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  1. #1
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    Einscan-S initial review

    Hello everyone.

    If you are like me, you are itching to hear feedback about this exciting new scanner. I have mine now and have finished initial testing.

    First, I have to compliment the technical staff at Shining 3D for helping me with some instability issues I was having. They managed so far to fix the problem with a very small amount of information on my end so I'm very impressed with their technical support, they also responded the same day (at night) so they were fast too. This is a company on the other side of the world that speaks another language. I've had worse customer service in my own city.

    I will spend more time detailing my experiences with this scanner later, but for now this is what I've found:

    The turntable mode isn't nearly as useful, at least for me, as I would have thought it was going to be. The angle the table turns per scan is so large that the surface of the part had large voids when I use this mode. If you were scanning a part that didn't have any deep voids or was relatively simple, like a near spherical shape or a piston the table will probably work fine as it is. I have proposed that the software have an option to specify how many scans there will be per full rotation (thus determining angle) but I think Shining would like to focus on any instability problems more right now. I hope with more feedback from users we can get options like this added to the software, I guess we will have to see.

    Another drawback of the turntable mode is when the software decides to mesh the scan. In the videos they demonstrate adding another scan rotation to the model to add areas that were missed after the initial scan. It would be nice if the software would hold off the mesh-closing until after all additional scans have taken place. Not only would this save time, but the model would look better too, at least in theory.

    Free scan mode is great. You scan the part and as long as you have decent overlap, the software auto aligns much better than other software programs I have used. How well this works and the overall quality of the scans this unit takes easily pays for the machine. Where you have to be careful is with the colors of the part. Due to the nature of white light SLS and this setup, distinctly different colors will translate to actual surface deviation that isn't there. The easiest solution is to get a scanning spray that makes the whole part matte and uniform in color. Cast finishes on aluminum parts seem to scan very well and have a great color and finish as is, just for reference. If the part has black or reflective areas on it, likely you will get no data at all from those areas. This unit is pretty sensitive to color, though it does have a simple setting in the software to help compensate for bright and dull colors, and it does work, just forget about really dark colors. (Or colours, as we spell it here in Canada).

    Where this software is both really good and a little frustrating is with the meshing following scanning. Having played a bit with meshing software before I must say this is very impressive in how automated it is. It just seals up the model and your done. No menus, no messing around. This is great, when that is what you want. When it isn't great is when you really only wanted to scan a surface and just have that mesh for reference. No matter what you do (as far as I can tell anyway) the software will mesh up the scans into a solid before you can save. This may not be a huge deal as I can work around this with my modeling software but still it would be nice to have it optional, as the meshing to a solid takes time too, sometimes several minutes.

    Also, I'm not sure if I'm the only one that wasn't completely clear on this when I was initially thinking of investing in this scanner, this unit is not in any way handheld. Yes the new stand can be used as a handle for carrying it around but you can't scan with this scanner in your hand, this also means that you can't really scan anything that moves either. If you were planning on scanning people with this they better be able to be absolutely still for quite a while. Even a single scan takes several seconds. I was a little surprised how long the scanning itself takes, as many other SLS scanners are way faster (They are also way more money so I can live with it). Also, from my experimentation with other scanners, handheld always seems to come at a loss of accuracy vs that same unit stationary. Just something to keep in mind.

    In summary, this is an amazing scanner/software package for the price. The time the alignment processes save you alone make this software much better than many others out there. Even manually aligning a scan is dead simple, and fast. I have built alignment spheres and spent hours aligning scans from other units. This scanner doesn't need alignment markers of any kind and alignment is automatic and accurate so what little extra time it takes per scan is easily saved in post processing. The software is very deceiving... it seems basic because you can't really change settings, and there are very few options to speak of. Shining did this on purpose to make it easier to use. Despite how basic the software appears, it is very powerful and well thought out. It could use a few more options but for anyone that was worried the software was a deal breaker I can assure you it is well matched to the scanner. I know I've said it many times already, its scan alignment abilities are excellent.

