3D scanning is the process of using technology to capturing the three-dimensional shape of an object, surface or area. The term “3D Scanning” is usually referring to the act of capturing the raw information of whatever is being scanned, usually in the form of point clouds or images. This could be called the “collection” stage. Once this raw scan data is collected, it gives us the opportunity to gain knowledge either by taking measurements from the data, or create 3D models and visualizations from the digital scan. This could be called the “processing” stage. A convenient aspect of scanning is that the processing can be done at a different time or place than when or where the scan was done. So teams equipped and trained to do 3D scanning can efficiently capture large quantities of scan data, and the processing can be done in the office at a later date by those specialized in such things.
3D scanners range greatly in range, accuracy and speed. Some scanners can capture color, making very realistic renderings and visualizations possible. There are many types of 3D scanners commercially available today. Some of the main categories of scanners include include: 3D Articulated Arm laser scanning, long range laser turret scanning, Industrial CT Scanning, Structured Light scanning, Photogrammetry and Long Range Scanning. Photogrammetry scanning is a broad category that can include image data from drones, consumer cameras, and industrial cameras. Some scanners incorporate a combination of cameras, lasers and projected structured light.
There are many industrial applications for the exciting field of 3D scanning, such as:
- Object Reverse Engineering
- First Article Inspection
- 3D Topography Mapping
- Scanning of Buildings for Architectural Planning & Engineering
- Plant and Factory As-Built Drawing Creation
- And Many More.
3D scanning is not without limits. Different types of scanning methods have different trade-offs as far as speed, resolution and accuracy. It is our job to be aware of the limitations of the technology and take great care to select the best scanning method to meet your requirements in the most cost effective manner.