The Importance of 3D Scanners

by Jason King on December 16, 2012

3D Scanning Device3D scanner devices examine the real-world environment or objects and collect data on its shape and its appearance. The collected data is used to create three dimensional models in a digital format.

Laser based scanning technology captures the complex shapes and a CCD camera records the data.

There are many technologies that work behind these 3D scanning devices but every technology has its own advantages, limitations and costs.

Today, the most modern innovations in 3D scan technology are being used to provide the best possible solution for a wide variety of needs.

These scanners find extensive use in the entertainment industry for the production of video games and movies. Some other common application can be found in industrial designing, reverse engineering, prosthetics, orthotics etc. Many of these devices carry full automatic scanning, for completely automated custom solutions. There are multi-axis rail structures for maximum efficiency as well as 2-axis rotary tables for smaller parts. Many of these devices make use of green lasers for enhanced accuracy and lower noise.

There are a number of technologies that are used in three dimensional scanners. For example contact and non-contact 3D scanners. Contact 3D scanners scan the object that lies in contact with the surface plate. Non contact scanners make use of radiation such as light, ultrasound or x-ray to probe an object. Non-contact 3D scanners are further classified into two main kinds, passive scanners and active scanners.

Applications of 3D scanner are wide and getting more intensive. Laser Scanners are being used to scan an exterior of buildings with the help of laser technology. The scanners find extensive use in construction and civil engineering for designing, building bridges, making monuments and industrial plants. These also prove to be very helpful in documentation of historical sites.

Microtomography, computed tomography, medicine and MRI all make an use of 3D scanners for acquiring a digital representation of objects and their interiors. They are used to study biological and paleontological specimens and are used in reverse engineering.

In dentistry, these scanners are used capture the 3D shape of a patient and the CAD/CAM software is used to design and manufacture dental implants. Digitisation of real-world objects in different application domains is of great importance as it helps in measuring geometric dimension accurately. Many Industrial products are complex and are based on CAD. For example, a modern car has many complicated parts that must fit and work together. 3D scanners help in maintaining an excellent degree of automation for quality assurance.

The benefits of three dimensional scanning are many. The demands are rising and so are the applications. Scanning helps in understanding the working of complex parts and shapes and can help design a better product. A scanner can also be used to create an updated version for any outdated CAD models. This automates the process of reverse engineering the new design saving both time and money.

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