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If you’re involved with a job or project that requires the technology of a 3D scanner but your business doesn’t own one, perhaps you’ve considered purchasing one. Buying a 3D scanner is not a small decision because such scanners can cost quite a lot of money, depending on how you will use it and the quality of the results you need to achieve. For some, the decision to purchase is a no brainer, but others might be waffling back and forth about whether to make this huge purchase or whether to simply hire a 3D scanning service to get the job done.

It’s hard to pinpoint an exact price for a scanner vs the price to hire a professional to scan your item. It all depends on what’s being scanned and the quality you need to achieve in the end. So, it’s necessary to look at some facts – as well as your budget – in order to decide whether it’s best for you to purchase a 3D scanner or hire a scanning service to complete your job.

Here are some pros and cons:

A large one-time investment

Your initial cost for purchasing a scanner could be significant. Because 3D scanning continues to develop, prices are not yet stable or competitive. So, expect to pay a hefty price at this point. If that’s in your budget, then go for it. But you should also recognize that you might need to buy some accompanying items as well, like some computer-aided design (CAD) tools. So, take some time to do careful research before making a decision to purchase.

Keeping up with technology

As we noted previously, 3D technology keeps changing and improving, so the state-of-the-art scanner you buy this year may be totally obsolete in a year or two, necessitating that you upgrade to a better model just to keep up with industry standards. As such, you’ll need to be prepared to keep spending money on this technology, at least for the next several years.

Make sure your scanner matches your needs

You may find some great “deals” on scanners, but will the one you have your eye on do the job you need it to do? Sure, the price might be perfect but does the scanner have the ability to produce your desired end result? Basic scanners can certainly be fine for some projects, but you may find that you require a high-end model with plenty of bells and whistles for your business or project. At that point, you’ll need to decide whether you want to make that large of an investment.

Be sure you’ll be using it often

If you have frequent need of this technology, then it could be beneficial for you to purchase a 3D scanner. Crunch some numbers by pricing the scanner vs. scanning services and see if it pays to buy. If you’ll be using that scanner regularly for multiple projects, purchasing just might be the right decision.

 Make sure you have the right workforce in place

If you do indeed intend to purchase a 3D scanner, be sure you have the personnel and tools in place for pre- and post-processing. If the purchase of a scanner means you need to hire more staff or purchase expensive CAD software, then owning a scanner might not be the right choice for you.

Making the right decision

All of this said, if you choose to go with a scanning service instead of purchasing a 3D scanner, don’t just opt for the company that gives you the lowest bid. Be sure that the business you choose has the right equipment in place to do the job you need done.

Also, don’t hesitate to ask them to provide samples of their work or to provide references from businesses or individuals who are involved with projects similar to yours. If you’re comparing prices, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples and that you’re getting the same quality service from all the scanning services you’re considering. You want the best results in the shortest time for the best price.

At 3DRE, we’re well-known in the Greater Vancouver area for our quality 3D scanning services. For more details about our services as well as scanners available for purchase, contact us at 604-910-0165 or complete the contact form on this website.