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7 Things Every Business Owner Needs to Know about 3-D Scanning
3-D printing has been around for decades. It's a method of taking a digital file and "printing" it using a variety of materials to make a 3-dimensional object. These digital files were usually created by design engineers and could take hundreds of hours to create, often at a substantial cost.
Enter 3-D scanning. New state-of-the-art digital scanners can quickly, accurately and relatively inexpensively create those digital files by scanning an existing object and converting the scanned information into editable digital files.
So what's the big deal? 3-D scanning is revolutionizing all sorts of businesses and industries while cutting time-to-market and development costs.
Because they are fast AND accurate, 3-D scans can be used in lots of different ways. Instead of creating new design files, prototypes and molds for every modification, existing products can be scanned and digitally altered to create ready-to-manufacture products.
Here are 7 things every business owner should know about 3-D scanning:
#1 - Because they use lasers to scan point clouds on an object, 3-D scanners are highly accurate and can quickly capture even the most minute details of an object.
#2 - 3-D scanning equipment is portable. Handheld scanners are lightweight enough to use anywhere, allowing scans to be made of objects that could not be scanned before - like heavy equipment and even buildings.
# 3 - Building scans can be used to create scaled down 3-D replicas of buildings for architects, builders and buyers. 3-D scans have been used to plan infrastructure and to anticipate environmental impact before construction.
#4 - 3-D scans can be used to inspect and analyze a product or prototype to ensure it meets specifications before it is mass produced.
#5 - 3-D scans can be used to reverse engineer products and parts allowing existing objects to be re-created quickly. 3-D scans have been used to create replacement parts for older equipment for which no existing molds or plans exist. Reverse engineering also allows product designers to scan their existing product lines to make improvements before incurring the costs of creating expensive injection molds.
#6 - 3-D scans can be used to create amazing animations and renderings which can be an invaluable tool for businesses looking for investors. New products or inventions can be demonstrated even before a prototype is made.
#7 - 3-D scanning is revolutionizing how orthotics and dental devices are created. Scans can be done safely and without patient contact. 3-D scans can be used to create braces, dentures, casts, shoe-inserts, face masks for burn victims and even prosthetics which are custom-fitted for individual patients.
While the scanning equipment and software can be costly, 3-D scanning services are readily available and are relatively inexpensive, especially when compared to the cost of traditional product development or part fabrication.
As the technology of 3-D printing improves, 3-D scanning will become an even more important tool for business owners in the fields of consumer products, construction, design, healthcare and any business that needs to have a hard-to-source product or replacement part made quickly.
Want to learn more about 3-D scanning or see a demonstration of a handheld scanner in action? Contact AlphaGraphics of Franklin at 615.786.0280.