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Staff Picks: A Guide to the Best 3D Scanning Accessories

Staff Picks: A Guide to the Best 3D Scanning Accessories

We all know a little help goes a long way. When it comes to 3D scanning, there are times when it’s difficult to scan challenging surfaces, fixture unstable parts, or get the work done more efficiently.

That’s why we’ve enlisted the help of our staff to reveal some of the tried and true 3D scanning accessories we use in our lab. We’ll also offer some tips and tricks to get you the best 3D scanning results. These accessories work for professional 3D scanners as well as low-cost 3D scanners.

Step-By-Step Instructions

The best part: The products we are featuring are relatively inexpensive. You might even already have them in your office so you don’t need to spend the extra money to get great scans!


3D Scanning Spray

Best 3D Scanning Spray: AESUB Orange

Vanishing 3D Scanning Spray:
Aesub Orange

When AESUB Blue first came out, it was so revolutionary that it landed on Develop3D’s Top 30 List ​​of inventions that give product development work a major boost.

“The coating disappears overnight, leaving no sticky mess to clean up – it’s like magic in a can.”
Develop3D

That’s because you rarely see a 3D scanning spray that vanishes without any residue. You just have to let the white coating evaporate into the air. There’s no messy clean up after your 3D scanning job is complete.

AESUB later came out with two other vanishing 3D scanning sprays including the AESUB Orange which lasts up to 24 hours, and AESUB Green for larger applications.

We’ve been using them around our office and we have to say that we find the AESUB Orange is one of the best 3D scanning sprays out there for all-purpose use.

See It in Action:
Why We Chose AESUB Orange As The Best 3D Scanning Spray:
  • The matte coating allows you to capture nice quality scans when 3D scanning challenging surfaces like dark, clear, or shiny objects as well as parts with deep cavities.
  • AESUB Orange dries to touch. This allows for easy handling when moving from one location to another.
  • This 3D scanning spray adds minimal coating thickness to parts.
  • Better coverage: It has finer particles than AESUB Blue.
  • It works well with photogrammetry dots.
  • Longer lasting: No cleanup is required as it evaporates and disappears without a trace within 24 hours (AESUB Blue lasts for a few hours in comparison).
  • No cross-contamination: AESUB vanishing sprays are free of any pigments. They don’t contaminate the measurement environment or pigment deposits. For example, near air filters – which was previously not possible.
  • Healthier option: AESUB 3D scanning sprays are less toxic compared to similar products in the market. All AESUB products are free of harmful titanium dioxide.
Buy Now:

Rotary Table

Best 3D Scanning Accessory To Boost Efficiency: Rotary Table

Manual Rotary Table:
Manual Rotary Table

If you are using a handheld 3D scanner, instead of walking around the object to capture all the angles why not make it easier for yourself and use a manual rotary table? That way, you are spinning the part and staying still in one position for scanning.

You can see how easy it is to scan if you can rotate the object instead.

Scanning with Artec Spider
Why We Chose The Rotary Table As The Best 3D Scanning Accessory To Boost Efficiency:
  • It's a time saver.
  • It makes the 3D capturing process faster and easier than without it.
Buy Now:
3D Scanning Multiple Objects At Once With A Large Rotary Table:
Scanning multiple objects on rotary table

If you are scanning multiple objects and looking to save some time, you can put the objects on a large rotary table and scan them at the same time.

Automated Rotary Table:
Automated rotary table

If you have more money to spend, you can get an automated rotary table that spins the parts for you. The advantage of using an automated rotary table compared to a manual one is that it frees up your hand to do other things. If tracking is lost, the rotary table is smart to know it needs to turn back and recapture the scans for you.

This video explains the difference between using a manual rotary table versus using Artec's automated turntable.

Artec Turntable

Artec Automated Turntable

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Modeling Clay or Putty

Best 3D Scanning Fixturing Tool: Modeling Clay or Putty Does The Trick

Modeling Clay or Putty:
Putty to hold object

Sometimes, good aids don’t have to cost a lot of money. All you need to do is to make sure the object doesn’t move and stays completely in place in order to get quality scans. For fixturing parts, most of the time we use modeling clay that doesn’t dry out or mounting putty to hold objects in place. It’s readily available at any office supplies store.

Why We Chose Modeling Clay or Putty As The Best 3D Scanning Fixturing Tool:
  • They are reusable.
  • They are inexpensive.
  • You might already have some lying around your office.
  • They are relatively easy to erase in the scans during post-processing.
Clamps As An Alternative Tool For Fixturing:
Using clamps

If you already have clamps in your office, they also work well as a tool for fixturing parts. We find clamps are best for fixturing heavier objects that would be more difficult for the putty to hold on to.

using clamp on key
Here, we’ve used a clamp to hold the key in place instead of using putty as shown earlier. However, our go-to fixturing 3D scanning accessory is still the modeling clay or putty. They are more versatile and easier to mold into shape and hold objects in place.
Different clamps we use
Various clamps we already have in the office we use for fixturing parts.
Fixturing Work Hack:

Being creative and resourceful pays off when you can find things around the office you can use for fixturing. Here, you can see we used a coffee cup to fixture a part for 3D scanning which we easily took out during the post-processing stage. The only thing you have to make sure of is that the object doesn’t fall off while you’re 3D scanning.

Here is the final 3D model (coffee cup taken out during post-processing).

Tape and Stickers

Best 3D Scanning Accessory For Helping With Scan Alignment: Tape and Stickers

stickers for alignment

As we’ve said earlier, sometimes you have an object that is symmetrical and it’s very difficult to align after post-production. For 3D scanners that can align 3D scans using color texture (e.g., drawings, markings, or differences in colors) like the Artec 3D scanners, we put tape or stickers on the scanned object. These visual aids help the 3D scanning software recognize unique features of the part. This makes it much easier to align scans into a full 3D model than without any aids.

Here is a sneek peek of our webinar where we demonstrated the use of tape, stickers, and markers to help with scan alignment. Continue watching the full webinar here.
Use stickers around the object
You can also put the stickers around the object instead of putting them directly on the object.
Why we chose it:
  • They are inexpensive solutions that help a lot with scan alignment.
  • You might already have some lying around your office.
  • They are easy to remove or clean off the scan target after 3D scanning.
Putty Is Also Useful For Scan Alignment:

Using putty is also useful if you have an object that doesn’t have a lot of features (for instance, symmetrical or featureless objects). You can put putty around or directly on the object to create unique geometry. This makes it easier to align scans into a full 3D model if your 3D scanner uses geometry-based features for alignment.

Stickers for scan alignment
You can use both stickers and putty to help with scan alignment. Here, we also put stickers on poles to help align scans when scanning a tall object.
Scan Alignment Work Hack:

Newspaper is also another great tool to use for scan alignment because it has unique text and images. Here, we used it when scanning window frames.

Newspaper for alignment

Additional Resources

Well, there you have it! We hope these tips and tricks will get you better scanning results without breaking the bank.

For additional tips on 3D scanning challenging objects, check out these resources:

Step-By-Step Instructions

These are only some of the tools our team uses to get the best 3D scanning results.

What tools do you use to help you with 3D scanning? Please comment below.

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