3d scanning future

The Future – Desktop 3D Scanning and Manufacturing

Before we finish our series “Everything you always wanted to know about 3D scanning” we wanted to take a moment to talk about what we think is the immediate future in 3D scanning and manufacturing: the technology is going Desktop.

In the last few years, companies have been creating more products with smaller footprints, at much lower price points, making the technology a viable tool for schools and medium to small businesses. In addition to these new products, students and hobbyists have been creating (and sharing) do-it-yourself versions of 3D scanning and rapid manufacturing products. Soon we could see 3D scanners and printers in home offices!

Coming in the near future – to a home workshop near you!

Commercial Desktop and Handheld Scanners:

There are a few digitizers and scanners out there that are sized and priced for the small business. The price points are not yet for your everyday consumer, but it is getting closer all of the time.

  • One of our favourite desktop digitizer/scanners is the Microscribe . It is a miniature articulating arm that is easily portable, is compatible with most popular reverse engineering and metrology packages, and offers near metrology level accuracy in a small package. Obviously you are not going to digitize an aeroplane with this – but we consider it the first major desktop digitizer (an attachable scanner is also available).
  • 3D metrology has also entered the realm of handheld and wireless. the microscope also now offer the MobiGage , the first handheld 3D metrology app. You don’t even need a computer, just a Microscribe and an iPhone or iPod Touch, to take measurements.
  • Next Engine also offers a desktop 3D laser scanner. Its compact size, ease of use, customer support and price point are quickly making it a popular choice for small businesses and individuals.

Open Source, Consumer and Up-Coming Scanning Technologies:

While they don’t come close to offering the same kind of accuracy as currently available scanning systems, there is a burgeoning community of small businesses, hobbyists and students who are working to bring 3D scanners into the home. New products are rapidly developing.

  • Qi Pan, a student at Cambridge University has created ProFORMA, which uses a webcam to collect data and create a colour 3D model.
  • David Laser Scanner offers a kit to build your own basic scanning system using everyday objects like a webcam and handheld laser pointer.
  • Perhaps the ultimate in DIY scanners, Friederich Kirschner used Legos, a webcam and some milk to create 3D models.

Desktop 3D Printers:

Like 3D scanners, 3D printers have already reached the small business market and are now just entering the individual consumer marketplace. Their build envelopes are limited but what could be cooler than printing your own action figures, robot parts, or 3D portraits?

  • The RepRap project is an open-source project aimed at creating self-replication rapid manufacturing machines. Based out of Bath University, the project shares its plans and the RepRap community can build as is or make their own improvements, which they can then share.
  • At the other end of the Desktop 3D printer spectrum comes the V Flash from 3D Systems. Rather than making your 3D printer from scratch, you can buy this smaller version of traditional additive manufacturing technology. It is priced for small businesses and schools.
  • In the same market space as the V Flash, Solido bills their SolidPro300 as the “world’s most cost-efficient and flexible 3D printer”. In the US the SolidPro300 is distributed by Enser.
  • Between RepRap, the V Flash, and SolidPro300 comes to the Makerbot Cupcake CNC. Makerbot sells a kit for the Cupcake CNC but the customer puts it together. Like RepRap, they also host a community called Thingverse. Though their community revolves more around the 3D models than the machine itself. They are also working on a 3D scanning kit.
  • HP has also recently announced that they are entering the market in an agreement with Stratysis who will produce mainstream 3D printers using Fused Deposition Modeling technology.

The above examples are just a small selection from a quickly developing marketplace, but they are a good indication of what home scanning technologies are just around the corner. Thanks for reading “Everything you always wanted to know about 3D scanning”, we hope it is has been an informative series!

Contact Australian Design & Drafting Services for more information..

rapid prototyping service brisbane

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About 3d Scanning Rapid Prototyping

From Digital to Physical – Rapid Prototyping and Milling

We discuss physical objects that realm into digital form. We came across a common application used for 3D scanning and  modelling  processes. We mainly focus on creating physical objects from digital data.

Important Terminology

  • Additive Manufacturing: The process makes a physical object 3D digital data that use layering materials called rapid prototyping and 3D printing.
  • Milling: It’s a subtractive process that helps to remove material and create a physical object directly from 3D digital data. It cuts away all existing solid material.


