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Capture Your Object with 3D Scanning

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Tue, Sep 12, 2017 @ 03:16 PM

Capture Your Object with 3D Scanning

Just a few years ago, 3D scanning was described as a "growing method of measurement and image access."  Today, 3D scanning has come of age! There are many types of scanning devices for a broad range of applications:

  • Manufacturing companies use 3D scanning for everything from reverse engineering, first article inspection, quality control inspection, and object analysis to creation of documentation. 
  • The AEC marketing makes use of 3D scanning to create "as-built" models or to duplicate intricate architectural designs. 
  • Artists use 3D scanning to recreate three dimensional objects of all kinds. 
  • Scientists, archeologists and historians use 3D scanning to duplicate and recreate objects from fossils, shards and other unearthed objects.

This process of converting physical objects into precise digital models, enables quick and accurate capture of an object's shape and geometries, providing a complete digital representation of the object.  The digital representation can be used for:

  • Reverse engineering, quality inspection or at any point of a typical manufacturing cycle
  • Duplication of the inside and outside of a building
  • Development of complex, artistic designs, artificial limbs,
  • Scientific and historical studies

Purchase, Lease or Outsource 3D Scanning?

Cost: When you need 3D scanning, cost plays a big part in your decision to purchase, lease or outsource.  Of course, cost is often more than just how much you pay for the equipment.  There's also the cost of your employees' time to learn how to use the equipment, and then to perform the 3D scanning for your project.  Consider, also, the cost of the time required to manipulate the file once the scanning is completed. 

Do you have the internal expertise and the time to take the job to its completion?  Are you measuring, inspecting, modeling, reverse engineering?  What's the result you desire,  and are you able to do it in-house without taking resources from other important projects?

Volume of Work: Is this a one-off project?  Or will you be doing a lot of 3D scanning in the future? 

One-off projects are probably better off outsourced.  However, even if you think this project will lead to other similar projects, sometimes it's best to outsource in the beginning until you build up sufficient 3D scanning volume to warrant an investment in equipment and resources.  Renting equipment may be a good intermediate step.

While the cost of using a 3D scanning service outsource seems to add-up if you have many projects, oftentimes using an outsource is less expensive -- when you consider the cost and maintenance of equipment plus employee salaries and benefits packages.  This is especially true if you're building an entirely new service in your company.  An outsourced 3D scanning department can be a real cost-saver.

Flexibility: While having 3D scanning in-house lets you use the scanner whenever you need it, partnering with an outsource service can give you nearly the same amount of flexibility, with none of the hassle.  Parts and objects to be scanned can be shipped directly to the scanning site.  This way, the outsource service becomes an extension of your company.   In fact, many of our customers use our services exactly like this.  They have 24/7 access to our services and technicians, oftentimes getting the jobs done more seamlessly and quickly than if they did them in-house. 

Quality Control: While it may seem as though quality control may be harder to maintain with outsourced projects; a little bit of due diligence goes a long way.  Use the same care in searching for a 3D scanning outsource as you would if you were hiring an in-house employee. 

Use an established outsource firm who has a proven track record.  Ensure that your scanned data will be secured and maintained appropriately.  If you use a service bureau that is approved for DOD work you can be assured that proper procedures are in place. 

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Topics: 3D Scanning

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