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Z Corp. Raises the Ante on 3-D Scanners

Z Corp. Raises the Ante on 3-D Scanners

The fast-growing 3-D scanning market is sure to get another push from a new handheld, portable model from Z Corp. that is priced at $28,900.

Scott Harmon, vice president of business development at Z Corp., says the ZScanner 600 eliminates the need for fixed-position tripods, bulky mechanical arms or external positioning devices, which can make hard-to-reach areas such as auto interiors difficult to scan. The new model fits into a carry-on suitcase.

Resolution is 0.1 mm and XY accuracy is up to 80 microns.

The 3-D scanners use technology from Creaform that captures data in one continuous scan rather than in numerous shots from fixed positions, eliminating post-processing time to integrate static shots into a cohesive scan. ZScan Lite software produces a .stl (stereolithography) file for import into a 3-D CAD software package or output to a 3-D printer.

The scanner reads data from photo-reflective targets placed on a surface. The scanner "paints" the object with a projected laser crosshair and the surface is recorded by the ZScanner 600's binocular cameras. A polygon mesh of the surface is generated on a computer screen in real time.

"In general, we recommend that these scanners be used primarily for reverse engineering and basic types of inspection applications," Harmon told Design News in an interview. "If you're getting into very high tolerance inspections, then you probably are going to end up using a CMM (coordinate measuring machine)."

One of the key markets for the new scanner is small- to mid-size companies that might be using a service bureau for reverse engineering. "Now for the cost of a couple service bureau projects, they can get their own scanner," says Harmon.

The new Z scanner won't be the lowest-price scanner on the market. Next Engine is selling a 3-D scanner for $2,995.

"The ZScanner is capable of scanning a much, much broader array of object sizes and shapes," Harmon said.

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