You may ask, why does one need a physical replication of my digital model? After all, we talk about turning your physical parts into various digital formats. But there are a few reasons to create new physical models for your data. Here are a few reasons:

  • Scaling: To make enlargements, reductions, or even exact size replicas. After a Digital Model is created, it comes with boundaries big or small to replicate your object or part.
  • Restoration: Our tech captures accurate 3D data that uses manufacturing to restore objects damaged by weather and other natural disasters. It uses historical monuments and artifacts or aged automotive parts.
  • Manufacturing Prototype: It uses a digital model and direct dimensions to create a physical prototype used for testing and manufacturing final pieces. It includes milling a foam sculpture with that bronze casting pattern to create a finished prototype. We talk about the best ways to create physical models.


Variety of additive manufacturing equipment manufacturers and processes on the market. Various machines read 3D data, typically in an STL file format. We discussed format in earlier editions where the software comes within the devices and generates the layering instructions. It directs the deposition of successive layers, adding material needed to build up the physical part. Essentially, it creates cross-sectional layers. The layers fused automatically to make the final shape. It comes with an exact physical replica of the 3D model. The manufacturing of an umbrella term covers a lot of processes.

One of the earliest and most common types of AM is called Stereolithography. SLA builds pieces that use laser and a vat of UV-curable liquid resin. Each thin layer of resin is solidified and secured to the layer below with every pass of the UV laser. SLA offers the best producing models, patterns, and various prototypes. SLA generally support structures that include building a part of the SLA process.

The process offers Selective Laser Sintering that utilises a wide variety of materials that cover metals, plastics and ceramics with post-processing as needed. SLS does not require support material while building since it is made within the raw material. SLS uses these materials in a powder format and, by fusing the powder, creates the layers needed to build the part. It is used for making final parts for mass-scale production isn’t necessary.

Stereolithography is mostly used for Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM). It is trademarked and marketed by Stratasys, which uses the additive platform to build the concept. Rather than raw liquid or powder, FDM uses thermoplastic materials applied through a heated nozzle placed in a single thermoplastic bead at a time. These beads fuse using harden as cooled. The plastics used in FDM are known for strength and high heat resistance and are suitable for product testing.

2D printing is the concept of 3D Inkjet Printing. The  rapid prototyping  technique uses 3D printing for powder base material to print in multiple colours. Rather than sintering the powder, an inkjet releases an adhesive colouring that allows layers to be built with colours. The final model is not generally, as strong as the other techniques. It’s cheaper and faster, and the coloured prints allow a good representation of the last concepts.

The primary advantage of additive fabrication is that it creates a relatively inexpensive feature. We offer a small part price to complexity ratio. However, the overall volume comes within a single build using limited AM for larger parts that recommend milling.


Milling comes with a subtractive manufacturing technique. It’s used to create metal production tools, parts, and moulds for virtually any industry, an engineer, or even an artist. Counts this as a well-tested valuable method. The advanced Computer Numerical Control (CNC) milling machines use a 3D  CAD  file to create a physical reproduction of the digital model. Based on AM, CNC milling machines utilise a highly diverse range of materials, including:

  • Stones
  • Plastics
  • Woods
  • Waxes
  • Metals
  • Even Glasses

Milling steel or aluminium is a standard option to make durable tooling. And stone and wood are common for sculpture and historical restoration projects.  


To wrap it, the field is constantly changing and growing. Adding immediate future technologies, we include desktop scanning and manufacturing.  Contact  Australian Design &  Drafting  Services in cased in case of any query.


3D Data for Visualization brisbane

Using 3D Data for Visualization

While we touched on visualization , one of several downstream applications in Chapter Six, the subject is so comprehensive that it deserves a chapter of its own.

As our lives become increasingly digital and interactive (via the web, video games, and even television and our cell phones), we have come to expect ever more realistic interpretations of real-world objects within this virtual realm. One of the best ways to perfect the digital form is to actually copy the shape of objects into 3D via laser scanning and digital imaging.

Visualization applications generally fall into the following categories:

  • Animations - 3D digital movies made from computer models
  • Renderings - 2D images made from computer models
  • Direct 3Dviews - real-time interactive web-based 3D visualizations
  • ShapeShot™ - real-time interactive web-based 3D facial images


When most people think of computer animation they think of the neat special effects in blockbuster movies and the animated explanations of complex events on the nightly news, such as train accidents. Yes - 3D models are frequently used for those types of animations . But often these animations are pure visualizations where the dimensional accuracy of the objects is less important – as long as it looks good.

Our brand of 3D scanning and modelling is more valuable when the quality of the models is critical, such as for museum objects, or military simulations, or for animating highly recognizable objects for tv commercials such as cars. These situations require accuracy and authenticity, which scanning provides, so the objects in the animations look as real as possible. Often real colours and textures are captured and applied to provide that much more realism.

