What is 3D scanning (3D Scan)?

3D scanning is an unknown world for you? You don’t know the advantages of using this service in your company? Let us briefly introduce you to 3D scanning and its multiple possibilities.

3D scanning is a process that allows you to measure objects with great precision using a 3D scanner.

It should be noted that there are several types of scanners. However, it is possible to divide those currently used in the industry into two broad categories:

  • The portable 3D scanners with very high accuracy (short range)
  • Laser or environmental scanning scanners (long range)

Portable 3D scanner with very high accuracy (short range)

The first type of 3D scanner, the portable high precision scanner, is, as its name indicates, a device that can be carried almost anywhere, in order to perform a 3D scan of a part with a high degree of accuracy. The device emits a light source where laser crosses are projected onto the part to be scanned, allowing the creation of a mesh that very accurately represents the surfaces of the object. The size of the parts that can be scanned can be very small or very large, as long as accuracy is desired.

The types of applications for the ultra-high accuracy handheld 3D scanner are varied. It can be used in the case of reverse engineering, in order to accurately reproduce an existing part, either because it is discontinued, or, a common problem these days, the delivery times to get the desired part are very long. It is also possible to use this scanner in the case of the inspection of parts, either to confirm the manufacture before installation by comparing the scan and the model, or to check a flatness or even wear of an object. In short, the strength of portable 3D scanning is the accurate reproduction of parts that are difficult to measure or the inspection of an object that needs to have some accuracy.

What you need to know about 3D scanning with a very high precision portable scanner:

The parts must be clean and dry to perform the scan. For example, if there is grease or dust buildup on the object, they will get scanned, which will take away the accuracy.

  • Small, reflective, self-adhesive dots will be stuck on the object. This allows the scanner to locate itself in order to achieve very high accuracy.
  • It is best to have a warm place to perform the scans. Dots that need to be glued will not adhere to surfaces that are too cold.
  • If the part is large and cannot be handled by hand, it is best to set it up on easels so that the scan can be done over the entire part. Otherwise, provide equipment to turn it over.
  • Some scanners don’t work outdoors, as they operate in white light (we don’t).
  • Equipment must be plugged in to function. Therefore, a power source is required (we have a generator if power is not available).
  • The files will need to be processed for use. The output mesh is a very large file and software must be used to extract the mesh data (planes, cylinders, etc.). We advise our customers to let us reproduce the part in order to provide them with a file in a common format. Since we have the expertise, it is faster and the quality of the data is assured.

The highly accurate portable 3D scanner from HP Hydraulique

At FORCETECH CONSULTANTS, we have a HANDYSCAN BLACK ELITE OF CREAFORM. It is one of the fastest and most accurate devices on the market, with an accuracy of 0,025 mm (0,0009 po). We also have maxSHOT 3D, which when used with HandySCAN, keeps accuracy on large objects.

These are examples of projects that have been completed by our team with HandySCAN :

  • Scanning and 3D modeling of a quick attach for installation on new equipment.
  • Scanning and 3D modeling of a difficult to measure mixer blade for an industrial process.
  • Scan and 3D modeling of a rigid pipe stub with hard-to-measure angles.
  • 3D scanning of wear linings to verify remaining thickness.
  • 3D scanning and modeling of a hydraulic cylinder guard for fabrication since the part was not available.
  • 3D scanning of an operator’s cab for modifications.
  • 3D scan of a cover to accurately get a bolt pattern.
  • 3D scan and modeling of a discontinued hoist bearing.
  • Scan and 3D modeling of a turbine for fabrication.
  • 3D scan of an excavator bearing pad for flatness verification, according to manufacturer’s specifications.
Numérisateur 3D HandyScan Black Elite avec Max Shot 3D
HandyScan black elite with MaxSHOT3D

3D laser or environmental scanner (long range)

The second type of scanner, and the most used in our case, is the scanner 3D à balayage laser. This scan is referred to as long-range, since it allows for large-scale scans. The device works by emitting laser pulses that generate a point cloud with each scan. The combination of all the point clouds reconstructs the volume of the non-contact environment. This type of scanner is used for very large rooms, as well as for complete environments, such as a room, part of a factory or an outdoor yard, etc.

The types of applications for the long-range 3D scanner are numerous. Whenever equipment, structure or piping needs to be installed in an existing location, the laser scanning 3D scanner is the tool of choice. With the entire existing environment available, it is easy to plan where new equipment will be installed, while avoiding potential conflicts. It is also possible to do monitoring with the long range 3D scanner. By taking scans on a regular basis, it is possible to compare the evolution of a tunnel, a tank or a building in space for example. Volume evaluation is also very easy with this equipment, especially for ore reserve evaluation.

What you need to know about 3D scanning with laser scanning :

This scanner can also be used for reproduction of very large parts where the required accuracy does not require the use of the high accuracy scan. However, it is possible to combine data from both types of scanners, in order to have increased accuracy on certain parts of large parts. In short, with 3D scans, the possibilities are almost endless.

  • It is very easy to perform an environment scan. It shouldn’t disrupt ongoing activities, and if it does, it will only be for a few minutes.
  • Little preparation is required before this type of scan. However, it does not see through objects. If, for example, curtains or guards hide the area to be scanned, they must be removed. Water or dust buildup should also be removed, as this will be scanned.
  • It can be used both indoors and outdoors (better not have a torrential downpour though!), as well as bright or dark.
  • This scanner is used with a tripod and you need a place to set it down.
  • This scanner can also be used vertically or “upside down,” for example, to scan inside silo.
  • The resulting data will also need to be processed in software designed for this purpose.
  • The processed point cloud can be inserted into software commonly used in engineering, such as Naviswork, Autocad and Inventor (Autodesk products). They can also be viewed with a free “viewer” for customers without access to compatible software.

The 3D laser scanner from HP Hydraulique

Chez Forcetech Consultants, we have a RTC 360 de Leica. Again, this is one of the best and fastest devices on the market today. With a measurement rate of up to 2 million points per second, creating HDR images and creating a color point cloud cant can be done in just 2-3 minutes.

It automatically locates itself in space with these many cameras, creating the links automatically between stations. Using the field application also allows you to see real-time data acquired by the device. The RTC 360 has a range of 0.5 m to 130 m, as well as an accuracy ranging from 2 mm to 6 mm depending on the range. 

We also have at our disposal a boom system with a counterweight that allows us to scan vertically, as well as a tripod with a height of up to 15 feet. This equipment allows us to perform scans in hard-to-reach locations.

Scanner 3D - Leica RTC 360
Leica RTC360
Here are some examples of projects that have been completed by our team with the RTC 360:
  • 3D scanning and modeling of a Hitachi 5600 excavator bucket for wear lining improvements.
  • Scanning and 3D modeling of a structure to add walkways.
  • 3D scanning of a tunnel periodically in order to monitor its subsidence.
  • 3D scanning and modeling of a chute and its surroundings to provide fabrication plans for its replacement and upgrade.
  • Vertical 3D scanning of a chute interior to inventory wear linings.
  • 3D scanning and modeling of approximately 50 shelves for rapid acquisition of measurements for analysis and certification.
  • 3D scanning of a coreshack to visualize redesign options.
  • 3D scan of an overhead crane and conveyor to evaluate its deformations.

HP Hydraulique offers 3D scanning services for your engineering projects. Please feel free to contact us for more information.

Have a specific project?