How To Scan An Object For 3D Printing?

How To Scan An Object For 3D Printing?

Sometimes designing a 3D model for printing becomes a source of annoyance for a 3D printing business, because of adjusting minor details in shape, and when developing a model for a real-life product, it consumes a lot of time and energy.

What if we can convert a physical product into a digital model, well, it has now become possible, and there are a few methods that can be used for this purpose.

This article is all about how we can scan a physical object for 3D printing, and below, you will see the most used and reliable way of doing this task in a perfect manner.

3D Scanning

Scanning involves capturing a product and converting it into a model where it can be modified using a computer.

3D scanning has changed the working of the 3D printing industry; as with 3D scanning, it is now possible to create a model for any type of shape which exists in the real world.

3D scanning a physical object saves much of your time, which is consumed in the designing phase, accurate and precise measurements are ensured, and eventually, it will reduce the number of times you have to produce the same design because the parts will fit together perfectly in the first try.

In addition, 3D scanning helps us in producing objects that could not else be designed on a computer.

Furthermore, it will reduce the production cost with enhanced quality, speed and can create the best version of the product; similarly, making variations in design will also become easier on an existing model without building it from the start.

3D scanning is further divided into categories; each type of it consists of a distinct technique and method to scan an object for 3D printing. We will discuss each one of them briefly to see how it works.

How To Scan An Object For 3D Printing?


This scanning technique is considered as the most easier and affordable technique of all.

The process of scanning by photogrammetry involves capturing pictures of a product from each and every angle. The cost may increase depending on the quality you want to achieve.

As you have taken the pictures from every side of the object, you fed all these pictures into software, which then compiles them to give it a proper shape of a model.

You may also need to perform editing to enhance the quality and provide the model the exact shape as a physical object.

There are different software available which you can use for this task; the choice of software is mainly based on the user and system requirements, speed, accuracy, and user-friendliness.

No matter how large the object is, all you need is a camera to capture it, and the rest is done by the software.

The popular software includes Mesh room, Mic Mac, Open MVG, and Reality Capture; however, you can choose any software as per your need.

Laser Scanning or Laser Triangulation

When you want to achieve high quality and resolution, laser scanning is what you need.

Laser scanning is a technique that uses a laser beam projected towards the scanning object; it calculates the parameters and dimensions and feeds this information into a computer; the software then uses this information to shape a model.

To determine the distance and coordinates of an object, it calculates the distance between the camera and the object, the laser source, and the angle it forms.

Using the trigonometric calculations and analyzing the given information, the model is designed.

The thing that makes this technique the most popular is its accuracy and speed; however, scanning reflective or transparent objects becomes quite difficult with laser scanning. Read Also, How 3D Printer Extruder Works?

Structured Light

Instead of the laser beam as in laser scanning, a light beam is used in the structured light technique of scanning the object for 3D printing.

In structured light scanning, a pattern of a light source is projected on the object, which is hunted down by the cameras.

It takes measurements by radiating a beam at an object, and then the data is sent to the computer for modeling.

Structured light scanning is also very fast and gives high-resolution results; however, it is not feasible to work with structured light scanning in an outside environment.

In fact, the structured light technique proves to be faster than the laser technology as the cameras in structured light records the information at once, while in laser technique, single laser light is put over the object at different positions, calling for repeating the process several times.

Contact Based

In this type of process, a physical probe is used, and as the name suggests, it has to touch the surface of the objects at a different point to take readings.

There are two ways in which it can be prepared; the stationary probe is required if the scanning object is moving, and if the object is at rest, the moving probe is used.

When you want to scan a transparent object, a contact-based technique is preferred; however, it takes longer than the other methods and does not give high-quality results. Plus, this technique is not feasible for complex shapes.

Other Techniques

New techniques are being developed as 3D scanning is becoming popular day by day and you can use to scan an object for your 3D printing. The other approach includes Laser Pulse Based scanning and Direct scanning by your smartphones.

Based on your requirements and the quality, you can choose the appropriate technique for scanning the object for 3D printing.

Technology is progressing at a fast pace, and you need to equip yourself with knowledge and expertise in order to progress.

3D scanning and printing are gradually becoming a hot topic, and if you already have proficiency in it, you will excel in this field.

With the help of 3s scanning and printing, a lot of work can be done in a few minutes; it is changing the production and manufacturing departments of every industry and trade.

Once you have read this article, you will know which technology should be used at different positions, which in the end, will save your time and resources.


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