Point Cloud Conversion to 3D Model

If you have a  Faro point cloud file (.fls), we can post-process all the RAW data you have and build a parametric 3D model representing the scanned area or part.

  • Faro point cloud files FLS and Scene, 
  • Leica’s Cyclone / Cloudworx native IMP / PCS files, 
  • Artec SPROJ files,
  • Creaforms CSF from GoScan,
  • Or even an STL or OBJ file from Shinning 3D,

Usually, post-processing takes twice more time than the original scanning procedure. So spending 5 hours scanning something, it is not uncommon to spend an additional 10 hours cleaning up and assembling the scan data. So if you want the most accurate conversion – contact us. GeoMagic tools are our products of choice. We can provide you with .005” aerospace accuracy Cad Perfect™ models of your design.

These tasks are usually associated with BIM modeling but we can make some precise CAD measurements to help you with further development process.

By outsourcing the time-consuming point cloud conversion, your designers and CAD operators are free to work on new projects, while we create the digital model that exactly replicates the scanned object(s). You simply need to send us your point cloud data, and we will align and edit it to create a finalized, current, accurate, and complete 3D model.

Train Cart Designs Point Cloud

We can even help you recreate entire train cart designs!

Polygonal Models and Dumb Solids

3D scanning and the resulting point cloud data are particularly appropriate for modeling organic (freeform) shapes as well as 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 modelers such as SolidWorks (although without parametric history & limited editing – thus the term “dumb” solid).

All of the modern 3D laser scanners provide you with Point Clouds representing often millions of points, which describe the properties of captured geometry. The most common problem with the point clouds is that they need to be processed to perform most operations, for example, in reverse engineering or BIM modeling. 

This processing is required, no matter how accurate, brand, or the price of any scanner. As a rule of thumb, in most cases, post-processing and surface reconstruction takes twice more time than the scanning itself. It is essential to bear in mind and follow a considerable amount of rules while converting 3d point clouds to meshes.

The amount of polygons comes first. It seems obvious to increase the number of polygons wherever possible to create the most accurate meshes with a large number of data points. However, the mesh becomes too complicated and hard to compute with an enormous amount of excessive point cloud data. This kind of model will require much more powerful computers, and often not needed to correctly define your information.

Point cloud acquired with the 3D scanner

Point cloud acquired with the 3D scanner

The polygon quality and quantity adjustment can help to control the final size of the meshed model. It is also essential in terms of storage and data transfers in case you are planning to outsource further model processing.

It is essential to monitor sizes and set the axis system of the resulting model. Sometimes even changing the background can be the right decision and will save a lot of time searching for the holes in the point cloud.

Big holes sometimes look tempting to fill and approximate them, but in most cases, it is much better to leave them as is.

The most difficult to scan materials are plastics, and sometimes shiny materials like stainless steel. Quality metal parts scans are less demanding. Moreover, plastic parts shrink after the manufacturing process. But with all the years of experience, our specialists can recreate your original design intent even from deformed plastic parts scans.

It is common for us to see old worn-out machinery.  So not only do we have to scan this, but rebuild – via the CAD models and compensate for the areas that have worn. Some of our Aerospace projects like this have been very interesting.  So that design intent can be a very important part of this process.

3D CAD model created from point cloud

3D CAD model created from point cloud

Get a Quote now and we will do our best in delivering your CAD Perfect™ experience.

 

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3D Scanning FAQ

Can you scan the internals of my parts?

Depending on the situation we can offer you dissecting your part for scanning purposes or use CT if applicable.

What is the minimum price for your scanning services?

For 3D scanning services our minimum order fee is $120.

How good are your 3D CT scanners?
  • 4 to 400µm/voxel resolution
  • Full inspection of large size samples
  • Modular and micro-resolution capability
  • 6 motion axis
Can your scanners find voids in materials?

Yes. This is one of CT scanners’ major points – to see into objects. This is the best solution for nondestructive quality control.

Do you support CT scanning?

Yes with both the DeskTom and EasyTom CT scanners.  They both support metrology grade Computed Tomography (CT) inspection.  This provides nondestructive, 3D Scanning of Internal and External Geometries.  We use the Volume Graphics VGStudio Max high-end industrial CT software for the demanding of CT applications.