    I highly recommend this scanner, and I hope all of you that are eagerly awaiting your scanner will enjoy it as much as I am!

    Regards,
    Dave
    NERV
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada

  2. #2
    A fantastic, well-written and objective review. Thanks. Would be great of you could upload some photos too (software screenshots, that sort of thing)

    Quote Originally Posted by Nerv View Post
    Or colours, as we spell it here in Canada
    ... the right way


  3. #3
    Engineer-in-Training Hugues's Avatar
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    Great review,

    I agree too i would like to have the option of savings a surface mesh without the software trying to make it water tight.

    As for the software: if you open the files that the software creates, with a text editor, they are in the einscan directory. I think they contain the point cloud data. In the header you can read: 3DScan3.0.
    Searching for this returned that link on youtube:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDneHjVpiJM

    it seems there is a more complete version of the software we use, i wonder if we can buy it.

    If the Shining3D team reads this, please let us know.

  4. #4
    Hey Dave
    Thanks for your post.
    I just got mine and I was under the impression from the promo that it had inbuilt editing capabilities.The promo shows a dude adding a head to a body in the software?
    am I missing something or am I correct?
    Agree re their response to questions but the language barrier makes it difficult.

  5. #5
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    See below, I double posted accidentally trying to fix the picture I imported.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6
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    Hello everyone,

    Neil, was the video you saw the EinScan or the EinScan-S? Not only do they look they same, but the names are pretty similar too! The scanners are completely different in so many ways, from software to actual physical construction and scanning methodology. To be honest, I was unaware of this and saw a video that led me to think the EinScan-S was handheld. The EinScan is, the EinScan-S is not. The EinScan is 15,000USD, and is more like an Artec Eva Light than the Einscan-S (Not only in how it works but price too!!).

    Back to the EinScan-S:

    The software included with this scanner is extremely restricted in what it allows the user to do. Adding a head which was scanned then to a separate scanned body is not possible within EinScan-S, that would have to be done in another program. You can't open files in EinScan-S software, you can't save projects or even go back steps. If you scanned a head in "free scan" mode and continued scanning the body with overlapping regions then it would allow you to align them on a scan by scan basis. Good luck with that though, the file will get so large the alignment will stop working and you can't save or go back and remove any data after each scan is taken so it'll be very time consuming and challenging to do all of that in EinScan-S software alone. I've made suggestions using other software I've used as reference as how they could improve on that, but I'm not getting positive feedback on how much they are willing to change the software. Too bad, I felt initially they were very interested in what we thought and in making the product better. I guess it does scan so they have delivered on what they said they would on Kickstarter.

    Shining 3D had in mind a very specific purpose for this scanner, which is to take a small object, scan it and then print it. When you try to do anything besides that, you have to get creative, and the software will start to give you heartburn.
    I'm trying to use it for scanning larger objects and work with much more scanning shots than they obviously had intended, so I'm running into walls every step of the way.

    If Shining3D would make one requested change that Hughes also mentioned is the option to save the file without the "water tight" meshing operation. This is the single biggest pain about the software as I'm dealing with it now.

    It would be very easy for them, I hope they hear our voices.

    In my case, I have other software that can easily handle working with the meshes, aligning, filtering, and so forth. When the EinScan-S software seals up the model it makes some giant guesses and tries to close all the holes. The problem is that every single vertex this creates is data based on mathematical assumption, at best. You can't trust it and it would be nice if it just wasn't there at all. I have requested they change this and I hope by posting on here more of you will also make this request. It takes hours for me to manually undo all the false data the "water sealing" operation does, and it also burns up time when you are finished scanning too. All the other little problems and restrictions with the software are tolerable, given the cost of the scanner and the quality of its output.

