Basics of 3D Scanning and Printing

3D Scanning services and 3D printing tag team

What’s all the commotion about 3D scanning and 3D printing?  How do they work? What is the difference between the two? These are good starter questions for people who don’t really know beans about one or the other. It would be good to begin with a few basic ideas about 3D scanning services and 3D printing. Basically, these are two related technologies that do the opposite. 3D scanning takes an object in the real world and makes it into a digital object. 3D printing, on the other hand, takes a virtual object and turns in into a real physical object. In a sense you could say that the combined technologies can basically replicate an object.

The ways of 3D Scanning services

The first part of the process is 3D scanning services. There are two basic ways that this can be done. The first way is the old slower way. This method uses a machine with something like a mechanical arm that touches the object to get measurements. This method is a bit slow and outdated. Capturing a complete model using this method is tedious and inefficient compared with newer methods. A much better method for capturing a 3D image of an object is to use non-contact methods like 3D scanning services. This method uses light or a laser beam measure the shape of an object. This method is much more preferable to physical contact methods because of its speed and precision. A 3D scanner works by triangulating the reflected light of the object. Millions of these measurements can produce a 3D object. The next step is to prepare that information to be send to the printer. Preparation can include modifying the object or re-scaling the size, then it is time to use the 3D printer.

What goes on after 3D scanning

The 3D printing process does just the opposite of the 3D scanning services part. A digital object has been created, modified if necessary, and is ready to be reproduced. A 3D printer work simply by adding a certain material layer by layer until it forms the object. This process can take a number of hours depending on the size of the object and the type of printer.  The larger the object, of course, the longer it will take to print it out. If you are hoping for a Star Trek style replicator that spits things out instantly, you may have to wait a few years for that.

So those are the basics of 3D scanning services and 3D printing. It is really not difficult to see the benefits of such technologies. A 3D scanned copy of any object can be send to anyone and everyone to use. That is not true of the actual object. Not only that, but it is much more convenient to modify an object using a CAD model, and then try to build physical models. This can save designers and manufacturers lots of troubleshooting time. It can also give amateur designers a way to improve their designing skills without have to spend a lot of money.

Keep reading: more articles about 3D scanning

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