Most Common Uses for 3D Scanners

Some technological innovations have truly transformed the way that many businesses function, and 3D scanners are at the top of the list of these innovations. A three-dimensional scanner enables professionals to take a complete scan of an object and to generate accurate, detailed images that can be used for a wide range of purposes. High Quality 3D digital scanners are those that can be utilized to create drawings, drafts and images of furnishings, building features, equipment and other items. When you spend time learning more about the most common uses for 3D scanners, you may decide that your business and your clients could benefit from a scanner of its very own.

AUTOMOTIVEAutomotive Industry

Many of the leading automotive manufacturers in the world utilizes 3D digital scanners for various purposes. Highly accurate scanners produce detailed information about the scanning subject. The scanners may be mounted onto a large rack or other component with a movable arm so that the scanner can fully rotate around the object. In the automotive industry, this can facilitate scanning of exterior body panels, automotive parts and more so that they can be perfectly replicated.

Medical Industry

When you consider the most common uses for 3D scanners, it is important to recognize how these scanners are changing the medical industry. Scanners can be used to provide improved treatment to patients in a number of ways. For example, scans of body parts can be completed so that prosthetic or other special devices can be customized to fit the patient perfectly. Scans can also be used to facilitate wound healing, for breast implants and even in the dental industry for various purposes. These 3D scanners can be customized specifically for use in a medical environment.

Architectural Industry

They also have many applications in architecture and real estate. For example, they are commonly used to create models or replicas of fine works of art. Perfect replicas can be created without having to touch delicate pieces. This same type of application can also be used for restorations. When restoring historic buildings, for example, there may be a desire to recreate architectural details with new pieces that are in better condition, and scanning enables this. Scanning also provides you with the technology to create models of architectural plans that can be used for marketing purposes.

While these may be among the most common uses for 3D scanners, this is not a complete list. In fact, you will also find that 3D digital scanners can be used for aerospace, education, manufacturing, multimedia, consumer products and many more fields.

History of 3D Scanners

When it comes to innovations that have changed the world, 3D scanner technologies should rank near the top of the list. While 3D scanning equipment may not have widespread use in a residential or private setting even today, the applications can be used in a wide range of industries with considerable benefits. In fact, this type of technology is currently being used in entertainment and multimedia, architecture and construction, healthcare, aerospace, automotive and other industries with great results. However, you may be wondering about the history of 3D scanners and how this technology has become so prevalent in commercial settings.

The Introduction of Scanners

The 3D scanner technologies used in commercial settings today are far more sophisticated than the original models available. When the technology was introduced in the early 1960s, it utilized cameras, lights and projector equipment to elicit results. There were considerable limitations with regards to the use of this technology, and it was slow to apply to practical functions. However, by 1985, white light and lasers were used as scanners to facilitate and speed up the process.

The Modern Scanners Have Evolved

Larger 3D Scanner

Today’s 3D scanner technologies have evolved significantly from earlier models. Many modern scanners project laser light onto an object that is being scanned. The reflected light bounces off this object, and is detected by the scanning equipment. This allows a computer to create data points and positions for the object so that it can be replicated with detailed, accurate results.

The Spread of the Scanning Technology Throughout Various Industries

Scanning technology originally was an innovation that received little attention in commercial settings, but it can now be customized specifically to meet the needs of professionals in various fields. For example, in a medical setting, the scanning technology can be adapted to create models of body parts so that prosthetic devices can be custom-made to fit an individual patient. It can also be used to create breast implants and to facilitate in wound healing and care. In the architectural arena, it can be used to create models of buildings or other features to scale. Often, it is used to capture historic architectural details during renovations, but it may also be applied when it is not safe for people to do the work by hand.

Because the technology is customizable and scalable, it continues to have new applications brought forth to the benefit of many different industries. 3D technologies are even being used on the International Space Station (ISS). In September of 2014, the first 3D printer designed for microgravity (created by Made In Space) was sent to the ISS. A few months later, in December, NASA was able to email a 3D model of a ratcheting socket wrench to personnel on the ISS. The wrench was the first object to be designed on earth, sent digitally to space and printed off-planet. Additionally, there are plans to use special 3D scanning technology in the next few years to begin creating detailed maps of our forests from space.

