Status of the 3D Scanner

I spoke with NextEngine on the phone yesterday and we discussed the printer, it was in really bad shape, I asked that an email be sent to share with everyone.

Hello Max,

Thank you for your phone call.

As discussed, your Scanner is in very bad shape and not sure that we can
repair it.

We suggest providing a credit to you of the repair cost ($430) towards the
purchase of a new Ultra HD Scanner.

Summary of Quote:
- NextEngine Ultra HD Scanner (New) $2,995
- Shipping $ 35
- Repair Cost Credit ($ 430)
Revised Total New UHD Scanner $2,600

If approved by your team, please proceed to place your online order at I’ll need to manually adjust the price of the
Scanner to credit the repair cost once the order is placed.

Look forward to your feedback,

So needless to say we will be discussing the scanner at the next 3D Fab Meeting which is a week from Saturday.


I happen to have a Next 3D scanner that is having some issues and I haven’t had time to play with it. Since the repair cost is so expensive, does someone want to work with me to play swaptronics and see if I can get DMS’s up and working again?


What one person think is bad repair may not be another’s. If the cord is just messed up, I bet one of us can fix it.
That’s just my opinion & I’m not a member of 3d fab committee

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Not sure I can make the meeting, but if the committee decides to buy a new one (and it was a valuable items a lot of people have been waiting to return), then I might suggest two improvements:

  • first, get it a properly sized and fitted pelican case for the core scanner; it was way to haphazard before with the nature of it’s construction
  • second, need a better home location for it; the unit was always just strung about on that table in digital media or thrown in a drawer. Equipment that nice should have a home.



We are all members of 3D fab on this blessed day.


Its not just the cord, the thing was un assembled and in pieces when I got it, the problem with it is too many people tried to fix it without knowing what was wrong with it in the first place.

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Photogametry is pretty cheap, and 90% software driven. I’d suggest that before getting a new laser scanner.

If you do need a scanner, I suggest a arm based system, but those are pretty expensive (~$50k).


The problem is a loss of capability since many were using it for fairly detailed scanning.

Photogrammetry has accuracy problems without low texture surfaces, very high detail, and white/reflective surfaces for those replicating parts.
Reflective surfaces can be coated in talc which picks up well on laser and light scanners, but not so much on cameras still if there isn’t much texture.

This is a good video comparison, but it’s a structured light scanner rather than a laser scanner which performs a little differently.

Photogametry isn’t perfect, sure, but it does have a lot of advantages too. The resolution and volume is limited by the imaging device, which means there is a lot of versatility for detail and size. You surely couldn’t put a car on our scanner, and I would also expect it to struggle on something small like a dime too. Yes, lighting can be tricky and sometimes it’s just fuzzy.

I think the biggest benefit is that since photogametry is essentially software, there is nothing to break. Also, members could take shots off-site and process them at the space which would add a ton of versilitity.

My experience with structured light systems is that they’re expensive, require a mono-colored surface (talc everything), and over times needs those positional marker stickers. That is 10 year old information though.

I didn’t think of our scanner as particularly capable personally. It was slow, hard to use, not terribly high resolution, and had a dead side due to having a single camera. If we want to stick to laser, is a handyscan or similar system an option?

We should definitely evaluate if we would want another nextengine or something else but we should have a laser system.

I’m not saying photogrammetry is useless, I still use it but it doesn’t suit what a lot of members use it for.


I’ve seen a lot more use out of a handheld scanner like the 3D Systems Sense, it’s useable for scanning things like people, hands, and objects of similar sizes. A few students in school used it to print busts or scan themselves and animate the mesh.

The nextengine (we had the version with a single axis turntable) only saw use when very detailed scans were needed (like scanning a ring). It was much more complicated and limited in sizes compared to the handheld versions.

The sense comes new for $500, I’d recommend purchasing one and seeing what use it gets. If we find people are needing to scan items that are smaller and more detailed than it’s capable of we could revisit the nextengine in the future.


I’ll bet. Either that or use a photocopier…


Actually Kee @fedakkee had a class,in the automotive bay, that scanned a bumper on a car. I’m not sure what the guy that wanted his bumper scanned was going to do with it. I wasn’t in the class but I saw him doing it.

Russell Ward


Pics here


yeah, the scanner wasn’t tied to the specific turntable but using it outside of that config was definitely advanced usage.

I admit I don’t know too much about 3d scanning, but I think I would love a handheld device.

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As discussed, your Scanner is in very bad shape and not sure that we can repair it.

I, for one, am curious to know what “very bad shape” means specifically.

Does the device have a design or manufacturing defect? Did we break it, and if so, how and what components? Will we break the new one the exact same way out of ignorance or neglect, or will we find new and exciting ways to ■■■■-up a $2,600 toy?


here are 2 posibilities, I welcome any input and links to other scanners here so we can make a descision next week.

here is a very inexpensive one

Here is a more expensive one


I used the old 3D scanner to make a copy of a rifle grip, with a lot of help from Kee. It turned out very well. Some observations.

The old 3D scanner floated around DMS for years without anyone doing much useful with it. There were classes in it, I took a class, that didn’t seem to train anyone enough to profitably use it. Kee spent literally weeks learning the proper way to use it. He taught many classes a week with the classes being full. The man knew how to use this tool. He made violins that his sons played here at DMS for us. They sounded wonderful. I guess Kee burned out, or life got in the way, he hasn’t been around for months.

I haven’t seen anything that has been successfully made using the 3D scanner since he left. I think that the 3D scanner is an expensive tool that requires a high level of skill and dedication to put to good use. Without people that knowledgeable and dedicated I fear that an expensive scanner will just gather dust in a corner. I may be too pessimistic. It is an incredible tool that is the only solution for some rather rare tasks.

If you are scanning art where absolute dimensions aren’t required photogrammetry probably would be adequate. If you are trying to scan parts for machine parts where 1/16" is too large of a tolerance you need this kind of a scanner.

I’m not sure that a handheld scanner would give the accurate scale you are looking for for the machine part I mentioned above. The old scanner required that you placed the object to be scanned at a known distance and if you were going to scan around the object there was a turntable that the scanner controlled that would accurately control the angle of successive scans.

Russell Ward

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I guess what I am trying to say with all of that above is that a good 3D scanner would be in the same class as the HAAS mill. For us to get a real benefit from it we would need to have people that are willing to learn how to use it and teach other people how to use it. Kind of a life long love affair. There will never be a large number of people that will put it to use but everyone will look at it and say, “Cool”.

Russell Ward

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