3D scanning is a fast way to put a real-world object onto a computer in 3 dimensions. On the surface of things it seems easy, but the reality is a little more complex and knowing when to use 3D scanning is a skill in itself. The purpose of this article is to help you understand when it is good to make that call.
There are plenty of articles on how 3D scanners work and the different types of 3D scanners, and I really just wanted to tackle why and when you should choose 3D scanning over traditional CAD creation.
Ultimately the driving force behind a decision to choose 3D scanning is either because it's cheaper than the alternative, it's quicker or it simply cannot be matched by quality. The sweet spot for a customer is all three reasons. Let's get started:
1. The object has complex, compound, curved surfaces
2. If accuracy is important to you
3. You want an exact mirror of an original part
4. You need to archive an original object (art or heritage)
5. You want to capture the texture (colour information)
6. There is simply too much detail
6. You can't touch or work on the original object
1. Does the object have complex, compound curves? If yes you should seriously consider 3D scanning
2. How important is accuracy? If it is important to you, 3D scanning is the right choice.
3. Do you want to mirror an existing part? If so 3D scanning is the way to go.
4. Do you need to archive an original object or artifact? If yes there is only one answer: 3D scanning.
5. Is capturing the colour information important to you? It is impossible to recreate any kind of complex colour information as quickly and economically as 3D scanning.
6. Is the object extremely detailed? If so it will be much quicker to 3D scan than recreate from scratch in computer software.
7. Is the object too fragile or valuable to risk getting damaged by a moulding process? If so 3D scanning is non-invasive and non-destructive and the only way to go.