Understanding the history of 3D scanners is important because it allows you to get an insider’s look at how the technology has become more advanced and more applicable to a wide range of commercial industries. This is a type of technological innovation that has transformed the way business is conducted in many industries with great results, and the latest technology is now faster and far more accurate than previous versions of the technology. Because it can be adapted to meet a wide range of needs, it may be suitable for use in some of your business activities.


How Does a 3D Scanner Work?

Generally speaking, you want to have the edge on new technology like 3D scanners. However, understanding how they operate and what advantages they have for you as an individual or for your business can be difficult. Because of the fact that they seem like straightforward machines, many people interested in 3D scanning and printing technology think that there must be some catch. As a matter of fact, 3D scanners and printers have some variations which mean that some will do certain types of 3D printing better than others. If you are wondering about how a 3D scanner works, keep reading.

Variations of 3D technology

Small 3D Printer

Have you read in the news recently that 3D printers are constructing homes? You may have also seen stories about 3D printers making replacement parts for children’s prosthetics. The extreme differences between those two projects obviously indicates that there is more than one type of 3D printer. Of course, while there is a range of capabilities for 3D printers, is the same true about 3D scanners?

How does a 3D scanner work?

Are all scanners created equally? Well, not necessarily. While some 3D laser scanners use lasers to scan a physical object to create a 3D model, other 3D scanners use structured light, white light, and even blue LED light to do the same thing. No matter what type of scanner is used, the scanner will need to be able to scan every side of the original object. This is another area where 3D scanning technology has variations. Each year, the improvement upgrades that are made to the scanners usually have to do with the resolution and the robotic arm that helps the scanner move around an object to record the information.

Uses for 3D Printing

What happens to the information a scanner records?

Once the 3D information is recorded by the scanner, it will send the information to a computer program. When you pull up your scan on your computer screen, you will be able to tailor the 3D model created from the scan. For instance, you can work with the display screens to make alterations to the model if it is to be printed. The quality of your final 3D model depends on both the quality of your scanner and scanning software as well as your own artistic skills. If you want to use a 3D printer to print a replica of the original object, you should be aware that the general dimensions will be accurate, but there may be some holes or misshaped areas. You should makes sure that the 3D model has complete, water-tight surfaces or the 3D printer may have problems in those areas.

You’ll want to purchase the right 3D scanner

Purchasing your first 3D scanner can fill you with anxiety. After all, if you get the wrong product, it could cost you significantly more for features that you will never use. To get a better idea of what you actually need to buy, you’ll want to know what you want the 3D scans to accomplish. If you are planning to have your 3D model printed, you’ll want to know what material will be used to print your final product. Once you determine this, you can consult with a 3D printing sales person in order to determine the best type of scanner to use.

In particular, the needs of schools or individuals that want to buy a 3D scanner or printer for educational or novelty purposes differ from those using their equipment for industrial or business applications. For example, did you know that most industrial scanners are actually used for inspection rather than printing? There is also a big difference between a homeowner who buys a 3D printer and scanner to make hundreds of objects per year and a business owner who wants the type of heavy-duty equipment needed in order to make thousands of objects per hour.

Are you ready for a construction 3D scanner?

As a regular Joe or business owner, you may not need a 3D printer that can handle homebuilding. Alternatively, you may be an artist, architect or engineer that needs high-end 3D machinery for extremely precise results. In these cases, you will want to consult people in the 3D technology industry who regularly work with fine-tuned projects. In addition to operating these types of equipment yourself, you can hire professionals to do it for you.

Hire 3D scanning professionals

If you have a large company making thousands of products per week and you think 3D scanning and printing may be right for you, you can hire professionals instead of doing it yourself. In some cases, you may decide that this way of operating gets you the results you need without the hassle of learning about a new type of equipment or disrupting your current production process. When the time is right and you feel you have a better understanding of how 3D printing and scanning works, you can always hire consultants to install equipment at your business location.