Einscan handheld 3D scanner

Today, we’re taking an in-depth look at Shining 3D’s brand new EinScan HX, a hybrid handheld 3D scanner combining the speed, versatility, and precision of both structured light and laser scanning technology.

Thanks to this hybrid 3D capture technology, it is capable of handling demanding metrology and engineering use cases. The EinScan HX is also equipped with a colour camera in order to perform coloured 3D scans.

For more details on what you can use the Einscan HX see here.

For the reference, this is our fourth Shining 3D scanner review, so we are familiar with the brand and are able to evaluate how the company and their product lineup have evolved over the years.

Shining 3D’s EinScan 3D scanner lineup before the H series.

This EinScan HX is the ninth product from the Einscan family, the H series being the first to boast hybrid 3D scanning technology. Both the H and HX portable 3D scanners need to be tethered to a computer to work, but still provide great freedom of movement for users.

What is the EinScan H

The EinScan H, the entry level product of the lineup, is also a hybrid 3D scanner, but its secondary technology relies on IR (infrared) light instead of laser lines.

This way, it combines the advantages of traditional structured light 3D scanners – speed and cost-to-performance ratio – with the ability to comfortably 3D scan humans without blinding them during the process.

The EinScan H (left) and EinScan HX (right) side by side.

It is also fitted with what Shining 3D calls an “advanced human body algorithm”, providing smoother acquisition and allowing for slight body movements of the subject.

One of the main trade-offs is accuracy. The H offers a volumetric accuracy of up to 0.3mm, while the HX offers up to 0.06mm.

What is the EinScan HX

Reviewing the hardware and software, and paid special attention to the three key features that Shining 3D highlights:

  • Hybrid light sources
  • Capacity to scan large objects
  • Ability to capture dark and reflective surfaces
 

We tested the EinScan HX on several subjects, including car engine bays. They’re the ideal use case scenario to test the EinScan HX’s features, marketed by Shining 3D as particularly well-suited for automotive applications.

In a body scan for a challenge, which at the same time allowed assess to the scanner’s colour acquisition capabilities. Skin texture is known to be more nuanced and difficult to acquire compared to industrial product paints.

Here’s a quick recap of the good and the bad.

Pros

  • Two 3D scanners in one!
  • Software is very intuitive
  • Excellent value for money
  • Fast calibration and ease of use
  • Hardware quality (materials, feel, weight balance, …)

Cons

  • Laser mode does not capture colour
  • Currently not possible to merge scans from different mode
 
 

Closer look at the Einscan HX laser scanning technology

The EinScan HX is Shining 3D’s first scanner to offer two complementary technologies, structured light and laser 3D scanning, in a single device. Each technology is accessible through a specific mode that the user chooses at the beginning of a 3D scanning process.

The Rapid scan mode relies on structured light, whereas the Laser scan mode uses laser 3D scanning technology.

Structured light

Now one of the most popular 3D scanning technologies, structured light has become an industry standard for many users. Structured light 3D scanners are fast and provide a very efficient cost-to-performance ratio thanks to their hardware’s relative simplicity.

Most of the latest performance improvements are software-based, but the hardware side has also evolved thanks to higher camera resolutions and better video projectors. Plus, all of these essential parts are becoming more affordable every year.

Compared to laser 3D scanners, another advantage of structured light 3D scanners is their larger field of view, albeit at the cost of a lower resolution.

Like every technology, structured light has its trade-offs:

  • Doesn’t work outside (sunlight, even indirect, tempers with the projectors’ light)
  • Very sensitive to black surfaces (which absorbs light)
  • Thrown off by shiny, reflective surfaces (they disturb the patterns and make the geometry underneath difficult to acquire)

The Shining 3D EinScan HX’s anatomy.

Getting back to the EinScan HX, its structured light sensor was designed to quickly capture large amounts of data (remember that the structured light mode is dubbed “Rapid scan”) and is therefore suitable for medium- to large-sized objects.

Since each scanner is designed with a specific use case in mind and therefore field of view, this means that the EinScan HX’s structured light sensor won’t perform well on small objects or intricate details. That’s where the scanner’s blue laser sensor becomes a must-have.

Note: The structured light 3D scanning mode allows the user to also capture the part’s texture (colour).

 

Laser 3D scanning

Built into the EinScan HX’s upper body, the blue laser sensor enables users to 3D scan parts that would have been too challenging for the structured light sensor. And this with great detail, precision, and resolution.

The 3D scanner’s 7 blue laser crosses are able to capture black and reflective parts. However, it must work with markers (stickers/targets) in order to align the different scans together.

There are three main rules to follow when using this mode:

  • The camera must always “see” at least 3 markers in each frame (one scanning field of view);
  • The markers must be stuck in a random, non-linear pattern;
  • Markers should be placed on flat surface areas and not be deformed in the process (e.g. can’t be placed on a corner).

Markers all over the Lexus’ grille.

Laser 3D scanning is certainly slow with a restricted field of view, but it will obtain good results where structured light simply does not work.

Note: Laser scanning with the EinScan HX requires markers and does not capture colours

Colour 3D scanning

The colour option only works with the structured light 3D scanning mode.

Textures (another name for colours) can be used to align different scans, which can be very useful when 3D scanning large objects with repetitive geometric patterns (like a heater or a car grille) or parts without any geometric patterns at all (like a painting, flat with only coloured information).