In EDESIGN right now we are learning about 3D scanning and 3D printing, which I will talk about in a later blog. For now, I’m going to stick with 3D scanning. “A 3D scanner is a device that analyzes a real-world object or environment to collect data on its shape and possibly its appearance.” In the end, the image is sent to a 3D printer where it will become an actual 3D model.
3D printing is a very tedious and time-consuming process. In order to obtain the highest quality image, one will have to scan the image multiple times at many different angles. This allows the scanner to retrieve all the measurements and dimensions of the item. Typically, the object should be placed about 6 inches away from the scanner. If it is too close, some of the object might not get scanned, and if it is too far away the dimensions could become inaccurate.
When we tried scanning in class we had some setbacks. First we tried to scan a watch, but there were so many little dimensions and depths that it was difficult for the scanner to pick up everything. So in order to get a better image, we increased the number of faces that the scanner would scan. We went from 5 scans to 7 scans and the image definitely came up more clear but still not completely filled in. Because of time purposes, we couldn’t finish scanning the watch completely.
As I mentioned before there are some negatives when it comes to 3D scanning. One is the cost. “The price can range anywhere from about $3,000-$300,000.” Another drawback is time. They take awhile to scan and to get all the dimensions of the objects. Of course there are some positives as well. One being, the ability to scan anything you want and have a CAD drawing of it. This is a great feature because you can then edit the scan to make it however you want. A tradeoff for 3D scanning is that it takes away the time of having to draw out the object on SolidWorks or a similar drawing software.
There are many different designs of the 3D scanner. Some are big and some can fit on a desk. These scanners can basically scan anything from cars to iPods. If it’s 3D, it can be scanned; some objects just will take a little longer than others. The picture on the left is the scanner we used in class, and it comes with a turntable so the object can rotate and be scanned at the same time. It costs about $2,500 which is pretty cheap in terms of 3D scanners.