As more people become aware of the rapid developments in the 3D printing industry, there has also been a corresponding increase in the number of clients expressing an interest in 3D scanning. In most cases this interest turns into a question. How do I use this technology to improve my design process?
Early in the product design and development stage we look at what processes and CAD software will best fit a projects design goals. In many cases 3D scanning will be the only way to accurately capture complex or freeform geometry. Scanning the existing geometry is often the only viable method to capture the unique features and shape of a part. This is the best use of scanning as it relates to product design and development. It certainly can be used for other purposes, such as part inspection, but it offers the most compelling usage to create a 3D model from geometry that might be nearly impossible to draw using conventional methods.
Like all tools, it needs to be judiciously applied, as it is not without pitfalls. Some materials simply don’t work well with the scanning process. The greatest area of confusion is how the scan is used. Many people think you simply scan an item, turn it into a CAD model, and start making parts. While this might be true for simple shapes, it rarely works on the complex parts. As a general guideline, I let clients know for every hour a scan takes, it will take 10-30 hours of editing to create a usable 3D file output in most cases. The cost is in the editing and file preparation, not the scanning. The amount of editing is most effected by the quality of the scan data, and the final file type required. Certain 3D file types need a lot more work before they are usable.
The good news is that these design projects would have taken a week or more to complete, and with scanning this timeframe can be cut considerably, often with greater accuracy. If you are unsure if your project would benefit from this process, just use the contact or quote form, and we will look at your application and let you know what the best options are to fabricate your design and move the project toward production.
As you can see, many different design processes may be involved, many requiring dedicated software. As a design project begins to develop beyond the initial stages, many of these categories will develop specific requirements based on the final product usage and method of fabrication.
3D printing will require a specific file type. CAD drawings need to be tailored for their specific purpose and application. 3D designs and models need to be optimized for their intended use.
Precision Scanning & Design, LLC.
Specific industries may have very unique requirements for files, or perhaps utilize manufacturing methods that are developed for a particular part or material. This often requires a hybrid approach to finalize a product design, taking it from early design concepts through to final written documentation. This product design and development cycle often include the following processes:
Please contact Precision Scanning & Design at your convenience for a free initial consultation. We’ll work with you one on one to determine a roadmap to success. We look forward to working with you soon.
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