How accurate is 3D scanning?

The scanners we use are as accurate as the industry offers – from anybody at any cost. We use Faro and Artec 3D scanners, in addition to Faro CMM type arms, including the Surveyor tables. Depending on what scanner we use:

  • CT scanners – 4 to 400µm/voxel resolution
  • Artec Portable scanners high accuracy (0.03 – 0.05mm)
  • Artec Portable scanners high resolution (up to 0.15mm)
  • Our CyberGage 360 – generates highly precise full 360 degrees automated scan with accuracy NIST traceable to approximately 7 microns
  • The CyberGage 360 has a system repeatability of ±.005mm.
What types of scanners do you use?
  • Faro Arm – Very good for most parts, fast and accurate
  • Turntable scanners – high accuracy, high detail, fast scanning. Great for smaller parts.
  • Portable handheld – may be favorable for some larger parts – if not a tripod-mounted scanner.
  • Long Range – these mount on a tripod, and are intended to scan buildings, plants, and other larger sized projects.
  • Industrial CT scanners – incredibly expensive, but they offer two main benefits – the ability to inside an object (think of a void in a solid object), and their accuracy.  At this level, we are often in the ±.001” – ±.002” range, and often used in metrology scanning.
What is the Point Cloud/Mesh/3D Scan?

A point cloud is thousands if not millions of data points located in space by X, Y, Z coordinates. Images of this nature are often captured with Faro Focus or Artec scanners that specialize in large-area scanning.  Most likely you obtain building and territory plans in this file format.

A polygon mesh is a set of triangles located in the same manner. These scans are obtained with Artec, Creaform, Enscan and other handheld scanners. Parts and reverse engineering device scans are usually polygon meshes.

How much does scanning services cost?

It depends on the complexity of the scanned model and material properties. As, for example, it may be much more complicated to properly scan an object with a reflective surface, than a non-reflective surface. It also depends on three main factors:

  1. the physical size of your part
  2. the required scanning resolution
  3. if industrial CT or metallurgy scanning is needed

Simple quick cell phone photos are worth a thousand words to us. To know for sure you can request a quote. It is of course, free – and treated as if an NDA is already in place.

Some averages:

  • The typical 3D scan is somewhere around $200-400 per part.
  • Tomographic (CT) scanning is $600-900 per part.

Because so much of our business is Aerospace related, our scanning – and the completed CAD file HAS to be within ±.005” anywhere on that part, we never use consumer-grade scanners. The scanners we use start at $25,000 and go up to $700,000 (CT) per scanner.

At any given time, we have in excess of $ 5 million just in scanning hardware we use. In addition, a hidden factor of scanning on any system is the assembly and clean up of any scan. The rule of thumb is a 2-1 ratio. So even with our experienced scanning staff, if we spend one-hour scanning; we will then spend an additional two hours of clean up and assembly before our CAD group gets the Point Cloud file to simulate or reverse engineer.

Reverse Engineering FAQ

What is the quality of reverse-engineered parts?

We can provide ±.005” aerospace quality for every model. CT scanned parts can have even higher precision up to ±.001”.

What do you guys need to provide me with accurate pricing?

We need to know whether you need your parts to be scanned by us. Or many times we can work with 3D scans provided by third-party companies.  The quality of the scan is everything in our business. Anyway, we strongly advise you to use us for both the scanning and the CAD conversion aspects.  That way, we can control the quality. Sometimes we receive poor quality scans which make it impossible to create truly Cad Perfect™ models for you.  By all means, send us a couple of even cell phone photos, and the rough size of the object.  Most of the time, this will provide us enough information to provide a real bid.

The price depends on the part complexity, size, as well as the target file parametres. We need to know whether you need full parametric models, and your desired accuracy. If you tell us the purpose of reverse-engineered models, we can often provide you with possible solutions. The target CAD software may change the price as well. This includes sophisticated Workstation add-on products such as Composites, Catia electrical wiring, mold design, and others.

What is the average price for Reverse Engineering?

It all depends on the part’s complexity, size and structure.

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