Technology

Understanding How 3D Scanning Technology Actually Works in Practice

There are many different 3D scanning technologies in the market today. In fact, the international 3D scanning technology market size was estimated to be $4.9 billion in 2019.

While this is a rapidly growing industry, 3D scanning technology is still largely misunderstood. So how does 3D scanning actually work?

By understanding how 3D scanning works, you can make more informed decisions about which technology is right for your business.

This article will look at the most common 3D scanning methods. We will also discuss how each technology is used and what benefits they offer.

Read on to learn more about 3D scanning technology.

What Is 3D Scanning?

3D scanning is the process of capturing a 3D image of an object. 3D scanners use lasers, infrared cameras, and other technologies to create the model of an object.

3D scanning can be used to create three-dimensional models of objects for 3D printing or reverse-engineering purposes. You can also use 3D scanners to create models of sculptures, bones, and other objects.

Today, industries that use 3D technology include:

  • Manufacturing and engineering
  • Aerospace
  • Automotive
  • Construction
  • Medical and healthcare
  • Architecture

3D scanning technology has come a long way in recent years. 3D scanners are now more accurate and faster than ever before. Below are the most common 3D scanning technologies:

Structured Light 3D Scanning

The structured light 3D scanner is a laser scanning technology commonly used in manufacturing. This type of scanning uses a laser to create a three-dimensional image of an object.

Like the laser 3D scanner, structured light scanners also have contact and non-contact scanners.

Structured light 3D scanning works by projecting a pattern of light onto an object. The object then reflects the light back to a sensor. The sensor measures the distortions in the reflection to calculate the shape of the object.

This type of scanning is often used for objects that are too small or delicate to be scanned with other methods, such as computed tomography (CT) scanning.

Structured light scanners can scan objects of any size, from very small things to large structures.

A contact structured light 3D scanner is often used for scanning smaller objects, as they do not require the object to be placed in a special chamber. Non-contact structured light scanners are typically used for larger objects, as they can scan from afar.

Photogrammetry 3D Scanning

Photogrammetry refers to the process of taking measurements of an object using lasers and then turning those measurements into a three-dimensional model. This technology is used extensively in the manufacturing industry as it allows for very precise models to be created quickly and easily.

There are two main types of photogrammetry: active and passive.

Active Photogrammetry

Active photogrammetry uses laser beams that are bounced off of the surface of an object to take measurements.

This technology is often used in industrial settings as it is very accurate and can be used to measure objects that are moving. An example of an active photogrammetry application is when it’s used to measure the dimensions of car parts as they move along an assembly line.

Passive Photogrammetry

Passive photogrammetry uses light that is already present in the environment to take measurements. This type of photogrammetry is often used to create three-dimensional models of buildings or other static objects.

Passive photogrammetry uses cameras to take pictures of an object from different angles. These pictures are then stitched together to create a three-dimensional model.

Both active and passive photogrammetry is used extensively in the manufacturing industry as they allow for very precise models to be created quickly and easily.

Point Cloud Scanning

Point cloud 3D scanners are the most common type of 3D scanners. They work by projecting a laser onto an object and measuring the reflections with a camera.

By measuring the time it takes for the laser to reflect off the surface, the 3D scanner can create a point cloud, which is a collection of points in three-dimensional space.

Point cloud scanning is often used in reverse engineering and quality control applications.

Laser 3D scanning

The laser 3D scanner is the most common type of 3D scanner. It works by projecting a laser onto an object and measuring the reflected light. This data is then used to create a 3D model of the object.

It can be classified into two categories: contact and non-contact. Contact laser 3D scanners require physical contact with the object being scanned.

On the other hand, non-contact 3D scanners do not require physical contact. Hence, they can scan objects from a distance.

Laser scanning technology is very precise and can be used to create accurate 3D models of objects. The downside is that it can be pretty slow, especially for larger objects.

Line Scanning

Line scanning is similar to point cloud scanning. But instead of measuring reflections with a camera, line scanners measure the intensity of the laser as it reflects off the surface.

By measuring the intensity of the laser, line scanners can create a three-dimensional image of an object. Line scanning is often used in industrial applications, such as inspecting welds and measuring the thickness of materials.

Surface Reconstruction Scanning

Surface reconstruction is the process of creating a three-dimensional representation of two-dimensional objects. You can do this by using a laser beam.

The laser beam is projected onto the surface of an object and then rapidly scanned across the surface. As the laser beam hits different points on the surface, it reflects back onto a sensor.

The sensor measures the time it takes for the laser beam to return and uses this information to calculate the distance between the object and the sensor. This process is repeated many times, with the laser beam hitting thousands of points on the surface of the object.

The result is a three-dimensional representation of the surface of the object. This representation can be used to create a three-dimensional model of the object.

One advantage of surface reconstruction scanning is that it does not require the object to be in a specific position. This means that objects can be scanned while they are in use, which is not possible with other methods such as laser triangulation.

Now You Know How 3D Scanning Works 

Now that you understand how 3D scanning technology works, you can decide which technology is best for your application. Ensure you conduct extensive research on the different types of 3D scanners to find the best one for your needs.

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