What is 3D Scanning?


3D scanning permits you to create a digital model from a physical object. The process is appealing because it can be difficult to create computer models of complex shapes. Recreating an existing part from scratch, even with a computer, is like copying a printed page by retyping it, although 3D scanners are not nearly as straightforward as a photocopy machine, the intent is the same.

Faro Laser ScanArm, courtesy of Faro Technologies

You can render and print a digitized model to communicate shape information, extract dimensions from it to show size information, and use the 3D database to manufacture a replica using additive manufacturing or CNC machining. You can also include the 3D model in a video clip as a learning tool or assembly aid.

3D Scanning and Reverse Engineering

For information on 3D scanning and reverse engineering, see Wohlers Report 2021an annual worldwide progress report on the additive manufacturing and 3D printing state of the industry.

  • Absolute Geometries Computer-aided inspection, reverse engineering, and prototyping equipment optimization
  • AdvancedSimtech Engineering consultancy specialising in long- and short-range laser scanning (UK)
  • ARIS Turn-key non-contact inspection systems, including hardware, software, services, and training
  • AriusTechnology 3D imaging services
  • Capture 3D Rapid prototyping, reverse engineering, and computer-aided inspection
  • Creaform Systems and solutions for reverse engineering, inspection, styling, analysis, manufacturing, and medical applications (Canada)
  • Cyber F/X Laser scanning services for the digitization of objects and people, including whole body scans
  • Direct Dimensions A leading authority on the application of geometric measurement technology
  • DJS Associates Use of 3D scanning for forensic consulting and litigation support services for the legal community, insurance industry, government entities, and the public and private sectors
  • 4D Solution 3D scanning, reverse engineering, and quality inspection (Germany)
  • Faro Technologies Probe-based FaroArm coordinate measuring devices
  • Gaspardo & Associates Reverse engineering services
  • GOM ATOS optical scanning systems (Germany)
  • InnovMetric Software Software tools (Canada)
  • Kreon Non-contact 3D laser scanning (France)
  • Konica Minolta VIVID family of non-contact 3D digitizers
  • Laser Design Laser scanning systems
  • Neomek 3D scanning, prototyping, engineering, product development, and low-volume manufacturing
  • NeoMetrix 3D scanning, reverse engineering, and additive manufacturing
  • NextEngine Laser-based 3D scanner
  • Nikon Metrology Products for 3D laser scanning, dimensional quality control, and reverse engineering (Japan)
  • Nvision Digitizing services
  • Perceptron Portable 3D laser scanning systems
  • Revware Reverse engineering solutions, includng the MicroScribe probe-based digitizer
  • 3D Digital Corp. Laser scanning systems
  • 3Deling 3D laser scanning services (Poland)
  • The 3D Printing Store 3D scanning services
  • 3dScanCo 3D scanning services, reverse engineering, quality inspection, and custom 3D scanning systems
  • Stellenbosch CT Scanner Facility (South Africa) Industrial x-ray micro and nano CT scanning services
  • TOMO ADOUR Focuses on industrial Computed Tomography (CT) x-ray scanning services (France)
  • Visible Man Project 3D graphics data produced from slicing and imaging a human cadaver
  • VP-Sculpt Software for editing and reshaping 3D polygonal mesh surface models
  • Zeiss Optotechnik Family of digitizing products (Germany)

For information on 3D scanning and reverse engineering, see Wohlers Report 2021an annual worldwide progress report on the additive manufacturing and 3D printing state of the industry.

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