Home Technology What Is Laser 3D Scanning and How Does It Work?

What Is Laser 3D Scanning and How Does It Work?

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laser 3d scanning

Do you want to learn more about how laser 3D scanning occurs? Do you have questions like how do 3D scanners work that keeps popping up in your mind? This post will answer that question and others.

A lot of companies find the use of 3D scanning useful. For so long, moviemakers have had various imaginations about how the tech can get used. With a market worth reaching $8 billion by 2025, the industry feels like a dream come true.

In this guide, we’ll answer some of the common questions about laser 3D scanning. We also included some more practical questions like how 3D scanning is useful in various industries. Keep reading to learn more about it.

1. What Is 3D Scanning?

Advancing 3D technology is one of the most anticipated news in many industries. One of these examples includes 3D printing. Did you know that 51% of enterprises use 3D printing in production?

Before we answer our first question, one may first want to ask the question of what is a 3D scanner. A 3D laser scanner is a machine that measures fine details and captures shapes to generate point clouds. It works best for measuring and inspecting contoured surfaces and complex geometries.

We come to what laser 3D scanning is. It’s the process of analyzing a real-world object to collect data on its shape via lasers. 3D laser scanning is the most popular consumer-level 3D scanning method.

Now, there are various ways of scanning an item in 3D. There are the photogrammetry method and structured lighting scanning. We also have the time of flight or laser pulse scanning, which is a solution used for large environments.

2. How Does a Laser 3D Scanner Work?

The laser 3D scanning process takes a few steps. The first step is data acquisition via 3D laser scanning. You place the object you want to scan on the bed of the digitizer.

Then, specialized software moves the laser probe above the object’s surface. A line of laser light gets projected onto the surface by the laser probe. Meanwhile, the two sensor cameras record the distance and shape of the laser light in 3D.

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The next step in the process is getting the resulting data. On your computer, the object’s shape will appear as millions of points known as a point cloud. This process is precise and lightning-fast, gathering up to 750,000 points per second.

Once the point cloud data file gets created, they register and merge into a 3D representation of the object. It gets post-processed with various software packages. Each software package is appropriate for a specific application.

Some people may use the point cloud data for inspection to compare to the object to the designer’s CAD data. Often, you’ll see a color map deviation report in PDF come out. The report describes the differences between the scan data and the CAD data.

Other people may use 3D laser scanning to reverse engineer an object. They can use it to improve a surface model or correct imperfections. The results will depend on the needed application.

3. Are Laser Scanners Accurate?

In short, laser scanners are accurate.

Yet, certain errors can cause inaccuracies in 3D laser scanners. These errors include the laser range error, range noise, and mechanical error.

Errors in Laser Scanners

In the case of the laser range error, each scanner has a different calibration range. The calibration range is the interval for the measurement values of the scanner and measurement process. It may also change over time, so you need to reset it now and then.

When you send a scanner in to get calibrated, the error in the calibration gets recomputed. The resulting error found in the tests is the linearity error. This error gets plotted on a curve in which the center is zero.

The measurement of the offset of the plotted curve from zero is the linearity error. This error will tell you how accurate a scan will be on the calculated scan head. If the scan head has a bigger linearity error, you have fewer chances of getting an inaccurate scan.

Mechanical errors may also occur with your scanner. Its mirrors and servos in your scanner are subject to error too. They can have different measured angles compared to actual horizontal and vertical angles.

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Range noise the measurement of each point in a cloud from the scanner. The higher the scan rate, the greater your range noise is. You can scan a flat wall and find that it’s not a smooth surface in profile view.

Normalize range noise or keep it at an absolute value. It may depend on your scanner and on your preferences. It helps if you know how the range noise gets calculated in your instruments.

4. What Are the Applications of 3D Scanning?

Human error counts for a lot of failure in attempts at taking measurements of things.

Thus, we often have to check and countercheck to ensure we have the right measurements of objects. This takes time and effort. This happens in all fields, especially medical and construction.

Computers, in contrast, have less likelihood of making mistakes in taking measurements. This lowers the risk of repeating the production of items due to errors. It also makes work easier and effortless.

The medical field is one that makes the most use of 3D scanning technology. Experts use 3D scans to measure and create prostheses for patients. In the dental sector, 3D scans can stimulate options and create dental devices.

3D scanning has a lot of potential in construction work too. You can use it to stock data on buildings or structures you can use for later. For example, 3D scans of the Notre Dame can help in restoring the parts that burned in April 2019.

Start Your Laser 3D Scanning Experience

That’s everything to know about laser 3D scanning and how it works. We hope we got to answer some of your questions about 3D laser scanning.

But why stop here when you can read more on 3D scanning? If you want to learn more about laser 3D scanning, you can check out our other posts as well. We have more informative content on 3D scanning devices and other tech-savvy topics!

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