If you’re considering buying a professional 3D scanner, you’re likely to have come across those made by iReal 3D. Specifically, the iReal 2E handheld color 3D scanner and iReal M3 dual-infrared laser 3D scanner

iReal 2E VS iReal M3

This article will explain the differences between the iReal 2E and iReal M3, as well as how to choose the right 3D scanner based on your specific needs and goals.

Quick Verdict

Testing shows that the iReal M3 is capable of scanning humans and objects of different sizes and various materials with very precise accuracy, while the iReal 2E is designed for the human body and medium and large-sized objects larger than 30cm. 

The iReal M3 is the better option for very high-detail reproductions, with the iReal 2E more suited to projects where very intricate details are less important – like stoned sculptures and car floor mats, or if you don’t have the budget to use the M3.

The iReal 2E also requires a scanning spray to treat the surface to accurately scan black and reflective objects, while the M3 does not require this.

Differences Between iReal 2E and iReal M3

The common light source that both iReal M3 and iReal 2E utilize is infrared VCSEL structured light, referring to projecting infrared speckles for 3D reconstruction.

It supports invisible light scanning, hair scanning, and markers-free scanning (geometrical feature and texture data alignment), suitable for the human body and medium and large-sized sculptures.

Scantech 3D iRealM3 vs 2E scanner comparison

The newly-launched iReal M3 dual-infrared laser 3D scanner added a different light source – 7 parallel infrared laser lines. This is a real difference-maker. 

Some of the main advantages compared with the infrared speckle mode include:

  • No need to use scanning spray to treat the surface for most dark, black, and reflective objects.
  • Higher accuracy for edge reconstruction and better detail reproduction.

This new light source makes up for the lack of infrared speckle when scanning items, especially when scanning items for industrial design, and small objects of 5-30cm.

For a more in-depth look into the differences in the performance is shown in the detailed data comparison below. This shows how the new infrared system compares during the 3D object scanning process.

Material adaptability to white and reflective object:
Infrared parallel laser is advantageous resulting in better data quality and higher data integrity
Material adaptability to black and shiny tire:
Infrared parallel laser is advantageous resulting in finer details and higher data reproduction
Material adaptability to dark and shiny mouse:
Infrared parallel laser is advantageous resulting in more complete data and higher detail reproduction
Material adaptability and scanning capability of sharp edges:
It can scan the sharp edge accurately under the infrared parallel laser
Scanning capability of thin edges:
More data can be captured under the infrared parallel laser
Detail reproduction:
3D data with sharper edges and finer details is scanned under the infrared parallel laser

As is clearly shown from these test 3D scans, you can see there are sharper details on many of the objects that were scanned. This is especially apparent when the iReal M3’s infrared parallel lasers scanned sharp edges, and intricate details, and produced far better results than the iReal 2E’s scans.

Additionally, large improvements in 3D scanning quality were seen when the iReal M3 scanned black surfaces, and shiny light surfaces – which are traditionally difficult for 3D scanners to capture accurately. The iReal M3 captured these objects, such as the black tire, far better than the 2E managed.

Therefore, I recommend the iReal M3 if you are working in reverse engineering and product design, industrial design, or if you need to scan wider objects (above 5cm), items with intricate detailing or corners, and shiny metal parts.

However, if you are aiming to scan human bodies, and larger objects above 30cm, then the iReal 2E is a fantastic, cost-effective choice. 

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