Common Misconceptions About 3D Scanning


While we would all like instant results, the reality is that multiple scans must be aligned to produce a single unified scan file. This process takes time, whether it is for a building, interior, or an object. Typically it may take a week or more after the scan date.Large areas and/or lots of rooms require more scans and require additional time to generate the results. Any requirement for deliverables in addition to a point cloud will also require more time. In the case of object scanning, watertight results that are typically required for 3D printing may also require additional time.


Scanning collects millions of points of 3D data, which must then be interpreted to generate the CAD file. The CAD file is produced in a secondary process, after the scans have been aligned. This is a manual process requiring a skilled technician to generate the 3D models and/or 2D drawings.
There are some automated methods to convert scans to CAD; however, the usefulness is typically limited and 99% of the time it is a human that produces the CAD files.


While its true that 3D scanning captures a lot of information, it is quite possible that desired detail can be missed in the scanning for a number of reasons.
– No line of sight (if you can’t see it from a specific location, the scanner can’t see it)
– Highly reflective (ie mirror or polished) surfaces or transparent surfaces
– Too far
– Too close
– Physical interference of the scanner with the item (object scanning)

Its possible to address some or all of these issues in advance of the scanning. Therefore presenting complete information, accurate site conditions, and clear scope in advance of the scanning can help to minimize areas that cannot be captured.


Accuracy comes at a price in both dollars and time. It is best to define the LEAST accuracy required for a project.

We hear frequently “I want it to be as accurate as possible”. Usually we interpret this as the accuracy has not been specified in advance. This will prompt us ask for a specific accuracy requirement. If the accuracy requirement is unknown, we can state the deliverable accuracy as part of the quote.


We understand that a familiarity with equipment can lead to requests for “Model X” scanner because our customer has used it in the past with good results. If we have enough detail about the project in the scope, we can determine what scanner we have in our inventory that is appropriate for the project. We can explain why our scanner can provide results as good or better than “Model X”.

There are of course times we must use “Model X”. For example, an environment may have flammable gas and a specialized scanner must be used so that its operation does not result in any possibility of igniting the gas.

Specialized requirements for scanning equipment may increase the cost for scanning.


We get many requests for rate sheets and while can give a daily or hourly rate, the truth is that daily or hourly rates will be relatively meaningless to one unfamiliar with the work. If you want to fit the cost to a budget the best way is to provide specifics so that we can provide a comprehensive cost.
This includes diagrams of the area with approximate dimensions, indication of the level of detail, photos, and description of the deliverable requirement with any CAD clearly specified.

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