3d input devices
the microscribe digitizer pen is useful for measuring and curve scanning. this means that you can generally reproduce surfaces (from points and curves) with most CAD tools.
microscribe 3dxl digitizer pen
the nextengine 3d scanner is a significant time commitment to use. despite having just been installed on a pretty nice new pc, the software occasionally quits to complain that the graphics card is an NVIDIA GeForce 7300, and not a 7900. if the software does let you do a clean run, the results can be rewarding. give yourself a few hours to use this tool.
nextengine 3d scanner
ps - chances are reasonable that your hands, eyes, and brain are better - at evaluating an object and producing a mathematical representation that can be expressed using your favorite CAD tool - than a 3d surface scanner is. if you want a copy of something that has functional attributes extending beyond the way it looks, then you're probably going to spend a lot of extra time by surface scanning. if you want a 3d photograph, then have at it!