Value 5
Design 5
Experience 5
Price 5

The 3D Systems iSense allows you to convert your iPad into a physical photography camera, allowing you to use it to scan on-the-go. Users simply attach the iSense to an iPad, then walk around and scan entire objects or environments, obtaining a digital copy of the surroundings or subject. Unlike other 3D scanners, you don’t ..

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3D Systems iSense

Price: $499

“Overall, the iSense earns the top spot on our list of 3D scanners in its class because of the factor of cool design, among other things.”

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3D Systems iSenseThe 3D Systems iSense allows you to convert your iPad into a physical photography camera, allowing you to use it to scan on-the-go. Users simply attach the iSense to an iPad, then walk around and scan entire objects or environments, obtaining a digital copy of the surroundings or subject. Unlike other 3D scanners, you don’t have to be stationary or place your subject in a box to get a good scan. Within minutes, 3D data captured by the camera can be converted into printable files, with quick editing and cropping tools integrated into its software.

As one of the first, yet ever-progressing names in 3D printing and scanning, 3D Systems is also growing a cloud-sourced on-demand database of custom print instructions, using materials including plastics, metals, ceramics and edibles. Working with integrated 3D scan-based design, 3D Systems is making great strides in the world of 3D printing. Experiments are also being conducted in freeform modeling, printing digital thread for personalized surgery and patient-specific medical devices. 3D Systems prides itself on its efforts, and for good reason. As the future of manufacturing, 3D printer users and designers are making a more efficient way to design and manufacture products, and 3D Systems is near the front of the pack.

3D Systems has developed the iSense, a truly remarkable product. It brings the art of 3D capture and physical photography from the lab and workshop to the hands of the consumer. Not only has it made these capabilities more available, but it has cut the tethers, allowing 3D capture to hit the streets. The power of mobile 3D scanning is now available on your iPad, iPad Air or iPad mini (as long as it is equipped with Retina Display), and the iSense handles the power well. Created by Occipital and powered by Structure Sensor technology, the iSense is ready to roll. You might remember Structure Sensor from its groundbreaking 2013 Kickstarter campaign, which gathered over 300% of its $100,000 goal very quickly. The investment was used to develop the first portable, iPad compatible 3D scanner.

The iSense is fully compatible with the Cube line of 3D printers, which makes printing easy for those familiar with the Cube printing system. Also, the iSense can be used with apps and software designed for Occipital’s Structure Sensor. Further ease is implicated in its simple attachment to your iPad and the ability to turn your scanned images into printable files in minutes. Wherever you are, you can use your iPad to turn your environment into creativity. It is clear that the iSense, in all aspects, was designed to be user-friendly for consumers and professional users alike.

With a scan distance of 3.5 meters and a view field of 58 degrees (height) by 48 degrees (vertical), the iSense is ready to scan items both small and large. 3D systems touts this flexibility by marketing the ability to scan items ranging in size, “from shoes to SUVs”, giving it the “most versatile scan range in its class”. In numbers, that equates to a scan volume of 0.2 x 0.2 x 0.2m minimum, 3 x 3 x 3m max. Intuitive design uses automatic object recognition to be able to extract precise targets from the busiest of backgrounds. With a built-in battery, you don’t have to worry about the iSense draining your iPad battery. This battery has a three to four hour life if you are actively scanning. The battery pack will hold its charge for more than 1000 hours on standby.

Most important are the implications of this technology being developed in this medium and what it means for the future of 3D scanning. With this product, 3D Systems has knocked down a huge door. With its availability as an iPad companion, the sky is the limit, due not only to the magnitude of Apple products, but to what happens to these products as they are improved and developed. Historically, the track record of Apple, like that of 3D Systems, is pioneer, develop, perfect and re-release. One would assume that the only way for 3D scanning to go is up, and the iSense seems to be propelling the technology to the next echelon.

Of course, since the technology is new, it is yet to be seen how the public will take to it. Substantial growth has been seen in the 3D scanning world, even in the past year. 3D printing has never been a hobby for the penny-pincher, and a $499 price tag added to the cost of an iPad does not help the case. However, for most 3Ders, the price tag is no hindrance. Overall, the iSense earns the top spot on our list of 3D scanners in its class because of the factor of cool design, among other things. On the market, however, iSense earns its top spot because of what it brings to the industry in the way of innovation and marketability. So we present the 3D Systems iSense, the iReviews top pick for 2015 best 3D scanner under $1,500.

