Review

Creality CR-Scan 01 – 3D Printer for $687

The CR-Scan 01 is, as the name suggests, a 3D scanner from 3D printer manufacturer Creality. Scanning is supposed to be quick and easy, and no prior knowledge is required. We tried out the scanner ourselves.

I have quite a bit of experience with 3D printers, and have made hundreds of prints with well over a dozen models. 3D scanning, on the other hand, is more or less new territory for me. Can Creality pick me up right from the start with the CR-Scan 01, and can I also achieve good results with it (which I can even print in the end)? We’ll find out in my test of the scanner.

Shipping and packing

First of all, it should be said that there are two different packages. If you order only the scanner, you get the small box on the picture with the scanner and the necessary cable to connect it to the computer and the power supply. In the combo version, there is also a tripod and a motorized turntable, which then fit together with the scanner in the large cardboard box.

The packaging is unspectacular and functional. The individual components are all packed in gray foam in the white box, especially the actual scanner, which makes sense since the most sensitive components are installed here and it also makes up the main part of the value. Everything else is more or less just accessories.

Accessories

We’ll get to the scanner itself in a moment, first we’ll get an overview of what else is included in the package. The most important part is the power cord, which also serves to connect the scanner to a PC. For this purpose, it has a total of three connections: a plug that is plugged (screwed) into the scanner, a USB-A plug that goes into the PC, and a power plug with exchangeable heads for different sockets.

The plug is interchangeable and an EU plug, as seen here, is also included.

Two things are worth mentioning here. The connector on the scanner is fixed with two screws, just like you know it from VGA cables. The interchangeable power plugs are a smart solution to not having to rely on adapters or different versions for different countries. A total of 4 different plugs (CN, US, EU, UK) are included and once you have plugged in the one you need, you can put the rest away for now.

The scanner can be used in two ways, in freehand mode or on a tripod. For the former, no further accessories are needed, but for the latter, they are. So first we have here a tripod onto which the scanner can be screwed. A motorized, rotating platform for the object to be scanned is included, which is also connected to the scanner via cable. Yes, be prepared for some cables you’ll be running around the room. Between the power outlet, computer and scanner, it felt like a bit of an obstacle course in my study.

There is, of course, a manual in, well, reasonably passably translated English. Better than Chinese. How to set up the scanner, how the software and the scanning process work is explained here roughly, but sufficiently precisely.

The included USB stick contains both the CR Scan software and a text file with the serial number of the device, which is required for the setup. In addition, there are again the instructions in pdf. format as well as an stl. file with which you can print a holder with a handle for the scanner. (So Creality obviously assumes that you already own a 3D printer.

Uh, well, it’s better to print the holder with an FDM printer.

By the way, you don’t need the holder, you can also grip the scanner well with your hand.

Setup

To use the scanner, you need the CR Scan software and a computer that runs it. Since scanning and processing the data is not completely undemanding, your computer or laptop should have a certain performance. Creality itself specifies at least 8 GB RAM and a “graphics card with 2 GB”. Both of these are far from high-end these days, but still keep in mind that an office laptop you’ve been using for a few years might not be suitable for this. My laptop with 16 GB RAM (but only GeForce MX330 graphics card) gets warm in between, but has no problems with processing, apart from the fact that processing after scanning sometimes takes a few minutes.

The software is only available in English, but should not present any problems to anyone with at least basic knowledge. Install the program and follow the instructions of the short setup, in which you have to insert the text file from the USB stick, among other things. After that (and every time you start the program), you first choose whether you want to scan in “Table Mode” or “Hand Scan”. In both cases, the scanner must already be connected to power and to the computer.

Table Mode

The simpler mode, which is especially useful for the first scans. Since the object you are scanning is automatically rotated and the scanner stays at a fixed position, you don’t have to do much more than click “Start” in the software (okay, you do have to make a few settings). The object should also be sufficiently well exposed.

My first test object

Set up the platform and tripod in a suitable place. Note that you need some space, because the scanner and the object should be 60-80 cm apart. Also, as mentioned above, you need to connect the scanner to the motor with the included cable.

The tripod is slightly adjustable in height, the “head part”, to which the scanner is screwed, can be rotated freely. In the software, you can use the preview button to align the scanner to the object on the platform. A bit of trial and error helps here.

Then take the object from the plate and let the scanner capture the plate via “Initial”. Both is also explained in the manual. Once this is also done, you can click on Start. The platform will rotate and the scanner will start taking pictures and finish them on its own.