We have created numerous 3D animations from our 3D scanned models for a wide variety of applications including illustrating complex medical procedures, forensic analysis, describing historic preservation sites, and even for Hollywood movies and commercials.


Rendering is the process of creating a still image from a 3D model. High-quality 2D renderings are often created from an existing 3D model that was originally captured for other purposes. These renderings can be used for graphical presentations, marketing, and even websites. For instance, if a product designer has created a hand-carved physical model for reverse engineering purposes, he can also use that same digital file to create awesome 2D images of his product for marketing graphics. The great thing about a rendering created from a 3D model is that it is highly accurate and quick to render out multiple lighting and background states to create multiple renderings without staging new photography shoots.

Direct 3Dviews

A Direct 3Dview is a fully-interactive real-time 3D presentation of a digital model in a virtual environment. This 3D model visualization can be displayed via a website, a PowerPoint, or even in a stand-alone format. The Direct 3Dview of your object can be used to create an online 3D catalogue to allow web visitors to fully experience the product - virtually. Another great application is for 3D proofs of concept for a new design or invention in a collaborative viewing environment.

Features of the Direct 3Dview include:

  • The smallest viewer on the web - the one-time plug-in is only 130KB
  • Smaller digital file sizes = faster download times
  • Easily integrates into web sites
  • Viewer supported in an e-mail as well as PowerPoint
  • View file in actual 3D, not a series of images


ShapeShots™ are high-resolution 3D snapshots of faces that are incredibly life-like. ShapeShot™ enables online personal interaction with amazingly real 3D avatars of you, friends, and family for social networking, online gaming, virtual collaborative environments, and fabrication of personalized consumer products.

New advances in 3D imaging technology have made it to possible to capture faces in a split second and receive an interactive 3D model within minutes with almost no effort.

From the Virtual to the Physical

The above examples are just a drop in the bucket when it comes to visualization applications. But what happens if you want to take your 3D model and make a physical copy of it? For instance, can you take your Guitar Hero avatar and get a physical 3D copy made? You can, and that process is called Rapid Prototyping or RP. Rapid Prototyping is just one of many technologies that fall into the “3D Printing” category and we’ll be talking about that next.

Happy Very Brand New year to All of you.

Contact  Australian Design & Drafting Services for more information..


3d cad digital model formats


Digital Model Formats - The Many Flavors of 3D CAD

We would like to take a little pause here and discuss things you can do with a  CAD  model. It led to questions like how to use the OBJ file and how it's different from an STL? Can an  IGES  and a STEP file be used for the same thing? We call the "Flavours" of CAD that provide the shortlist to help clear some details.


  • OB体育ob体育官网 - This is a native AutoCAD drawing file
  • ASCII (or ASC) – an X, Y, Z point cloud file in ASCII text format.
  • IGES – "Initial Graphics Exchange Specification" - a neutral format for exchanging CAD data between many different software programs
  • DXF – "Drawing Interchange File" - a neutral version of a OB体育ob体育官网 file
  • OBJ – an open data format that represents the vertices of polygons
  • SLDPRT – a native CAD format for SolidWorks
  • PRT – a native  CAD format for Pro/ ENGINEER  and NX
  • STEP – "Standard for the Exchange of Product model data" (ISO 10303), an advanced neutral format for exchanging CAD data between many software programs.
  • STL – "Standard Tessellation Language" - a polygonal model format similar to OBJ and several others
  • WRL (VRML) – "Virtual Reality Modelling Language," a polygonal file similar to OBJ, STL and several others and can include colour
  • X_T - a semi-neutral CAD format
  • Wikipedia maintains a list of CAD file formats that interest List of File Formats adding Computer-aided design.


  • From the above 0..list, one can notice neutral CAD formats that come with specifically IGES and STEP formats. The two formats create a neutral exchange of 3D CAD data across different CAD packages.
  • IGES created in 1979 along with the group of users, and it supports the Department of Defence (DoD) and NIST with exchanging data with ease. Since the late '80s'80s, the DoD has offered Digital Project Manufacturing Data (PMI) with deliverables in IGES format.
  • STEP offer ISO standard released in 1994 with becoming a "successor" to IGES. At the same time, using it with not replace the IGES format.


While the above examples, it comes with the standard across CAD packages. It uses industries like Architecture. 3D modelling mainly uses computer graphics with their packages and file types. We like to think of these as extra flavours, like CAD dessert.

3D Graphics – 3D graphics formats generally work based on the package. Few popular graphics programs come with 3D +Studio Max, Lightwave and Maya. Few popular gaming companies, including Blizzard Entertainment and other film studios, often develop their in-house formats. However, many consumer 3D graphics packages can import OBJ files.

