3D Scanning FAQ

3D Laser Scanning Services faq

Whether you are interested in 3D laser scanning services, need information to win your next trivia game, or are just curious about the vast and varied world of 3D technology, we at Arrival 3D wants to be your one-stop destination for information on laser scanning technology.  

Here’s a no-nonsense list of frequently asked questions about 3D scanning services. 

the basics

what is the 3d laser scanning process?

1. Data Acquired via Laser Scanning
We conduct the 3d scan on site, capturing as many scans as necessary to fully cover the object(s) of interest.

2. Resulting Point Clouds Registered
Each scan appears as millions of points called a “point cloud”. These point clouds are “registered’ or stitched together to create a total 3D representation of the object(s).

3. Useful Information Extracted
Using various software tools, the point cloud data is converted into the desired deliverable format. This could be 3D CAD models, animations, 2D CAD drawings, or a print-to-3D ready model.

4. Result Delivered to Customer
The final result, whether it be a CAD model or animation, is delivered to the customer in a timely manner.

benefits of 3d laser scanning

  • Map out structure, piping and conduit to accurately plan changes to your facility
  • Engineer new product prototypes
  • Perform first article inspection, verifying that the part was built as designed
  • Create a 3D CAD model complete with 2D drawings having only the part for reference
  • Create a BIM model for building renovation
  • Make digital modifications to parts by changing their size or adding/removing features
  • Closely analyze parts for subtle flaws and fitment issues

when would you use laser scan services?

There are many situations where 3D scanning is the ultimate solution, including: 

  • You are developing an apartment complex by re-purposing an old school
  • You are adding a new product line to your factory and need find space for new piping
  • You have a mold that you have been using for 30 years and have no drawings for it
  • You need a quick way to produce plan drawings of an old house


who uses 3d laser scanning?

  • Power Plant engineers
  • Oil & Gas Engineers & Operators
  • Builders, Developers & AEC Companies
  • Facility Managers
  • BIM Managers and Architects
  • Aerospace Engineers (ie: NASA)
  • Machinists and Mold Makers
  • Inventors, Entrepreneurs & Product Designers
  • Quality Managers
  • Forensic Engineers & insurance Companies
  • Law Enforcement Agencies
  • Artists & Sculptors
  • Archaeologists
  • Scientists & Researchers
  • Dental and Orthopedic Doctors
  • Game Designers
  • Virtual World Creators
  • Marketing Directors
  • Many More

How does a laser Scanner work?

A 3D laser scanning equipment used to scan a building will be a tripod mounted instrument that transmits pulses of laser light through a spinning mirror. Scanners used for parts usually project a light pattern or laser line and have cameras that observe the projected light to acquire the 3D shapes.

the concerns

are laser scanners safe?

Our on-site laser scanning processes uses eye-safe instruments for most cases. For flammable environments, we use an explosion-proof scanner. 3D scanning promotes safety because it permits you to take measurements from a safe distance from you plant hazards.

will laser scanning damage my part?

No. 3D Laser scanning is a non-contact technique. For highly reflective parts, we may coat the part with a light talcum powder which is easliy removed.

how accurate are 3d laser scanners?

Is there a size limit?

If you ask us if we can scan a part as big as X, the answer is nearly always yet. We have different types of scanners that can capture a wide range of sizes. There is a very broad range: from about the size of a kernel of corn to the size of a very large industrial facility. For example, a mile-long assembly line would be no problem. For one California customer, we scanned five miles of conveyor belts.

the logistics

what types of output files can be obtained?

Popular output formats include Autodesk Revit, DWG, STP, IGES, Solidworks SLDPRT, STL for 3D printing, AutoCAD, XYZ,  ReCap point clouds and many more. Here is a more extensive list of the file formats you can get from 3D scanning services.

How long does laser scanning take?

The shortest turnaround for a small scanning project is usually about 1 week, but every project is different so we would need to review your requirements. If CAD modeling is involved, the turnaround time varies according to complexity. 

how much does laser scanning cost?

There are many factors influencing the cost of 3D scanning so costs are often unique to each project. Small long range scanning projects can start in the $3,000 range, and part scanning typically starts in the $500 range. Here’s a complete list of reasons why costs vary so much. The cost is usually broken into two parts; the cost of the scan capture itself and the cost of turning the scan into your desired delivery format. CAD file creation can vary a lot from part to part, even ones that are the same size. 

arrival 3d services

what types of laser scanners do you use?

We use some of the best 3D scanners available. And if we don’t have it, we know where to get it.

What software does arrival 3d use to analyze and process laser scans?

We use a variety of software tools including Geomagic, GOM, Leica Cyclone, Autodesk Revit, Autodesk Civil 3D, Pix4d and other tools for 3D scan processing. 

Do You Rent laser SCanners?

We only provide the service, we do not rent equipment. However a good way to get started with scanning is to hire us first. Our field engineers are more than happy to explain the process and let you watch. 

Why Choose us for laser Scanning Services?

We offer high accuracy, quick turnaround, and professional quality results. We maintain an array of 3D scanning equipment and select the best 3D scanning technology for your application.

resources to get started

Check out our learning center to find a plethora of information on 3d scanning, CAD modeling and other subjects related to 3D technology that have been helpful to us. We hope that they will be helpful to you as well. 

point cloud in color

need more information?

Did we answer all of your questions about 3D scanning services? If we missed one, comment below! It’s our hope to be your one stop source for information on 3D scanning services.

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    Depending on the type of scanning, accuracy can range from 1/8″ for building scanning and .0005″ for industrial ct scanning. The typical accuracy for an average part is about .005″. The question of expected accuracy is best answered once we have a clear understanding of the project.

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