There’s no doubt about it. 3D scanning is a booming industry.

Expected to become an $8 billion industry by 2025, more and more companies are using 3D scanners for their work. But what is 3D scanning and why are so many people crazy about it?

That’s what we’ll be looking at today. Read on to find out more about 3D scanning, its applications, its benefits, as well as its future in today’s society.

What Is 3D Scanning?

So what is 3D scanning anyway?

It refers to a non-contact, non-destructive technology that captures the shape of a physical object using laser lights. You end up with a 3D digital rendering of whatever you’ve scanned, hence the name “3D scanning.”

3D laser scanners use what’s called “point clouds” of data based on an object’s surface.

It captures the exact size, dimensions, and overall shape of a computer. Modern 3D laser scanners can measure fine details and shapes to generate point clouds.

3D scanning is best when you need accurate measurements for surfaces that are hard to measure using traditional means. Objects with complicated geometries and complex surfaces are best suited for 3D scanning.

How Does 3D Scanning Work?

Describing exactly how 3D scanning works is a pretty daunting task, so we’ll boil it down to the basics to get a better understanding. It’s all about getting the data, modeling the object, and reverse engineering.

Acquire Data

First, the object is placed on the bed of a digitizer. You then use software to drive a laser probe above it. The probe, along with two cameras records the distance and shape while it sweeps the object.

Resulting Informaiton

The object’s shape will be presented as millions of “point cloud” points on your computer. This is the result of the entire surface shape. The process is incredibly fast, so it’ll take no time at all.

Modeling

After the big point cloud point files are rendered, they’re translated to a three-dimensional representation of the object. You’ll also use other software packages to post-process the image.

Reverse Engineering

After 3D models are rendered, they can help reproduce the physical version of the digital project. This is what’s known as reverse engineering a 3D scanned object.

3D Scanning Applications

Now let’s discuss what 3D scanning is actually used for.

3D scanners’ ability to render three-dimensional objects has been very useful in STEM research in similar disciplines. It’s also been instrumental for modern architects. Let’s look at a few examples here:

Education

Modern classrooms are getting more tech-savvy, with many institutions using VR and other technology to boost learning. 3D scanning is a big part of this trend.

It’s an essential tool for a variety of courses, including geography and health. Students can better visualize topography as well as part of the human body.

Fundamental engineering courses and tech-ed classes are also using 3D scanning for their projects. Kids are being taught how to use 3D scanners and printers, which will become useful for their post-high school careers.

3D scanning opens up a lot of avenues, especially for students looking to go into STEM.

Automobiles

3D scanning allows car manufacturers and designers to scan full-size cars in as little as a few hours. This saves a lot of preparation and cleanup time when it comes to making different parts.

This is crucial for not only manufacturing parts, but estimating the dimensions so no mistakes are made. More and more designers are using 3D scanning to develop their products.

Stunt cars or cars used in films that need specialized parts can benefit from 3D scanning as well. By using less time to prepare and calculate dimensions, you can develop these different tools much faster.

Architecture

3D scanning is becoming an essential tool for creating scale models. It’s also used to prep archaeological sites for excavation. Construction workers use it to study and survey sites as well.

Complex and essential structures like water buildings and bridges benefit greatly from 3D scanners.

Laser scanners can render large areas and capture data points to calculate distances and locations of the 3D space. This greatly helps architects figure out where and how to build structures.

Healthcare

3D scanning is becoming a staple of modern healthcare to create specialized implants and prosthetics.

3D scanners also help providers evaluate and study patients’ bodies without rigorous tests. It’s safer and more efficient than x-rays and MRIs.

Dentists are also using 3D scanners to help create dentures and crowns that are more specialized for each patient.

Jewelry

3D scanning also lets you design and create the perfect jewelry parts. This allows for a comfortable fit for virtually any ring or accessory.

By scanning jewelry, users can customize the accessories that they want while ensuring the right fit. Creating replicas is also made much faster using 3D technology.

Art History

Artists can now 3D scan different cultures and other works to safely recreate or replicate them. By using different software, old art can be repurposed without actually harming its original copies.

Benefits of 3D Scanning

The biggest benefit of 3D scanning is that it saves designers a lot of time. By using data points instead of physical measurements, all you have to do is watch the computer do much of the actual calculations.

Capturing specific details and complicated geometry is made much more foolproof with 3D scanning.

Architects and engineers also get more reliable data through 3D scanning.  If you’re designing a project or a machine, you can produce the right parts on the first try.

Construction workers can manage projects accurately and safely. Art historians can also get detailed descriptions of valuable pieces without harming them.

Leverage 3D Scanning Today

3D scanning is becoming an essential tool for many industries, and there’s no better time to adopt it than now. Use this article to understand why it’s so useful and adopt it for your company today.

Need reliable 3D scanning for objects big or small? Contact us today and we’ll get you started on a solution right away!