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3D Laser Scanning: How It’s Redefining Data Collection

From engineering to product development, the need for precise data has been growing steadily over the years. But the challenges of gathering data, especially in taking measurements of real-word objects or environments has made the process difficult, time-consuming and even hazardous in some instances. But 3D laser scanning has opened an opportunity to gather data and turn it into precise 3D representations, all without the risks that usually come with the process.

What is 3D laser scanning?

In its essence, a 3D laser scanning service is the process of scanning an object or environment to efficiently capture 3D data in different settings, no matter what the surface and size of the subject. Unlike handheld devices and traditional measurement methods, 3D laser scanning uses non-contact, non-destructive technology through a scanner that contains a line of laser light.

A 3D scanner can actually gather up to 750,000 points per second and these points are put together to form a “point cloud,” which is then used to create a 3D representation of the object or environment scanned.

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What is the process of 3D laser scanning?

3D laser scanning practices starts with data acquisition using a laser scanner where a laser probe runs through the object or environment being scanned.

A 3D laser scanner usually has two sensor cameras and a laser light that captures the changes in shape and distance of along an object in three dimensions.

The resulting data is then gathered into a “point cloud” where it is registered and merged to create a 3D representation of the object. Depending on its application, the data from the 3D laser scan is then post-processed using the right software.

What are the common applications of 3D laser scanning?

A lot of industries are already discovering the wonders of 3D laser scanning, but the most common applications of 3D data that we see today include:

• Prototypes: An as built 3D BIM model offers exact dimensions of an object, which makes it easier to manufacture prototypes for testing and serving as guide in manufacturing the actual pieces of a product.
• Scaling: With the help of as-built AutoCAD drawings (or plans), there are now endless possibilities when it comes to scaling an object or environment. You can create exact replicas, enlargements or reductions without worrying about any boundaries or limitations.
• Restorations: With the help of 3D models, it’s easier to re-create or restore objects and environments that have been destroyed or damaged such as cars, aircrafts and even monuments.
• Milling: A lot of manufacturers are now using Computer Numerical Control (CNC) milling machines that are guided by a 3D CAD file in creating physical reproductions of digital models using materials like plastic, wood, stone, metal and even glass.
• Animation: Those real-world special effects in movies are the result of 3D models that have been used in animation.

What are the formats for 3D data?

After a 3D scanner captures thousands or even millions of points through a point cloud survey, they are gathered together in to create a point cloud that can be presented in formats including Navisworks, Revit, AutoCAD Plant 3D, AutoCAD MEP and Bentley MicroStation. Some deliverables can also come in Leica, Autodesk and Bentley formats.

What are the biggest benefits of 3D laser scanning?

Accuracy is definitely the biggest benefit of 3D laser scanning to point cloud 3D scanning services because it allows for precise measurements of objects or environments, no matter their shape, size or form. If you’re a company in need of this service, you’ll save a lot of time in gathering data while making sure that your information is as accurate and precise as possible.

3D laser scanning also helps reduce costs significantly by eliminating the need for a lot of people to handle manual measurements and rent equipment. You can also avoid several delays and headaches that could hurt your bottomline in the long run.

The takeaway

There’s still a lot that a 3D laser scanning Manchester company can bring to different industries. With continuous developments in this technology, we can definitely look forward to more benefits in the future. Contact us to learn more about the solutions that we offer in Manchester.