3D Modelling for Architecture: It comes with a new modelling style for facilities, such as buildings and processing plants, which are developing rapidly. The CAD software contains a relational database component to store metadata for the design entities, such as the style and make of windows or doors or the schedule of the I-beams and piping. The new class of software called BIM mainly uses building information modelling to combine facilities management into the database concept.

By checking the above examples, it's just a tiny taste that comes with the "flavours" of CAD. But they are the most common files used. Hopefully, this will help to get a better understanding. If you have any queries, ask for a 3D  service  provider and contact us at info@astcad.com.au.

Downstream Applications for 3D Data 3d scanning

Everything One Wanted to Know About 3d Scanning Downstream Applications For 3d Data

Downstream Applications for 3D Data

What to do with a  3D  model? Practically anything! Today, in this world that's increasingly digital, most industries now utilize 3D files in some fashion. It shows up in many different places lately.

At this point, you have your 3D model from your scanned original part. It modelled digitally into a polygon format with reverse-engineered  CAD  format. Based on your needs, one can do things like adding 3D data that might thought of yet with covering different downstream applications used for  3D  data file.

Downstream applications fall into the followings categories:

  • Re-Engineering/Design
  • Documentation/Archival
  • Industry-specific Applications
  • Visualization/Animation
  • Inspection/Analysis
  • Replication/Reproduction  


As your part or object, the laser scanned and modelled adding digital "backup" of the object. Scan data for archival purposes mainly used for a number of industries covering Aerospace, Consumer Products, Architecture and Museum/Fine Art. We at Australian Design and Drafting services, offer scanned objects that specifically used for the purpose of creating a  digital  document.

The digital model mainly used for:

  • Protecting accidental part loss, used for almost insurance policy.
  • It provides you working with "virtual" blueprint in order to recreate, rebuild, or remanufacture.
  • It gives ability to start from a base model with creating something new without requiring to start from scratch.  


The Reverse Engineering process used as an application that mainly work as Aerospace/Defence and Industrial Design industries. With using a Reverse Engineered model, one makes engineering and design changes in object adding a variety of ways and use it for specific types of analysis including:

  • Use various model for FEA and similar analyses
  • Add or subtract design features into current existing part or object
  • It uses base model to design new piece or object.


It uses process, adding inspection 3D data particularly for any types of manufacturing. Use advanced laser scanning adding reverse engineering tools and techniques, Direct Dimensions that inspect and analyze your object or part in a variety of method:

  • Compare scan part that adds "nominal" or intended design model.
  • Compare a scanned object with 2D drawing dimensions.
  • Compare a scanned with another scanned object.


The replication offers early and essential uses for a 3D file. It uses 3D printing process, adding digital file that creates physical part. It adds laser scanned with reverse engineered part. It uses virtually limitless options for replicating that object. It’s used for:

  • Restoration
  • Manufacturing Prototypes
  • Scaling in either direction
  • Making Products  


The app falls into the realm advertising and entertainment adding museum presentations, with adding legal cases, with high-quality training simulations using for 3D model visualizations and animations.

Direct 3Dview to your object used as create online 3D catalogue using proof of concept.

Faces scan a person for animations, mass personalization, avatars, consumer products, adding simulation programs.

  • Animation – The recent people scan, objects, and structures uses to create commercials, music videos, films, and video games.
  • Rendering – It comes with high-quality 2D renderings that uses 3D models for marketing purposes. The structures and viewpoints offer legal cases that provide eyewitness accounts.


  • There are various types of industries that utilise previously listed applications, there adds few 3D model apps along with specific design including:

bim 3d scanning

    • Museum Research/Fine Art: investigative scanning for provenance and comparative research

3d scanning bim

Same 3D Data, Many Different Uses: Repurpose!

Often, with just a little bit of extra work, you can create different, valuable deliverables with the same basic scan data or 3D model. Some examples are:

  • A consumer products company has an object scanned so that it can be prototyped. What they might not know is that with a little tweaking of the model they can also gather the measurements needed to create perfectly fitting packaging and also creating photorealistic models for subsequent advertising or a virtual catalogue.
  • An aerospace company has a cockpit scanned for human factors analysis. If enough data was initially collected, that same data could be used to help create training simulations.
  • A major museum has a sculpture in its collection that is rapidly deteriorating and they want to scan it for documentation. That data could be used to create high-quality mini replications to be sold in the gift shop or for research (possibly comparing it to similar castings by the same artist).

The Sky is the Limit!

