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3D Scanning Sprays Boost Your Manufacturing Processes

Did you know that you can turn practically any object into a 3D model? Today, 3D scanning is not only affordable — thanks to 3D scanning sprays, it has also become easier than ever. 3D scanners have much to offer …

Ile Kauppila

January 20, 2022

Did you know that you can turn practically any object into a 3D model? Today, 3D scanning is not only affordable — thanks to 3D scanning sprays, it has also become easier than ever.

3D scanners have much to offer to manufacturing operations of all sizes. A simple handheld 3D scanner — like those from Peel 3D — can save you significant amounts of time and money in product design, quality control, reverse engineering, and more.

But there are some surface types that regular 3D scanners struggle to process. That’s where 3D scanning sprays, such as Aesub Blue, come in. With their help, you can quickly and easily digitize virtually any physical object.

This blog explains the basics of 3D scanning, what its benefits are, and how 3D scanning sprays can take your scanners to a whole new level.

How 3D Scanning Works

Solid Print3D - 3D Scanning Spray - Aesub Blue - West Midlands - Warwickshire - Warwick - Coventry - Leamington Spa - Rugby

All 3D scanners measure an object’s surface geometry and translate that positional data into a 3D model. How exactly they do this depends on the scanner’s technology. The four most common 3D scanning methods are:

  1. Structured Light: These scanners emit predefined light patterns that reflect off the surface of the scanned object. One or more cameras analyse the distortion of the pattern to construct the surface shape.
  2. Laser: Laser scanners feature a laser emitter and a sensor. The emitter shoots a laser beam, which bounces back off the object and the sensor detects the collision distance. These scanners are accurate and powerful, but also generally expensive.
  3. CMM: Coordinate measuring machines (CMM) use a probe that, upon contacting an object’s surface, is able to accurately reconstruct its shape.
  4. Photogrammetry: Photogrammetry functions by taking several photos around the objects. A software application then overlaps these photos and recreates the object’s shape.

For a more detailed explanation of 3D scanner function, you can read our article “How Do 3D Scanners Work?”.

Benefits of 3D Scanning

Manufacturing operations in all fields have embraced 3D scanning, from small spare parts producers to large multinational aerospace and car manufacturers, and even fashion firms. Such widespread adoption demonstrates that 3D scanning can deliver significant benefits. These include:

Faster Design Cycle

Let’s imagine that you’re developing a new alternative part for a car, like a rear spoiler. To make sure it fits properly, you’d have to take many precise measurements — or you could use a 3D scanner. By scanning the area where the spoiler attaches, you can easily import the 3D model into your CAD software, saving time in product design and achieving a faster time to market.

Simpler Prototyping

3D scanning enables you to streamline your prototyping workflow. If your initial prototype wasn’t successful, you can scan it and easily modify the design in a CAD software. You can also easily compare accurate measurement data between multiple design iterations, which can slash the number of prototype cycles.

Improved Quality Control

By 3D scanning your products, you can easily identify design flaws and improvement opportunities. You can, for example, import accurate 3D models into simulation software to test your products’ stress resistance, strength, aerodynamics, or other features. You can also compare the original 3D design to a scanned final product.

Easy Reverse Engineering

Want to produce spare parts for out-of-production, obsolete machinery designed long before CAD was ever a thing? That would be a daunting task — without a 3D scanner, that is. You can quickly get a functional CAD model for new parts by making a quick scan of the originals, even if they’re cracked or broken.

Save Money and Time

The compounding effect of all these benefits is simple — you’ll save money and time. With fewer design iterations and faster prototyping, you can get products from blueprint to the market much faster. The reverse engineering and design iteration capabilities of 3D scanning also mean it’s easier for you to expand your product catalogue and business.

Why Use 3D Scanning Sprays?

Solid Print3D - 3D Scanning Spray - Aesub Blue - West Midlands - Warwickshire - Warwick - Coventry - Leamington Spa - Rugby

For all their convenience, 3D scanners — particularly laser- and structured light-based devices — aren’t always entirely reliable. This is particularly true if you’re trying to scan very dark, shiny, or transparent surfaces.

These surfaces interfere with light, and can have a negative effect on scanning results in the following ways:

  • Black or dark surfaces absorb light and may not reflect enough of it back for the scanner to get an accurate reading.
  • Shiny surfaces reflect too much light and scatter it into unpredictable directions, potentially ruining the 3D scan.
  • Transparent surfaces allow the light pulse to go through them without reflecting it — which means that you may end up scanning the stand or table under your object.

You can try to mitigate these issues by tweaking your 3D scanning settings or moving the scanner to a different angle. But the most reliable method is to use vanishing 3D scanning sprays to prepare your object.

These sprays — like Aesub Blue — coat the object to be scanned with a pigment-free, thin matte coating. The coat negates the effect of dark base colours, excessive shininess, or clear surfaces on the part. As a result, you can get a much more accurate and reliable scan of practically any surface.

If applied correctly, the 3D scanning spray layer on the object is so thin that it dries quickly without clogging up fine details. Additionally, vanishing 3D scanning sprays have a significant advantage to them — they don’t require cleaning.

Vanishing sprays contain only propellant and a solvent, and as such they won’t contaminate the object or its surrounding with pigments. After you’re done scanning, the spray coating will self-evaporate in a few hours, leaving your workshop and scanned object pristine. This makes the sprays suitable for practically any field and industry.

How to Use 3D Scanning Sprays?

Have you ever used a can of spray paint? Then you already know how to apply 3D scanning sprays! The whole process is very simple:

  1. Place your object on a sturdy surface.
  2. Spray it from 15-20cm away in even, quick horizontal strokes.
  3. Give the applied 3D scanning spray a minute to dry.
  4. Scan the object as usual.
  5. Leave the object at room temperature until the coating has completely evaporated.

Like with spray paints, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when applying 3D scanning sprays. The coating will go on wet, so you shouldn’t spray the object from too close up.

If you apply too much spray, it can form a thick layer and obscure details. You also should use spray at the appropriate temperature, roughly 21°C.

Benefits of 3D Scanning Sprays

In essence, vanishing 3D scanning sprays make scanning objects faster and easier. Other advantages include:

  • Eliminates issues with difficult surface textures, like dark, shiny, and transparent surfaces.
  • Homogenous surface colour can increase scanning accuracy on virtually any object.
  • Sprays are suitable for most industries, including sensitive environments like laboratories and production sites.
  • The spray can be applied directly on the object, with no need for pre-preparation.
  • Reference point stickers stick well to the sprayed surface.
  • No need for cleaning as the spray coating evaporates on its own.
  • Universal sprays can be used with any 3D scanner.

To find out more about 3D scanners and 3D scanning sprays, contact our friendly SolidPrint3D experts. Call us on 01926 333 777 or email us at

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