Everything About Different 3D Scanning Technologies

3d scanning real-world objects and digitizing them into a 3D model is increasing with every passing day. Designers and engineers can use these digitized 3d models in a multitude of applications. The uses are many, whether it is importing real-life characters into games or creating a replica using 3d printing. 

CAD design companies are playing a pivotal role in multiple industries to streamline complex product designing and manufacturing tasks. For scanning an object with the highest level of accuracy, there are many 3d scanning technologies available in the market. Furthermore, with growing Industry 4.0 significance, more companies are moving towards 3d scanning as it offers several benefits.

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Importance of 3D Scanning Technology

3d scanning technology goes beyond the application of re-creating or designing complex objects with 3d printing. Be it preserving ancient art pieces from damage or restoring a damaged machinery part; this technology drives significant value. Especially in the healthcare domain, doctors can speed up treatment by scanning a patient’s body and find the exact issue. Whether treating a fractured skull or efficient knee replacement, 3d models help doctors to make accurate decisions.

With the introduction of this technology, animated movies have become more realistic and exciting. 3D scanning is closing the gap between the real-world and digital world with its advanced applications. The architecture & construction domain is among the biggest beneficiaries of this technology. Engineers can scan a building design and share the updated 3d model with clients within a few hours. In the automotive and aeronautics industries, 3d scanning helps engineers to test parts quickly & find out design flaws. 

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To help you pick the right technology, we’ve researched for you. Let’s check out different types of 3d scanning technologies available along with their unique advantages.

Types of 3D Scanning Methods

Four popular 3d printing technologies help companies accelerate their product manufacturing cycle.

Photogrammetry

This scanning technology involves taking photographs of an object from multiple angles and stitching them together. In this advancement, the photos are taken using a smartphone or any professional camera. Once the images are ready, they are merged using specialized software. The software recognizes pixels that correspond to the same point and gathers the pictures together.

In photogrammetry, engineers need to feed parameters like distortion and the lens’s focal length in the software to build an accurate model. You can take pictures from your phone and process them using software including Trimensional to create a model on your own.

The most significant advantages of using this scanning technology are higher accuracy and faster data capturing. One downside of this photogrammetry is that it requires a bit longer processing of the images through software. You need to have a good resolution camera that has higher DPI and resolution to deliver high-quality results.

Light-Based Scanning

It is a popular method to 3d scan an object and prepare a digital model. This method projects light onto a real-world physical object and measures the dimensions accurately. It’s a production method to recreate things in digital 3d models. There are primarily two light scanning technologies available in the market that companies use for 3d scanning.

The first light-based scanning technology projects patterns onto the component. However, the uneven object’s surface distorts the projected pattern. The advanced light scanner that project patterns measure these distortions and re-create them into a 3d model.

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The second light scanning method includes projecting a laser over the subject. The laser gets diverted due to varying angles depending on the object’s surface. Then, the scanner measures the different deflections’ angles and converts them into coordinates to form a 3d model. In simple terms, this technology creates a 3d mesh of the component. 

As this method is convenient and easy to use, it has become a popular 3d scanning method among designers. It’s quick to mount the scanner on a tablet device and start scanning the object.

Contact Scanning

Contact scanning method includes making physical contact with the 3d scanner and the object’s surface that will be scanned. First, the component is firmly held stationary to avoid any shaking. Then, the touching points of the scanner move across the object to collect dimensions to form a 3d model. Designers also use a robotic arm to control the moving probe & capture multiple angles.

This scanning method can accurately reflect a transparent surface, which makes it more usable across multiple industries. It’s a competitive advantage over other scanning methods. The contact scanning technique can capture various angles with a higher level of precision and intricate details.

One slight disadvantage of contact scanning is slower speed as the scanner touches the probe across all object sections. This scanning technology is used for quality control while performing industrial fabrication. Engineers can quickly scan the newly fabricated parts to check for any damage or deformations.

Laser Pulse Scanning

In this technology, the scanner projects a laser light over the object’s surface that’s being scanned. Then, the laser reflects & returns to the sensor, and the time between projection and reflection is calculated to collect geometric information.

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It’s a popular 3d scanning for product design as it offers high precision levels. Millions of laser dots are projected and received in a fraction of seconds. The laser pulse scanner has a mirror that lets laser beams change orientation to cover the entire object’s surface. It’s an ideal method to scan a large-size object or when the environment is spacious.

3D Scanning Tips to Follow

If you’re also trying your hands-on 3d scanning, we have got some valuable tips. Make the scanning operations streamlined and faster with these practices.

  • Avoid scanning reflective and transparent surfaces as it would only capture what’s visible behind the transparent layer. In addition, it might cause misinterpretation by the stitching software.
  • The lighting should neither be dull nor be bright as in both conditions; it will lead to poor quality images with unnecessary shadows. Therefore, always try to scan an object in natural lighting conditions.
  • Ensure your own shadow is not coming while scanning the object. The best way to avoid your shadow is to keep the component on a rotating platform to capture all angles.
  • If you’re using a hand-held portable scanner, then move it in a wave-like motion as it will help you capture a broader reflection spectrum.

Final thoughts

3d scanning is a powerful technology that several companies are using across multiple industries. From automotive to consumer products and health care — 3d scanning applications are growing at a pace. To have a competitive edge in product manufacturing, hire a 3d scanning service provider and get started. 

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