Why 3D Scanning: Types

There’s a growing importance to update your processes with new technology. Creaform offers a variety of Metrology solutions, including photogrammetry and probing. There are also two non-contact measurement styles to choose from:

  1. Laser
  2. Structured Light

Laser 3D Scanners

Our previous article explained how laser-based 3D scanners are portable, accurate and versatile. They cast lasers onto the object you’re measuring and record your data. They can operate with laser trackers or positioning targets. Smaller objects don’t require anything for scanning. Your advantages here are speed and accuracy. They can scan practically any object, no matter where you are.

Blue laser scanners are best for picking up reflective surfaces. They don’t need surface preparation aside from the targets. Creaform’s HandySCAN Black and Black Elite and MetraSCAN 3D are powerful examples of laser-based scanners.

Structured-Light 3D Scanners

Structured-light scanners project light and shade patterns, while taking pictures. It relies on the geometry and texture of what you’re scanning. Your advantage is having practically no set-up time. They will detect changes in patterns and gather your data. These scanners are also very portable and can scan anything, anywhere.

Pictures from Creaform

These would be a best fit if you couldn’t put targets on your object. Creaform’s Go!SCAN 3D is a great example of a structured-light 3D scanners.

The table below compares the different capabilities of each scanner.

Technical Specifications

HandySCAN Black Elite

MetraSCAN 3D


Scanner Type

Blue Laser

Blue Laser

White Light


.0009 in

.0012 in

.0020 in

Measurement Rate (measurements/s)




Light Source

11 Blue Laser Crosses

7 Laser Crosses (+1 extra line)

99 White Light Strips


2.1 lbs

3 lbs

2.7 lbs


Lower-quality scanners could hurt you more than help you. You want to make sure you’re getting accurate, repeatable results without distortion. Creaform’s 3D scanners can be used in many different applications and they are within reach. Contact us to see the scanners in action in our showroom.