You will then see the result on the screen. The data must then be processed via “Process”. Afterwards they can be saved as .stl or .obj.

Freehand

The freehand mode works in the same way, except that you skip the alignment to the object or the plate completely. Instead, you hold the scanner in your hand and move yourself or the scanner around the object to be scanned. There are a few different things to consider here than when scanning with the scanner fixed in place.

You definitely need some space. I would clear 2.5 x 2.5 meters so that you can easily move around the object in a distance of one meter. The object (it can also be a person) should then be placed in the center and preferably on a somewhat elevated position. This can be a stool, but ideally you have even a narrower column or even a tripod. The advantage is that you can also capture the object well from below.

You should be able to place the calculator as close as possible. First, you are otherwise limited by the length of the cable. This is because the cable of the scanner must be connected to both the USB port of the PC and to a power outlet. Second, it helps to be able to see the display while scanning to better align the scanner with the object. If you are using a laptop and not a tower, it can be helpful to hold it in your hand so you have a little more room to maneuver.

The scan itself is exactly the same as in table mode. However, you can do without the preview and the capture (the buttons don’t even exist here). Instead, there is a 10 second time window right after the start, in which you can align the scanner. Then you move the scanner freely around the object. Move slowly and make sure that the object stays in the center of the image; the cross in the preview image in the application helps. If the scanner loses the object, a warning message will appear on the screen; however, you can simply realign the lens and the scan will continue.

Scanning

For the first scan, I took a figure about 9 cm tall. The target should not be much smaller; already at this size some details are lost. I didn’t adjust anything, just scanned and followed the steps. Already the first scan delivered satisfying results. It didn’t feel like there was much to do wrong here.

I have tried a bit with the few settings that can be made here, but I am definitely still at the beginning. Among other things, the rotation speed of the plate can be changed – not via software, but via a dial on the motor. The idea: slower movements allow more shots per rotation and produce a more detailed image. In practice, however, every change in speed produced a distorted result.

Freehand

Freehand scanning also worked pleasingly well. Here, however, I also gained some experience at the beginning.

The object should not stand on the ground – for several reasons. First, you can’t get the camera “under” the object. Here you will have gaps in the model, which, depending on their size, cannot be filled automatically. Secondly, the ground will be scanned as well. This is not a problem per se, but before processing the images, the ground must be removed. CR Studio can probably do this automatically, but at least here it was the end for my laptop. The process crashed the program every time.

View immediately after the scan…

The object on a tripod or the head of a person (not on a tripod but on the associated shoulders) worked better. Here, there is no ground or other background at all in the shot and the processing succeeds without problems.

…and the 3D model after processing

When scanning faces/heads, it helps to place the person on a rotating chair and rotate it instead of walking with the scanner. This is how I got the best results. I still have problems with hair, which the scanner unfortunately barely captures.

Printing

Printing should not be a problem if you already have a printer and have printed with it. Just put the stl.-file into the corresponding slicer and work on it as usual.

I used Chitubox and the Creality LD-006 and put the first scan in there right away. Adjust the size, add support structures, slice and off to the printer. At this point again a shoutout to the LD-006, which even after several weeks of printing break simply does the job at the push of a button in the first attempt. The Creality Halot One, which I’m currently trying out, gives me even more problems despite multiple leveling… but I digress.

Mini version of the original from the 3D printer

To make the print run faster I reduced the size, but in principle a print with the exact same dimensions would also be possible. But what you can see even in the smaller model is that not all details were captured. The hem of the robe on the chest or the individual fingers can only be seen in the beginning, the eyebrows not at all. And it is a comparatively simple object.

Price & conclusion after the first applications

The printer costs around $650 and with the accessory package (tripod and platform) almost $100 more. As far as I can estimate, the price is on a similar level as comparable devices. Upwards, the prices are open, you can also find scanners for $20,000 to $50,000 if you want. However, it is also possible to get it much cheaper, Kristian had his portrait scanned with an XBOX Kinect at that time.

The printer works in any case and is definitely easy enough to use without prior knowledge. With a little trial and error, the images turn out well. It then depends on what you want to do with it. Scan people and print their heads as a bust? That is no problem. A possible application would be creative birthday gifts or similar with the printed face of the recipient.

I’m still at the beginning and see a lot of room for improvement in the results of the scans. More will follow and will be added here in the article. If you already have experience with it or even a few tips, I’m happy about it in the comments.

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Jens

After joining the team in late 2015 I quickly fell in love with aerial photography. Today I review most of our drones. I'm also interested in gaming related gadgets.

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