Glossary

Here list of 3D technology terms to keep in mind:

  • 2D Drawing – A 2D drawing shows an object or space from a single perspective and does not have any height. They can be different views of a 3D model. An example would be a floorplan or a section view of a part.
  • 3D Laser Scanner – An instrument that either line laser beams or pulses to capture the shape of objects and environments.
  • 3D Modeling – 3D modeling refers to process of building CAD models from available information which can include 3D scan data, 2D drawings or sketches.
  • 3D Scanner – There are many types of 3D scanners, but they all capture the real-world shapes or spaces and store the information digitally in the form of a point cloud.
  • 3D Scanning – 3D scanning is the process of using a 3D scanner to accomplish a goal such as measuring the shape of a part or building.
  • Accuracy – The accuracy of a scan is a number representing the degree of difference between the measured value obtained by the scanner to the correct measurement. All scanners have some degree of inaccuracy, but some are much better than others.
  • Alignment – The process of rotating a 3D scan or 3D model into the desired orientation or coordinate system. Most scanning processes require alignment at some point to “square up” the data.
  • As-Built – An as-built drawing is a reflection of how an object or structure was actually built. Nothing is ever built exactly as designed, and ad-built drawings and 3D models are a way to document what was actually created.
  • Auto Surfacing – An autosurface model is an automatic modeling process that uses the scan directly to “shrink -wrap” it resulting in the creation of a NURBS surface that can be exported as generic STP and IGES solid models.
  • CAD – Computer Aided Design. There are a number of different CAD programs on the market. It is frequently easier for a customer to utilize CAD files as opposed to raw 3D scan data, so we can convert scans to your desired CAD format.
  • Color Map – A color map utilizes colors to represent how two things compare, such as a 3D scan compared to an idealized CAD model. They often help visually depict flaws or problems very well.
  • Datum – Datums are reference features on a part that are used to align 3D scans and 3D models correctly when performing things like GD&T inspections.
  • Decimation – Decimation reduces the density of points and polygons in 3D scans and 3D models. Ideally it is done in a way to reduce file size without excessive loss of detail in the scan.
  • Deviation – Deviation refers to a difference between two things being compared, such as scan-to-CAD or scan-to-scan. Overall deviation is best represented as a color maps or section overlays
  • “Dumb” solid – A “Dumb” solid is a model created through surfacing tools such as an autosurface. They can be exported to generic formats such as STP and IGES, but when imported into CAD programs, they do not have a feature tree, limiting editing to operations such as cutting, offsetting scaling, etc.
  • Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing Inspections – These are very thorough inspections where each specification and dimension are measured and reported on as to whether the value is within its allowed tolerance range.
  • Hybrid Surface Model – A hybrid model is created by taking an autosurface or other “dumb” solid and using feature-based modeling tools to enhance it with features. An example would be cutting clean holes into a scan of an ergonomic handle.
  • IGES The Initial Graphics Exchange Specification is a vendor-neutral file format that allows the digital exchange of information among computer-aided design (CAD) systems. See also STEP.
  • Inspection – Inspection is the process of measuring a part to determine whether it has any flaws by comparing it to an idealized version or intended design of the part.
  • Mesh – A mesh is a collection of vertices, edges and faces that defines the shape of a polyhedral object in 3D computer graphics and solid modeling. Raw scan point clouds are usually converted to meshes using 3D scanning software
  • Noise – Noise is a result of poor scan quality and produces surface defects on the scan. We can use software tools to greatly reduce the effects of noise.
  • NURBS – Non Uniform Rational Basis, or Bézier Spline. NURBS models can be converted to STP and IGES formats, so they tend to be more compatible with CAD software. Usually they are used for organic shapes that would be hard to model using feature-based models.
  • Parametric Model – Parametric models retain a feature tree, making them more easily editable. They also tend to be of higher quality and are desired for molding and manufacturing applications.
  • Photogrammetry – The process of obtaining 3D models from photographs. It is also used to increase the accuracy of certain types of scanning using photographs of coded targets.
  • Precision – The repeatability of performing a measurement.
  • Point Cloud – A point cloud is a text file used to store XYZ coordinates obtained by a 3D scanner. They are usually converted to a more usable format such as a CAD file or polygon model for 3D printing.
  • Poly-mesh – see Mesh.
  • Reference Markers – These are stickers that are placed onto the part for certain types of scanners requiring targets for positioning.
  • Registration – The process of aligning multiple scans together to create the whole object or space.
  • Rendering – A rendering is a realistic, high quality snapshot of an object or space that is used for visualization purposes. It is usually provided in an image for video format.
  • Reverse Engineering – Reverse engineering is the process of extracting CAD models from scan data. It is done in a way that ignores flaws in the part to try to arrive at the original designer’s intentions.
  • Scan – To scan is to use electronic devices to measure a part and capture its shape in digital form.
  • Shell – To shell a model or scan is to offset its surface in either direction to create thickness. It is useful for creating parts that are hollow inside, or creating a thick part from a one-sided scan.
  • STEP – Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data is a generic CAD format that has been around a long time and is compatible with most CAD software programs. See IGES.
  • STL – Standard Tessellation Language. STL models are the most common format for working with raw scans. It is also the format that is used for 3D printing.
  • Talcum Powder – Talcum powder is often applied to the part prior to scanning to reduce its reflectivity. It is often sprayed on with an aerosol can and is suspended in acetone which evaporates leaving the powder. It can be wiped or washed off easily,
    usually leaving no marks or damage.
  • Targets Targets are used for scan alignmnet during the registration process. They can also be used during scanning for self-positioning of the scanner
  • Time of Flight – A time-of-flight scanner is a long range laser scanner that uses timed laser pulses to acquire point cloud information. They are slower than phase-based scanners but usually have longer range
  • Touch Probe – A touch probe is the tip of a CMM (Coordinate Measuring Machine), sometimes called a ruby.
  • Videogrammetry – The process of extracting 3D models from video information.
  • Watertight – A watertight mesh is fully enclosed with no holes and is suitable for things like 3D printing.
  • White Light Scanning – White-light scanners project patters of ordinary light from the projector bulb (as opposed to lasers) onto the part, and then observe the how the patterns change as they are passed over the part. Special software can process the images and information into highly accurate 3D models. object.