts typically mean lower costs, as they require less setup and scan time. Conversely, larger parts demand a more extensive setup, additional targets, and longer scanning and processing times, all contributing to a higher price tag.

Part Complexity

The complexity of a part plays a significant role in determining cost. Simple, flatter parts with fewer features are easier and cheaper to scan.

On the other hand, intricate parts with multiple features and angles demand more time and expertise, increasing the cost.

Part Surface Finish or Material

The surface finish or material of a part can significantly impact scanning efficiency.

Dull or matte surfaces are generally easier and quicker to scan. Shiny surfaces, such as those on chrome parts, extend the scanning process, leading to higher costs.

Part Location

Where the scanning takes place also affects the cost. Scanning in our studio is generally more cost-effective, while on-site scanning includes additional expenses such as travel costs.

The convenience of on-site scanning, however, can be invaluable for certain projects.

Data End Use

The intended use of the scanned data – whether for reverse engineering, reference data collection, or inspection – dictates the required scanning strategy and processing approach, each varying in cost.

Tailoring the process to the specific end use ensures both efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Real World Pricing Examples

To further illustrate how the factors we’ve discussed influence the cost of 3D scanning, let’s dive deeper into some practical examples, showcasing a variety of projects and their corresponding costs.

Brembo Brake Calliper

Scanning a part the size of this Brembo Brake Calliper in our studio is a common request, usually costing between £150-£250.

The part’s relatively small size and moderate complexity align well with our studio’s capabilities, making it an excellent example of how efficient, and cost-effective studio scanning can be for automotive components.

Boat Propeller

Another example is the Boat Propeller, which also falls in the £150-£250 range when scanned in our studio.

Despite its complex surface design, with curves and angles that would be challenging to capture by hand, its manageable size makes it a suitable candidate for studio scanning.

The complex surface curves of a propeller demands attention, but we can efficiently map its shape without increasing costs due to using our 3D scanner.

VW Amarok Pickup Truck Grille

When it comes to larger and more complex parts, such as the Amarok Pickup Truck Grille, the price understandably increases. Scanned in our studio, this part typically costs between £350-£550.

Its intricate design, which includes various angles and features, demands a comprehensive scanning approach to ensure accuracy and detail.

The grille’s larger size and detailed structure require more scanning time and data processing, reflecting the higher end of our studio scanning price range.

Full Car 3D Scan

One of the more extensive projects we do regularly is a full car 3D scan, which we conduct on-site. This service ranges from £800-£1000, reflecting its complexity and the resources involved.

Scanning an entire car is a significant undertaking that requires advanced planning, equipment, and techniques. The process captures every curve, edge, and feature of the vehicle, requiring extensive time both on-site and during post-processing.

The on-site nature of this project also brings additional costs, such as travel and setup, but provides the convenience and precision necessary for such a comprehensive task.

Additional Examples

  • Vintage Motorcycle Engine: Scanning a vintage motorcycle engine, a task often sought for restoration or reverse engineering purposes, would cost around £300-£450 in our studio. The complexity of the engine, combined with its historical value, requires a delicate and precise scanning approach.
  • Industrial Turbine Blade: An industrial turbine blade, typically scanned for quality control or reverse engineering, can be estimated at £200-£350. Despite its metallic, reflective surface, our laser scanner can capture fine details efficiently.
  • Custom Bicycle Frame: For a custom bicycle frame, often scanned for prototype digitisation or digital archiving, the price would be in the region of £250-£400. The frame’s unique geometry and size pose specific challenges 3D scanning overcomes faster and more effectively than manual measurements ever could.

The Bottom Line

The cost of 3D scanning is influenced by a number of factors, including the size, complexity, surface finish, location, and intended use of the scanned data.

As demonstrated through real-world examples, prices can vary widely, highlighting the importance of understanding these factors when budgeting for a 3D scanning project.

Ultimately, while costs are an essential consideration, the value and precision offered by 3D scanning make it a worthwhile expense for diverse applications across various industries as hand measuring the objects might take days or weeks.

And, that’s not an efficient use of engineering resource so reach out and see how Formeon can help your project hit timelines faster than ever!

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