Prototyping is a critical step in manufacturing. Accurate prototypes are used to prove out concept designs, validate research, and to help stakeholders visualize and buy in to new product innovations.
To properly develop their innovations, manufacturers need to model and accurately represent the prototype’s shape in their 3D modeling software. 3D laser scanning is particularly effective at capturing even the most complex physical shape and representing it digitally.
Unlike traditional methods (like calipers or coordinate
measuring machines) that rely on the capture of a few
points, non-contact 3D laser scanners captures millions of data points to represent the true geometry of a physical object.
The 3D scanner captures the complete surface of the part and represents this in a dense “point cloud” of millions of points. This data can be manipulated and brought into CAD for editing, archival or analysis, or into CAM software for reproduction. Using specialized 3D scanner software, the point cloud can also be compared directly to the prototype’s existing 3D CAD model, in order to optimize the design and manufacturing process.
3D scanning also allows you to:
- Update CAD models of your prototype as it evolves
- Reverse engineer a hand-developed prototype into a CAD model
- Evaluate competing method of manufacturing the final production part
- It’s fast. Lasers can capture millions of data points in minutes. The complete surface geometry of an entire part can be captured quickly to close the design loop and allow you to bring the physical world to the digital world.
- It handles complex shapes. Curves and multiple features aren’t a problem for industrial 3D laser scanners. They easily scan the complex surface dimensions of parts and tools that would otherwise be too time-consuming, costly or simply impossible to measure.
- It’s easy. You don’t need to write a computer program before scanning a part.