The above examples are just a drop in the bucket when it comes to uses for 3D models. If you have a possible application that you think a 3D model would work for, you should just ask your 3D service provider if it can or has been done. If they are anything like us, they will either have already done it (or tried it) or be so intrigued by your application that they are willing to give it a shot! And if you can’t do it yet, check back often; new applications and methods are being invented every day.

The world of 3D imaging, modelling, and engineering continues to grow at such an incredible rate that older applications are always being improved upon and new ones are always being dreamed up.



Everything You Want to Know About 3d Scanning Inspection Analysis

Inspection/Analysis - Comparison to CAD

We move on to downstream applications for  3D models . Before we jump, we need to talk about one more application for scan data. Here we'll cover how this data can be utilized for quality inspection.

Essential Terminology

  • CMM - A  mechanical device, Coordinate Measuring Machine with 3D coordinates. Either touch probe is based or non-contact, portable or stationary, or motorised or manual.
  • Laser Tracker - The laser beam locates a reflective target against the measured object. The beam reflects the tracker by calculating the distance and angle of the location of the target. Later the Laser trackers come with a great option to get accuracy over more extensive measurement ranges.
  • Color Map : It's a graphical display for visualising dimensional differences between the measured object shapes. It's a nominal CAD model to map colour spectrum by indicating location and magnitude.


We think the 3D scanning industry comes with something new, where the first 3D digitisers, Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs), were built in the 1960s. It's the entire purpose of development that perform dimensional inspections. In the last few years, checks have been made with the most common uses for 3D scanning and digitising systems.

The engineers at the then-Martin, Marietta, became aware of a company making articulating arms for medical measurements. Later, they began working with the company to develop a portable CMM for inspections in the aerospace industry.

After creating portable CMM, the options for  3D  measurement and inspection exploded. The laser scanners added to the movable arms and Laser Trackers were quickly developed. Talking about a few years, portable scan arms have offered standard measurement solutions in major manufacturing firms. It comes from aerospace to automotive and power generation to medical.  


  • It comes with different types of inspections utilising 3D technologies:
  • It's one fastest and most informative type of inspection called Dimensional Deviation. The  CAD to Part Inspection covers a typical process Scan Arm. The scan data is compared to the original  CAD model , offering a software package showing deviations by a colour map. A variation offer Dimensional Deviation is the Virtual Assembly Analysis. With reference points, the interface datums come with the capability of adding a virtual environment, simulating and identifying how parts fit together in real-world assembly.
  • We use the part's assembly characteristics that apply the mating constraints during assembly. It's called "reference point fit", which adds control part movement in each control point. The analysis offer collision in a real-world scenario done virtually.
  • It measured the process of being machined. It comes with On-Machine Inspection that allows essential characteristics to be measured and changes the tool to be created. It is typically done using a Portable CMM with probe and scanner. The laser tracker depends on the size of the object that's being machined.
  • Similar to on-machine inspections, it uses real-time inspections for Installation Alignment. It uses significant equipment for laser trackers, PCMM, and more. It offers comprehensive assessments for First Article Inspection (FAI). It involves thoroughly inspecting a physical part against the production drawing dimensions. The typical process comes with portable CMM.  


The products take 3D measured data from the portable arms and scanners and perform the inspection analysis. Each capability performs two main inspection types: discreet point dimensional inspection and dense point cloud comparison analysis. The comprehensive capabilities come with GD&T or special case analyses. It's specialised in certain areas that use multi-scanner integration. It supports the customer in understanding the strengths of each package relative to using specific applications and company requirements. If we perform the project for someone as a service, it's known as the best software for inspection. Contact us to get more specific packages.

  • CAM 2 Measure X (by Faro)
  • InnovMetric PolyWorks Inspector
  • Geomagic Qualify
  • Verisurf
  • Rapidform XOV

What you do with your data: inspect, model digitally and reverse engineering.  Contact  Australian Design & Drafting Services to know more about information.


Reverse Engineering

Converting Raw Point Clouds into CAD Formats:


Processing 3D data into polygonal models and dumb solids adds a simple mesh file for geometry features that enables to redesign process. It categorised the processing of collected data into two main categories: reverse engineering and  Digital Modelling . Digital Modelling uses these simpler model formats that we call Reverse Engineering.

  • Reverse Engineering: It’s the process of measuring and creating a CAD model of an object that reflects how the object designed initially been.
  • Design Intent: The intended design comes with an in-built physical object where the manufactured part varies from its original intended design. The imperfections can be identified, well-analysed, and corrected using reverse engineering.
  • As-Built: The modelling captures the physical shape of an object that actually comes with its imperfections.