    Just for reference, I recently did a scan and the scanner picked up text on a cast surface that is only 0.2mm high. You can actually read the numbers. With the naked eye it actually isn't much clearer than the model, that is how impressive the accuracy of this scanner is. Getting it to do what you want takes practice. Once you get several scans in the auto-alignment stops working well, and if you manually align the scan it will not auto re-align. That doesn't surprise me though, if you are crazy enough to scan on the highly detailed mode you will have many tens if not hundreds of millions of points in only a few scans, and the software just can't handle it all for auto alignment. My solution has been to just run on the low detail scan setting, you can't even tell the difference on the scans I'm doing, they are still very highly detailed, and they don't have textures to trick you into thinking the data is better than it actually is. The meshes are awesome.

    This is a screenshot of actual scanned data. Took about ten scans to get that amount of data, this part is quite large, the area shown is around 280mmx200mm. If you have deep cavities you might as well forget about capturing them:



    The little odd bumps you see are actual casting flaws on the part, not errors in the scan.

    Also, buy a tripod, one that allows for all forms of movement and adjustment. The stand that comes with it is really only useful if you feel like scanning cantaloupe-sized objects on the turntable all day. I picked one up from London Drugs here in Calgary for $50 (Canadian Dollars). Use a slightly longer metric 5mm threaded bolt to attach the scanner though, otherwise the socket head cap screw that comes with the scanner will only be holding on by a thread or two. I hoard fasteners so I had one lying on the shelf. I also used just a small touch of mastic on the bottom of the scanner so it can't rotate on the base plate, since it is only attached by one bolt. It works great, I can even flip the scanner 45 or even 90 so it can get between fins if needed. It can handle cavities like fins, since the scanner is stereoscopic in nature with the projector and cameras all along one plane, but a cavity like a hole it just can't do.

    This is a shot of the mesh after I've brought it into CAD and simplified it:



    Once again everyone, please make a request to Shining3D that they change the "water sealing" to optional. When you start playing with this scanner you will see that the data gets too extreme to try to scan large objects in one scan, so to try to take multiple meshes and put them together in another program will get frustrating as you have to spend hours cutting out all the bad data that has been added. If you do have a scan that has no cavities and is pretty well covered on all sides with scan info before you finish though, the sealing will add little to nothing at all, but that is impossible on large parts.

    I hope this feedback is helpful for everyone,

    Dave

  7. #7
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    I found a solution to getting your scans to align as you finish your loop, but after many hours of scanning and building up a really nice scanned file the software crashed.

    Since it is not possible to save, everything is gone.

    I'll let you know if the software gets changed but as it is now, it is very frustrating. Just a heads up for everyone on the fence.

    Dave

  8. #8
    Hi There Dave (NERV)
    The scanner is a Einscan -S.
    Yeh I feel a little ripped off that it doesnt do what the video shows it doing.Hopefully they will modify the software and make it more user friendly.As a newbie to scanning I am on a 88degree learning curve and whilst I have been using a cnc router and 3dplotter the scanner is a bit daunting.I didnt realise the scan I did was waterproof until I tried to clean it up Netfabb.Still trying to work thru it. I did manage to print it on a raft even with a hole right thru the base plate.

    With Freescan (which i am yet to try)I am making a large turntable so I have control over the overlapping.I think it makes more sense moving the item than moving the scanner?

  9. #9
    Engineer-in-Training Hugues's Avatar
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    I don't use the turntable.

    I set my scanner on a tripod.

    I set the distance to the object by looking at the middle cross that is projected, to be in focus.

    I put talc on my object and distribute it evenly with a brush.

    I overlap my scan a lot, maybe as much as 50%. Make sure there are overlapping distinctive features in your scans, create some if needed by placing your object on a cardboard and cutting shapes into it.

    With this I get clean scans almost every time.

    Last tip: after a scan, if you see holes in the model, apply more talc on the hole before you start the next scan.

  10. #10
    Engineer-in-Training Hugues's Avatar
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    As for water tight scans, I don't bother anymore as I import my mesh into 3DCoat and work with voxels instead of mesh.

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