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Guide to 3D Scanners for Engineers

The 3D scanner market has exploded in recent years. Users in various industries from healthcare and manufacturing to construction and automotive are all increasingly investing in 3D scanning technology. Within this guide to 3D scanners for engineers we hope to …

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Tanya Weaver

March 26, 2020

The 3D scanner market has exploded in recent years. Users in various industries from healthcare and manufacturing to construction and automotive are all increasingly investing in 3D scanning technology. Within this guide to 3D scanners for engineers we hope to give some clarity on when scanners can help save time and money.

3D scanning an object

So what actually is a 3D Scanner?

Essentially, 3D scanners are devices that capture details of a physical object – including dimensions, texture and colour. Scanning is quick and easy, and produces a digital 3D model. While 3D scanners can vary in size from large-scale 3D measuring machines, it’s arguably the handheld 3D scanners that are seeing the biggest growth in this market.

Handheld 3D scanners come in all shapes, sizes and price points. In recent years, innovations in entry-level 3D scanners have seen these devices become increasingly accurate and precise but also very accessible both in terms of cost and ease of use. So rather than calling on a service provider to perform 3D scanning, companies can now do their 3D scanning in-house. This helps shorten product development and manufacturing timescales, providing a competitive edge.

What can I use a 3D scanner for?

3D scanners are largely used for reverse engineering, which, simply put, is a design process in reverse. Starting with an existing product, engineers work backwards through the design process to arrive at the design specification. There are many reasons to reverse engineer products. An obvious one being the replacement of legacy components that have long since gone out of production. Other reasons include replacement of existing failing parts, improvement of defective parts, analysing competitor products and quality inspection. 

3D scanning is increasing accessibility of the technology, 3D scanning is now also being used in other contexts. For example, by capturing a digital rendering of a part or product it can be used in animation or virtual reality.

Easy to scan complex parts

How do I choose the correct scanner?

But with so much choice, deciding whats best for your business isnt always easy-and thats where we can help. You need a high-quality device but one that won’t break the bank and doesn’t require a steep learning curve to get to grips with. Step in Peel 3D with its range of handheld 3D scanners that are powered by 3D scanning expertise of Creaform, a unit of AMETEK. Its devices use a white LED light to capture objects in 3D with structured light technology.

Peel 1 is the original Peel 3D product. This compact handheld 3D scanner, with a scanning area of 380 x 380 mm, allows you to capture high-quality 3D scans of small or large objects while keeping your project on a budget.

The next in the range is the Peel 2. The primary difference between this scanner and its predecessor is that as well as higher measurement resolution for capturing geometry data. The Peel 2 also captures the texture (colours) of the object being scanned. This is ideal for more demanding projects such as mechanical parts and assemblies, metal castings, and textured and coloured objects.

The next generation product, Peel 2 CAD, is an integrated hardware and software solution specifically focused on reverse engineering. Following the scanning of the physical object, Peel 2 CAD will help users process the resulting 3D scan files and export them directly into their chosen CAD software in an array of output formats, including .iges, .step and .dxf. 

Peel 3D scanner

How do 3D scanners work?

Scanning an object is as easy as:

  1. Scan the object
  2. Finalise mesh
  3. Extract entities and surfaces
  4. Export to CAD software

With an impressive accuracy of up to 0.100 mm and volumetric accuracy 0.300 mm/m, Peel 2 CAD features all the tools required to process geometric entities, surfaces, cross sections, etc.

Scan to CAD has never been this fast or this easy! This guide to 3D scanners for engineers shows not just how easy scanners are, but sets up the next step, production! Creating these parts is easy, by using one of our recommended printers. Check out our blog page for more information on how you can take your models to print with ease.

During these tough times we would love to help your business find ways to save money. Speak with a 3D Printing & Scanning expert, call us on 01926 333 777 or check out our contact us section.

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