What is 3D Scanning?
Copyright 20008 by Wohlers Associates, Inc

Reverse engineering encompasses a variety of approaches to reproducing a physical object with the aid of drawings, documentation, or computer model data. In the broadest sense, reverse engineering is whatever it takes—manual or under computer control—to reproduce an object.


Reverse engineered human knee, courtesy of Cyberware

3D scanning systems are used for the reverse engineering of mechanical parts and organic shapes. Manufacturing professionals apply them to the creation of new patterns for prototype tooling, metal casting, and CNC machining. Medical specialists use 3D scanning to digitize bones and other anatomy for the development of prosthetics and implants. Video production experts use them to capture difficult-to-create shapes for TV commercials and special effects in Hollywood films.

Terminology and Definitions