When any project falls into the category of Reverse Engineering, is it opposed to Digital Modelling? Why one should opt for Reverse Engineering, which sounds time-consuming, requires additional processing, and is probably more expensive?

Our recommendation depends on many factors that include shapes such as organic vs. geo metrics to get desired file output. If you’re seeking to make a Rapid Prototype of a hand-carved chair seat, then doing digital modelling can be an excellent option for you. If you scan an aeroplane that creates an accurate model for CFD analysis, you need a model for flow analysis. It comes with an engine casing to redesign and spend the time and effort required to create a fully reversed engineered model.

The desired file output is the main difference between Digital Modelling and Reverse Engineering. People select Digital Modelling for using the file,  Rapid  Prototyping or visualisation purposes. One needs to redesign purposes for importing models into analysis programs that choose Reverse Engineer, which brings files into parametric modelling software. It essentially adds four types of models.

A Rapid NURBS starts with adding a polygonal model. The NURBS surfaces can be wrapped over the polygonal mesh. The wrapped surface model works more smoothly than a polygonal model with no regular geometric features. This type of NURBS model brought into parametric modellers, which we call dumb.

The bridge between Digital Modelling and  Reverse Engineering  is called Hybrid Model. Where a hybrid model and polygonal model convert into a rapid NURBS surface model that uses traditional solid modelling techniques. It’s used to add basic geometric features to cover holes & edges, adding complex organic contours.

The Hybrid model steps up fully Rapid NURBS for both time and effort. It is not as time-consuming and comes with an entirely reverse engineered parametric model. Unlike the Rapid NURBS, which wraps around a polygonal frame, the hybrid dumb solid contains geometric features, including holes, planes, and radii, adding features with no parametric history. While an entirely reverse engineered Parametric Model offer fully functional features that allow complete redesign. The models are built from scratch, making them perfect for the reverse engineering of legacy parts and redesigns.


When choosing a reverse engineer part, deciding if the part is reverse engineered as-built with its design intent is essential. It comes with physical production parts that are fractions of millimetres and worn down a bit from the original fabrication. It’s necessary to clarify the end use of the data by discussing your  project  with a reverse engineering firm.


It comes with the fine line between Digital Modelling and Reverse Engineering. Both methods come with a valid solution to 3D problems. Few advantages of Reverse Engineering include:

Parametric Modelling Packages covering solid modelling CAD software

Parametric Models feature tree that can editable.

Few other Rapid NURBS dumb solids, reverse engineered models contain geometric features covering planes and radii that make the models a better fit to measure and design.

Reverse engineered models come with excellent analysis software for CFD and FEA.


Direct Dimensions include:

  • Geomagic
  • Imageware
  • Innovmetric PolyWorks
  • Rapidform

The CAD packages frequently cover  AutoCAD , CATIA, SolidWorks, Siemens NX, ProEngineer, and Rhino3D.


Now that you know about Digital Modelling and Reverse Engineering, you may feel like you don’t need anything else to create 3D models. If you want to make use of the 3D model, Contact Australian Design & Drafting Services to resolve your query.

Digital Modeling

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About 3D Scanning – Digital Modeling

Converting Raw Point Clouds into CAD Formats

You’ve read your overview, figured out how to collect data, and now that you have this data, what do you do with it?

As you learned in Chapter Two, Direct Dimensions breaks data collection into two common methods: Laser Scanning and Digitizing. We also categorize the processing of the collected data into two main categories: Digital Modeling and Reverse Engineering. In this chapter, we’ll tell you what you need to know about Digital Modeling.

Digital Modeling: the process of creating a computer model of an object that exactly replicates the form of the object. Laser scanners are used to capture the 3D data of the object, and this data is transferred to the computer where it is aligned, edited and finalized as a complete 3D model.

Polygonal Models and Dumb Solids

So, when does something fall into the category of Digital Modeling as opposed to Reverse Engineering? At DDI it generally depends on a couple of factors: shape (organic vs. geometric) and desired file output. As a general rule of thumb, organic shapes tend to fall into the Digital Modeling category, as do polygonal models (STL Files) and Rapid NURBS Dumb Solids.

A Polygonal Model is a faceted (or tessellated) model consisting of many triangles. Facets are formed by connecting points within the point cloud. STL files can be used for visualization, rapid prototyping, design, milling, and analysis software.

A Rapid NURBS ‘Dumb’ Solid (usually in IGS format) starts with the polygonal model. NURBS surfaces are wrapped over the polygonal wireframe. This wrapped surface model is smoother than a polygonal model. The NURBS model can be brought into parametric modellers such as SolidWorks (albeit with no parametric history – which is why we call it dumb).

