Thursday, August 12, 2010

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About 3D Scanning : Downstream Applications

Chapter 6: Downstream Applications for 3D Data

In our on-going series about 3D scanning, we’ve reached the fun part! What can you do with a 3D model? Practically anything!

In a world that is increasingly digital, most industries now utilize 3D files in some fashion. We’re seeing them show up in many different places lately.

At this point in the process (having read sections 1-5), you have your 3D model from your scanned original part. It has been either digitally modeled into a polygon format or reverse engineered into a CAD format, according to your needs. But, you can do so many things with your 3D data – things you might not have even thought of yet!

Section Six covers the different downstream applications for 3D data files and because there are so many different applications to talk about, we are going to break out the info into multiple posts.

Downstream applications generally fall into the followings categories:

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


After your part or object has been laser scanned and modeled you now have a digital "backup" of the object. Scan data for archival purposes is useful for a number of industries: Aerospace/Defense, Consumer Products/Industrial Design, Architecture/Historic preservation and Museum/Fine Art. At Direct Dimensions we’ve scanned many objects specifically for the purpose of creating a digital document. Archival scans have ranged from the Lincoln Memorial (post-9/11) to a huge rare meteorite to legacy aircraft parts that are no longer made.

This digital model will:

* Protect you from accidental part loss, almost like an insurance policy
* Provide you with a working "virtual" blueprint in order to rebuild, recreate, or remanufacture
* Give you the ability to start from a base model and create something new without having to start from scratch

A good example of something scanned for documentation purposes is the Lincoln Memorial.

You can read more about the Lincoln Memorial scan here or watch this animated fly-through we created using 3D laser scan data.

Check back soon because we'll be talking about more downstream applications including reverse engineering and inspection.