At $600, the Matter and Form 3D Scanner is probably the cheapest 3D laser scanner on the market. While the system does require some tweaking to get great scans, I was quite pleased with the scanning results and, more important, thing this thing can stand up to the big boys in 3D scanning.
Most 3D scanners use a turntable to rotate and scan objects. Like the impressive Makerbot Digitizer the Matter and Form “reads” objects with lasers and then creates a three dimensional point cloud. This cloud can then be rendered into a 3D object, allowing you to print or modify it on your computer.
While I did have some trouble on initial scans, I cleaned up the environment and allowed the scanner to “see” only the object in front of it and not the mess behind. This means you should probably do your scanning against, say, a white wall rather than against a cluttered backdrop.
If you’re interested in 3D printing at all I’d recommend either the 3D Systems Sense Scanner or the Matter and Form. While it’s not perfect, it’s a fascinating tool and a lot of fun for the price.