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  1. Herman February 19, 2015

    Since you have omitted what file types are created by the iSense, I can only guess that it will only work with cubify software and is therefor limited to being used with their printers only. I have a lulzbot and since I already have an iPad air, this would have complemented my printer usage greatly. Guess I’ll just have to keep wating.

  2. Tom Sowell March 4, 2015

    I have a similar question, will the iSense only work with a single vendor’s printer or will it generate, STL files for open market use?

  3. Brandon March 9, 2015

    The FAQ on Cubify’s website says that the iSense creates STL, OBJ, and PLY files for any 3D printer, not just theirs.

  4. Eric March 11, 2015

    CUBIFY ISENSE… Let the buyer beware…

    Cubify is having problems with Isense. Current version of software not working well which has made my unit unusable. Shelled out $600 for a 3D scanning package that doesn’t work. To add insult to injury, they won’t allow returns… They will however sell you a product that doesn’t work and keep your money when you ask to return the unit. Their position is that no matter how defective, no returns. Period….. Incredibly short sided. Do they not realize that a satisfied customer will tell one, may’be two people of their experience. A dissatisfied customer will tell 10 or more, or in the case of the blogosphere… countless thousands….

    • Christoph April 7, 2015

      I have to agree on this one : got mine a year ago and the scanning results are far from good. I don’t think there has been a software update since the beginning. It looks good in the video’s but in real-life this is a bummer. €600 waisted.

    • Hoquet 3d December 2, 2015

      I was just about to purchase one until I read your review. It doesn’t work and no refund whatsoever. It doesn’t sound like they stand behind their product.

  5. Steve April 19, 2015

    i have the same problem as Eric. Software doesn’t work properly. They claim they are working on new software that was suppose to be available in March. Nothing yet. So I have a $500 scanner that remains in the box, frustrated.

  6. Ralph April 20, 2015

    Did you realize that Occipital scanner and Sense scanner have the exact same advertising video!!!!!!!! What a fake!!

  7. Lindsey Hogan November 6, 2015

    BUYER BEWARE!!!!! This company is terrible. The scanner only exports OBJ files without complicated file conversion processes. Yes-I read the FAQ too. It’s not true. You have to use the Sculpt software (another $150ish) to use the software too, which is only compatible with PCs. Additionally-the quality is poor. Worst part? NO RETURNS!!!! Do not buy from this company!!!

  8. anup kumar May 20, 2016

    i want to buy iSense 3d scanner.
    As i wanted to scan full body…
    but i cant see any video on you tube on full body scan…

  9. Bill June 25, 2016

    DON’T BUY IT! No support. No updates!

  10. Shona Crawford July 8, 2016

    I recently bought an Ipad and isense scanner specifically to use the scanner with my two lulzbot printers. Ok, i am new to these items so am still learning the basics – but can someone PLEASE tell me where I can get access to my saved scan files! Getting pissed off cos the memory is now low and can’t do any more scans.

    • Digital Imagination July 31, 2016

      Connect Ipad to PC. Sign into Itunes on PC. Click Phone looking icon near top of middle of screen. Click apps under ipad name on left side. Click Isense icon on pic of ipad apps screen on right. Click word Isense in list in middle of screen. Scroll down on right until reach File Transfer. Select files then click save to and select save location.

  11. Digital Imagination July 31, 2016
  12. SGJ August 18, 2016

    I ordered an iSense from the 3Dsystems website. I then discovered that the Structure Sensor (same hardware but sold by the original developer Occipital) had just received a great app update to greatly improve the scan quality by reducing errors. I got in touch with Structure to ask if I could use this app on my iSense. They replied that the iSense firmware was incompatible with their apps. I then reached out to 3Dsystems and asked them when they were planning on releasing a similar update, and pointed out that their website still says that the Structure Sensor apps will work on the iSense which was no longer true. They replied to say that they would not be releasing any further updates since the iSense was soon to be obsolete. I immediately cancelled my iSense order (it hadn’t been shipped yet) and instead ordered a Structure Sensor from Occipital. I would much rather buy the product from a vendor that is continuing to make improvements.

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