Who has never wanted to modify the shape, change the design or know the degree of wear of an object? Not so many years ago, these processes involved a costly engineering process and a long delay in execution times. But nowadays it is within the reach of everyone thanks to 3D scanners.
The operation of this instrument is very simple. The 3D scanner has the ability to gather data on the shape of a part in order to reconstruct it in digital format. To achieve this, the 3D scanner illuminates a certain area on the surface of the object. In this way, it generates a point cloud of information which it then sorts. The sum of these small pieces of information are put together, generating a faithful replica of the desired object.
Based on this definition, it could be the same process that takes place in a conventional camera. But nothing could be further from the truth. Although both 3D scanners and cameras have a cone-shaped field of view, the differences are notable. The most important of these is the collection of information itself.
Advantages of 3D scanning and digitisation
While a camera only interprets the coloured particles to generate a representation, 3D scanners collect data about the actual geometry of the part. In other words, 3D scanners generate a virtual, three-dimensional model of the physical part being scanned.
- Technological breakthrough. The 3D scanner is a revolution in the production sector. By using this instrument, the creation process can be shortened. This leads to an optimisation of resource management.
- Cost reduction. The economic cost and working hours are considerably reduced during the entire part scanning process. Likewise, it facilitates the manipulation of the data obtained.
- Customisation. The use of a 3D scanner allows the subsequent customisation of the design of a part already created. This is what is known as reverse engineering.
- Versatility. A single 3D scanner, combined with specific software and a single 3D printer, allows the creation of an infinite number of different products.
- A new path in industry. The confirmation of the 3D scanner as a common tool in many sectors is a further step towards Industry 4.0. At the same time generating new markets and jobs.
3D scanner applications
This method of digitisation represents a technological breakthrough for many activities. In its early years, its use was strictly limited to the industrial sector. Today, 3D scanning is also applicable in sectors such as engineering, architecture, medicine, archaeology and entertainment.
In short, the digitisation of objects in three dimensions favours their manipulation and transformation through the use of the corresponding software. Incorporating this dynamic facilitates multiple applications, among which the following stand out:
- Reproduction of a specific part. The use of a 3D scanner facilitates the manufacture of a specific industrial part. An example could be the reproduction of any scanned model through a 3D printer or a CNC milling machine. Following on from what was previously mentioned, with three-dimensional plans in digital format, you start from an advanced point in the creation process. Saving time and resources. In addition, with this procedure, errors in data collection become non-existent.
- Reverse engineering. Through reverse engineering processes, 3D scanning allows the design of an already built part to be modified for further improvement. Corrections such as adding a handle to a pot or correcting a tooth on a gear become much simpler with this technology. Similarly, the design and manufacturing processes for prostheses and anatomical orthoses in the healthcare sector are significantly accelerated.
- Quality control. Using specific software, the representation saved in the 3D file can be used to compare it with the parts coming off the production line. Therefore, this allows a systematic control of the finish of the objects to be compared, as well as their wear and tear or the appearance of surface cracks. The product is scanned and the point cloud is compared with the theoretical model. This allows a very precise control over the production.
- Electronic repository. 3D scanning makes it possible to generate a perfect replica of the piece, which through subsequent 3D printing or any numerical production machine, can be returned to three dimensions. In relation to this point, it is worth remembering that, after the unfortunate fire at the National Museum of Brazil in 2018, it was possible to recover around 300 pieces from it thanks to the existence of 3D archives of the works. Other museums, such as the Archaeological Museum of Sagunto (Valencia) have already followed in their footsteps.
- Digital reconstruction. In archaeology, 3D scanning is being used as a tool to visualise three-dimensional models of remains of all kinds. Even 3D files can be generated from bone fragments.
IT3D Group: Specialists in 3D technologies
In conclusion, there is no doubt that 3D scanning is here to stay. It has the necessary characteristics to generate a breakthrough in industry and establish itself as a fundamental pillar in an advanced society. It streamlines processes, reduces costs and, most importantly, makes life easier.
At IT3D Group we are specialists in 3D scanning. We have the widest range of products on the market. For this reason we can offer you the best solution to your needs. Ask us and we will advise you.