A new very low-cost handheld 3D scanner was announced: the Calibry by Thor3D.
Thor3D, a German/Russian company, has been developing 3D scanning solutions for years, and the Calibry is their latest product, just announced in Shanghai.
It’s a handheld 3D scanner that can be used to capture “medium to large” objects, meaning subjects that range from 20cm to 10m. You could 3D scan a toaster, or a car, for example.
This device has an accuracy (positional) of 0.1mm, and a resolution of 0.3mm, which is quite appropriate for the larger subjects that would be scanned with this device. It also boasts the ability to scan “up to” 3M points per second.
That last statistic is important, as it governs how fast you can perform the scan. I’ve used some handheld scanners with relatively low throughput, and it is not fun. To capture sufficient resolution with slower scanners, you must move the handheld scanner very slowly, sometimes repeating sweeps to ensure coverage. And these devices can be quite heavy!
It’s not clear what technique the Calibry uses; it’s likely not lasers, but could be structured light. They explain that they’ve included a new, custom-designed camera system that seems to be able to perform a miraculous thing, aside from the speed of scanning: It can capture challenging subjects such as “black/shiny/furry” objects that baffle other systems.
The camera system also seems to be able to capture color surface textures in addition to the 3D geometry. They explain:
”Importantly, Calibry can capture historically-difficult objects to scan such as sharp edges, hair and black/shiny items. It also has a built-in texture camera (2.3MP) and can collect up to 3M points per second.”
There’s one other thing achieved with the new camera system: it apparently enabled Thor3D to dramatically lower the price of the unit to only €4,990 (US$5,790).
This is an incredibly low price for a full featured handheld 3D scanner. Only a few years ago you might have been paying US$75K for a quality device; now the prices have been dropping considerably, with some recent alternatives priced in the US$15K range.
But Thor3D’s price is one-third of that!
If the device and associated software works well, it could open the door for many more users to get involved in 3D scanning, where it was previously financially infeasible to do so.
However, there’s one important thing to remember about the Calibry: it is for medium to large-sized objects. You probably would not get a good result if you attempted to 3D scan an item of jewelry, for example, as that size of item would use only a small portion of the Calibry’s capture envelope.
Nevertheless, the Thor3D Calibry could be a very good option for those seeking a low-cost handheld 3D scanner.