The bridge between Digital Modeling and Reverse Engineering is the hybrid  Model . A Hybrid model is a polygonal model that has been converted in a rapid NURBS surface model and then also uses traditional solid modelling techniques. It is commonly used when basic geometric features, such as holes & edges, blend with complex organic contours, such as a machined casting.

Do Reverse Engineering and Digital Modeling ever Overlap?


In addition to Hybrid Models, there are instances when it is appropriate to use both Digital Modeling and Reverse Engineering techniques. For example, when collecting data of a large object (such as a plane) for Reverse Engineering, it is necessary to use a laser scanner to capture the massive amounts of surface data. The data output from a laser scanner is a point cloud, but point clouds cannot be brought into any CAD packages. Before the data can be transferred into CAD it must be digitally modelled into either a polygonal model or a Rapid NURBS dumb solid.

The Digital Modeling Advantage

There can be a fine line between Digital Modeling and Reverse Engineering and sometimes both methods can be a valid solution to 3D problems. Some advantages of Digital Modeling are:

  • Digital Modeling generally offers a faster and more cost-effective solution.
  • It presents a great solution for creating solid models when an object has organic contours.
  • Offers excellent dimensional accuracy and can be utilized for comparative analysis.
  • While it is true that Rapid NURBS Dumb Solid models do not have parametric history, they can be utilized as a base for design work and Boolean functions are possible.
  • Unlike raw point clouds, Digital Models can be visualized in rendering software as a solid object, which is great for seeing the overall shape and contour of the model.

Getting Started

In Chapter Two we discussed data collection and various brands of scanners and digitizers that we use on a daily basis. Don’t worry! We won’t leave you hanging on what software packages we recommend for digital modelling. We use the following packages every day at DDI (in alphabetical order):

  • Geomagic Shape Studio : Polygonal and NURBS modelling and point cloud to CAD comparison. Geomagic can automatically generate an accurate digital model from any physical part.
  • PolyWorks Modeler : Polygonal modelling and point cloud to CAD comparison. PolyWorks can process large point clouds over 100 million points and easily integrates with all standard digitizers and articulating arms.
  • Rapidform : Third generation point processing software for creating native parametric "design-intent" CAD models directly from scan data. At Direct Dimensions, we often use Rapidform in Hybrid Modeling but it also has a great Rapid NURBS function.

Tackling Reverse Engineering

Now that you know a bit more about what we call Digital Modeling and why it can be a great option, you are ready to tackle Reverse Engineering in next post.

Contact Australian Design & Drafting Services for more information..


3d scanning service brisbane

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About 3D Scanning – Data Collection

Now that you have a basic idea about how 3D scanning and modelling work, let’s really get started. Before you can have a 3D model, you must have 3D data to create that model. Let’s start there…

So, what are the ways that 3D data can be collected?

There are multiple ways to collect 3D data but two of the most common methods (and the two most frequently used by ASTCAD) are laser scanning and digitizing.

During laser scanning , a laser line is passed over the surface of an object in order to record three-dimensional information. The surface data is captured by a camera sensor mounted in the laser scanner which records accurate dense 3D points in space, allowing for very accurate data without ever touching the object.

Laser scanners can be broken down further into types such as laser line, patch, and spherical. The FARO ScanArm, the FARO LS, the Surphaser, Konica Minolta Vivid 9i and Range 7 are some examples of laser scanners that we often use at Direct Dimensions.

The second major method is digitizing , which is a contact-based form of 3D data collection. This is generally done by touching a probe to various points on the surface of the object to record 3D information. Using a point or ball probe allows the user to collect individual 3D data points of an object in space rather than large swathes of points at a time, like laser scanning. This method of data collection is generally more accurate for defining the geometric form of an object rather than organic freeform shapes. Digitizing is especially useful for industrial reverse engineering applications when precision is the most important factor. Stationary CMM’s (coordinate measurement machine), portable CMM arms, and the FARO Laser Tracker are all examples of digitizers that we often use at Direct Dimensions.

Other methods of collecting 3D data include white light scanning, CT scanning and photo image-based systems. These technologies are being utilized more frequently in the field of 3D scanning and new applications are being discovered every day.

To be digitized or laser scanned?

A general “rule” is that scanning is better for organic shapes and digitizing is most accurate for geometric shapes. In general, laser scanning is also used for higher-volume work (larger objects like cars, planes, and buildings). Laser scanning is also a great option for people who need 3D data of an object but would prefer that the object not be touched, such as for documentation of important artifacts.

