You Can Scan Your World In 3D

Posted By : Aubrey Mead , on Nov, 2015


3D scanning technology has come a long way over the past few years, moving from more expensive industrial and medical devices to portable, lower cost handheld units.  Today, there are portable, affordable 3D scanners on the market that consumers are finding a variety of novel uses for.

As it relates to 3D printing, 3D scanners can reduce modeling time for certain objects.  They’re also great for capturing (and replicating) the individual intricacies of certain physical objects that wouldn’t retain their unique value if digitally modeled from scratch – sculptures and statues, for example.

Individual Users

For individual home users, 3D scanners can make the development of quick-fix prints a much faster process.  Consider objects around the house that may be broken or falling apart.  After capturing three-dimensional images of these objects, they can be digitally “repaired” in a modeling program.  Due to the precise dimensional input from the original object, the correct dimensions and original shape is much easier to achieve when printing the repaired object.  Replicated objects that may be produced include everyday items as simple as a snow shovel handle or a coffee mug, with nearly limitless opportunity to add complexity.  If you’re looking for some inspiration, consider checking out more examples on Pinterest.

With a little creativity consumers can modify real objects that they scan, adding complexity for function or visual design purposes.  These modified objects can be developed with modeling software and printed out ready for use.

Designers are using 3D scanners to create art and useful products alike, such as shoes and jewelry.  By scanning an object “base” to work from, development cycles can be reduced & the need to calculate certain proportions can be reduced.  In an effort to make sculptures and artwork of historical value accessible to a wider audience, a variety of individuals are even participating in a collective project to scan and share 3D models of these sculptures.

Organizational Users

3D Scanners are used in industries such as aerospace, construction, automotive, health care and artifact restoration. According to a recent report, the 3D scanning market is expected to reach $3.7 billion by 2020.

According to Police Magazine, even police departments have started using scanners to record crime scenes. They can capture the entire scene in precise detail and proportion, resulting in a highly detailed & extremely accurate digital replica for later review.  Compared to the current method of taking photos, measuring, and drawing sketches, the potential for long-term accuracy and increased precision is amazing.

Portable & Desktop Scanners

In line with the recent 3D Scanning technology developments, there have also been developments in terms of the types of 3D scanners available.  There are large format models that can scan an entire person, as well as desktop models with small turntables for objects of limited size.  Portable models have been developed which run tethered to a laptop, while others clip directly onto an iPad for completely mobile scanning.

In line with the increased variety of 3D Scanners available for sale, 3D printing is also becoming more affordable. Consumers can now purchase printers with small footprints from vendors such as 3D Supply Guys.

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