Well this thread got interesting quick
I like the reuse/renew theme going on throughout this thread. I just spent a year of nights and weekends rebuilding a 1978 International Harvester 484 Tractor that was ready to be hauled to the dump when I got it. It now looks and runs like the day it was manufactured and I am really proud of the accomplishment. While I thoroughly enjoyed the journey of its restoration, I wonder if bringing an older scanners back from the dead or keeping one going forever is the best thing to do or advise to someone new to the industry? My farming hobby needs are very small and this tractor that cost me a total of $2700 in parts (and my free time) will do the job, but if the job in this case is to be a functional and profitable part of this industry then I find it difficult to recommend purchasing an old scanner that will soon have no support/parts. If it does have a failure that you cannot repair then you might be out of business in an instant.
Let's go deeper...We now own 4 Faro scanners: 120s, X330, and two 350s. While my team uses a very large variety of other tools these 4 scanners remain "core" to our work. We still use the 120 as much as the rest and sometimes that is everyday. It is being used right now as I type this post! While I cannot attest to the reliability or usefulness of the BLK 360, I can say that the 120 is still very much our workhorse. It has proven to be an amazing machine and even with the few problems we have had along the way it ended up being tougher than we ever expected. It has been in some of the most extreme environments imaginable. There are so many scans on it I keep thinking the mirror is going to fly off at any point, but it doesn't care, it just keeps going much like the million-mile Toyota Tundra(s). In the course of 8 years of service "it went down," and was sent in for repair about 3 or 4 times. Its record is not flawless, but for how much this thing has been used I feel like it has an amazing track record of reliability. If you read between the lines you will find that record was only made possible because the device was under warranty and was repaired/calibrated so it could live on. We paid, and still pay dearly for that warranty, but I feel like it is an unavoidable cost of business if you cannot tolerate the time it takes to repair or replace.
I think maybe we should be asking the OP Jonathan Magal to describe his intended use?
If you plan on playing the weekend warrior or feel like you might use a scanner only a few times a year to support your "real job" then I might would consider the use of an old scanner knowing that the day it craps out you can just retire it on the shelf, buy another one for(cheap) parts, or tinker with them until you get one running. If you plan on using it frequently or like many of us, all the time, then I seriously think consideration of an adequate support/warranty system is almost imperative so you can keep you business alive...basically what John Bunn said, don't purchase either. Instead buy and M70 so they can help you keep it living longer.
Because I can't help myself, I will reinforce my point by broadly asking if any of us have older equipment currently lying on the shelf unused because either it is broken and too difficult to repair, or too antiquated to be practical for your business needs today? I find myself saying, "yes we do," and also saddened by the fact that we cannot find a way to reuse them even in a depreciated manner. When I first came to my current company I dusted off an old Topcon GTS 223 our surveyors considered "a boat anchor", had it calibrated and taught myself how to use it in a limited fashion without a data collector. Even got some extra batteries for it off ebay so we could use it on the occasional project. It is like the old tractor in that it feels good to make use of it again, but when it comes down to work that is anything beyond a few check shots on a small scan project where more survey control is needed it goes back to warming the bench so that the latest high tech and most practical equipment in terms of production can be used by our surveyors. Perhaps it just doesn't pay to use the older less productive equipment on the larger more complicated projects? Considering the age of our 120s and also the aging X330, we are currently faced with the decision to sell or trade them in for new units we know we need. The business decision has already been made to upgrade, but there is enough odd sentimental value in both of them that it has made the process difficult at best and I have stalled a bit. I honestly would prefer to see them live on somehow; even giving some consideration to keeping them knowing the consequences if and when they entirely stop working as it might be better than trading them in so they can sit in a warehouse and rot forever or worse be melted down as scrap
To make sure everyone is good and exhausted after reading and thoroughly confused about how I stand on this topic I will tell one more story. A friend of mine who is a member of this forum still uses an old Leica Scan Station! His use is limited as the scan projects only come along every so often. I get calls from him every once in a while to help with certain logistical and software related things, but instead of telling him he is wasting his time using that old scanner we have diligently worked together to find ways to make it usable and relevant even today. We laugh about the whole thing, knowing that it is all kind of ridiculous, but we simply cannot help ourselves when both the equipment and its use for the simpler projects still "works." Still making money and helping people out with a relic that deserves to be in a museum...I don't know why, but I have come to consider his effort almost heroic while also being hilarious.
Last thoughts, I swear. This thread is underlined by more complicated matters of consumerism vs. reuse/renew, and even perhaps planned obsolescence vs. right to repair issues. For some of us there is also a subtle nostalgic element that makes me reflect on what would posses somebody like Jay Leno to collect all those old cars. I respect the need for the manufactures to make money as a part of their business, even on calibration and repairs and of course new products, but please let it be known that even though a piece equipment gets old and by your judgement perhaps useless, there is a strong desire to continue using them somehow. If you can somehow support or facilitate this bizarre need to keep them going without damaging your future sales and business growth then many of us would be grateful. I hope that the people that built all the devices I mentioned reads this and gets a chuckle about how long lived their products have been, while realizing the ramifications of their own success. It would seem like you are faced with the dilemma of designing and building devices that might last forever while the survival of your company may demand future sales that could be negatively impacted by the extended use of your existing products. Conversely, Some might say that long life is your best marketing tool for those future sales. I really don't know how to balance that equation or even if it can be, because insatiable human desire is involved.
If after reading this you are not confused and you "get it," then please enlighten me. I wrote this mess, and I am still a bit confused. Surely these product life cycle issues have already been studied, and written about in-depth in many other industries?
Jonathan Magal, I have no idea if this was helpful to you, but I honestly hope it was not a waste of your time