Digitizing is often used for our engineering projects and first article inspections, in instances where precise measurements are required for geometrically-shaped subjects. This includes objects that have defined lines and planes and curved shapes, like spheres and cylinders.

This doesn’t mean that you can never laser scan a part with many geometric features or that you can’t digitize a plane (an entire plane can be digitized, believe us – we’ve done it!) or even a sculpture. These are just rules of thumb.

Utilizing multiple methods of Data Collection

There are projects when it is more cost and time effective to use multiple methods of data collection. A good example is a cast part with geometric machined features. You might need a 3D model of the entire part but really need incredible accuracy on the machined features while the freeform cast surface itself is not as important. In such a case it can be much more effective to laser scan the entire part and then digitize the geometric features. The data can be combined during the modelling phase (more on that in the following chapters).

Additional Scanning Information

Because you are trying to collect the most accurate data possible, there are a few more things to keep in mind before you run out and start scanning everything in sight.

  • Bright light sources in the area, including the sun, can really mess up your scan data. At Direct Dimensions, if we are laser scanning an object outdoors we prefer to do it at night if able. Light can reflect off of your scanning object and create “noisy” data. This brings us to:
  • Very reflective materials generally do not scan well. This can be avoided with a light coating of white powder spray (or anything that dulls the reflectivity). There are also some scanner manufacturers who are actively working to solve this problem.
  • Fixturing: whether you are laser scanning or digitizing, it important that your scan object will not move while you are collecting data. The tiniest motion will cause inaccurate data.
  • If you need hard to reach/impossible to see internal data, you should consider CT scanning or destructive slicing, both can be great ways to augment your data. (more on those later).

Moving on to 3D modelling

Now that you have a good idea of what you need to collect data, you are ready to learn all about the various ways the data can be modelled. Chapters three through five will cover, 3D Modeling, Reverse Engineering, and Inspection Analysis.

Contact Australian Design & Drafting Services for more information.

3d scanning process 3d model

Everything You Wanted to Know About 3d Scanning – The Basics

With passing time, we meet many people who find our work interesting as we use 3D scanning technologies. We at Australian Design and Drafting Service company offer easy 3D scanning that helps the user to discover the ways to provide cutting-edge technologies.

3D Scanning topics we use here:

Chapter 1: The 3D Scanning Basics and Digital Modelling

Chapter 2: Different Methods for Data Collection

Chapter 3: Digital Modelling – Converting Raw Point Clouds into CAD Formats

Chapter 4: Reverse Engineering – To Design-Intent CAD Models

Chapter 5: Inspection / Analysis – To Compare with CAD

Chapter 6: Downstream the Main Applications for 3D Data Basics

Chapter 7: Digital Model Formats – Several Flavours of 3D CAD

Chapter 8: Using 3D Data for Visualisation

Chapter 9: Rapid Prototyping – To Make Physical Objects from Scan Data

Chapter 10: The Future – To Scan Desktop and other Manufacturing



A 3D model comes with a digital representation of a physical object. If your object wants digital form, then use the direct dimensions that take physical objects and use advanced 3D scanning equipment to capture and transform them into 3D digital models.

We have an excellent team that processes the raw data gathered during a 3D scan into a digital model. We use different methods for collecting this data, including laser scanning and other digitising. A 3D model is incredibly versatile. Therefore, connect to know the 3D scanning basic.


3D models are mainly used for several purposes, including animation or visualisation. One can make changes in design to form a new product. They perform a dimensional and comparative analysis of an object or even an FEA and CFD analysis. The team help to archive the purposes by accurately recording the state or form of an object.

They are used to repair the damage done to an object digitally. It reproduces the object in its proper form. They practice rapid prototyping and milling technologies. There are no limits on what can be done when something has been captured in 3D. In short, the technologies allow the physical object to be recreated into a 3D digital format.


We capture objects indoors or outdoors, during the day or at night, using the technologies. As the sky is the limit, we know how large the technology can capture the smallest objects. Few of our equipment is portable, so we can come to your facility and encourage you to ship your items to our lab. On the large side, the Direct Dimensions scan the entire aeroplanes, historical monuments, stubs and ships, and tracts of land with large interior spaces like buildings.

We’ve scanned the mid-size objects such as spacesuits, countless consumer products and other artwork. We’ve done tiny, finely-detailed items, including coins, medical devices, and other dental appliances. Along with this, we capture fingerprints and skin textures. The bottom line offers the tools to scan it, and it’s most likely to use them.

WHAT’S NEXT? Now that we all understand the basics, we can scan and use the 3D data by learning more about the various methods for data collection! Looking for any 3D scanning work? Do  contact us  for more information.

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