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Uses for 3D Scanning and Types of 3D Scanners

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Uses for 3D Scanning and Types of 3D Scanners 

Quite simply…anyone who needs a faster, easier way to make…well, ANYTHING!  As long as you have something physical to start with that can be scanned, and there are virtually no limitations as to size, location, or position, as long as you have the right scanner for the job.

Here are some examples:

Hollywood movie makers and video game animators regularly use 3D scanning and 3D printing for characters and special effects.
Hospitals and dental labs use these types scanning devices to create digital models body parts and teeth in order to make perfectly fitting prosthetics and dentures.
Museums and galleries use 3D scanners to make replicas of everything from artifacts and statures to dinosaurs.
Architects and Designers can avoid spatial conflicts when remodeling anything from factories and schools to houses and bridges by using a laser scanner to scan and plot the existing construction, then creating a Building Information Model (BIM) to remodel virtually.

  • Hobbyists of all types use small, inexpensive “hobby” 3D scanners to make everything from teacups to robots.
  • Surveyors use 3D scanning to monitor coastal erosion, slope deterioration, buildings, bridges, power stations, refineries, dams, railway infrastructure, topography and more, depending upon what they’re surveying. If it’s solid…they can scan it.
  • Forensics analysts, whether they are recreating a crime scene or a crash site, 3D scanning helps them determine what happened.

With so many different uses for 3D scanning, it’s not surprising that there are different types of 3D scanners:

Laser scanners

Laser scanners can be hand-held or mounted and can make use of one or more these technologies:  triangulation, time of flight and phase shift.  Through “laser triangulation,” laser scanners calculate the exact shape and size of an object. “Time of flight” is based on the laser light impulse which is sent by a scanner to the scanned object. The distance to the scanned object is calculated according to the time that elapses from the moment of sending the laser light until it is captured by a special sensor in the scanner.  “Phase-based scanning” utilizes a constant beam of laser energy that is emitted from the scanner.  The scanner then measures the phase shift of the returning laser energy to calculate distances.

Regardless of the method, the scanner creates a point cloud on the object, and the 3D laser scanner reconstructs the shape of the object. The colors of the object’s surface can even be determined if color data is also collected. 3D scanners function similar to the way cameras function. However, cameras only capture the X and Y axis, while 3D scanners are able to calculate the Z-axis (distance information) relating to the object as well.  They then produce a high quality, 3D image of the object.

3D White Light Scanners

3D White Light Scanners, also known as structured light scanners use a “white light” source such as halogen or LEDs to project a pattern (like a blanket) of pixels that deforms when it strikes the target surface. A 3D reconstruction of the object is created from measurements based on the deformations of the light pattern. Their operation is based on visible light technology and sensors (mostly CCD cameras). Such cameras make possible to obtain the high precision data used for creating the digital 3d model.  The scanners of this type are often equipped with several sensitive elements.

One of the advantages of white light scanners over laser scanners is that the light emission used for digitizing the object is harmless to the human eye, while laser light can harm human eyes, and care must be taken when using a laser scanner.

Photogrammetric scanners

Photogrammetric scanners are older technology and photogrammetry has been around as long as modern photography.  Its primary use is in mapping and topography.  By comparing multiple photographs, these scanners enable the recovery of the exact positions of surface points, as well as. motion pathways of designated reference points located on any moving object, on its components and in the immediately adjacent environment.  Photogrammetry may employ also use high-speed imaging and remote sensing in order to detect, measure and record complex 2-D and 3-D axis.

By utilizing multiple images of the object the photogrammetry software detects the common points to form a 3D model.

Coordinate-measuring machines (CMMs)

Coordinate measuring machines (CMM) are devices used for measuring the physical geometrical characteristics of an object. Initially, these machines consisted of manual probes that were either manually controlled by an operator or they could be computer controlled. Measurements are defined by a probe attached to the third moving axis of this machine.  Today’s probes may be mechanical, optical, laser, or white light.

Unlike other forms of 3D scanning that are “non-contact” CCMs must touch the scanned object in order to obtain the data about its geometry.  Moreover, this technology is not nearly as accurate as laser white light scanners.

 

Zero Turn Scanning Productivity Centre

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The ROI of Outsourcing CAD

Why outsource your CAD tasks like designing, drafting, 2D conversion, 3D modeling and other activities that your engineers, designers or technical staff usually does? There are two important reasons: (1) cost savings; and (2) scalable workforce. img_offshore-outsourcing-in-simple01.jpg
Scalable CAD Workforce

Let’s face it, work doesn’t come through at a steady, predictable pace. Sometimes you have more design work than you can handle, and other times you’re looking for things to do. The fact is that if all of your CAD technicians are in-house, you need to manage their time and the workflow. This means accounting for errors that may occur if they’re too busy and wasted money that occurs when you have to pay them even though there’s no work for them to do. In either instance, you’re not making the best use of your resources.

One of the advantages of outsourcing some or all of your CAD work to a company that provides contract CAD services is that you have the benefit of a scalable workforce – one that you use as and when you need it, paying only for what you use.

Cost Savings

Outsourcing with an experienced CAD services company can save as much as 50% of the cost for in-house draftsmen while assuring high quality, accurate drawings, which minimizes the risk of onsite issues. This cost savings is as a result of these benefits:

Scalable workforce – pay only for what you use, when you use it
Up-front, transparent costs – no surprises
Increased drawing output with a lower cost per drawing
Eliminate hiring and layoff costs when coping with fluctuating workloads
Minimize in-house training needs
Reduce your investment in in-house computers and software
Reduce mark-up times by using the symbol libraries that a good CAD services company maintains
Finding the Right Company

The right CAD service company can provide economical and scalable resources that will you’re your company manage varying CAD drafting and CAD conversion workflow. Most organizations have seasonal or economic fluxes in their workflow which can result in the need to hire additional CAD technicians during busy seasons and lay-off during slower seasons. This shifting CAD technician population can result in difficulties in maintaining standards of drawings, continuity of workflow and can actually increase your organization’s costs.

CAD services outsourcing with a reliable CAD services contract source can provide cost and savings benefits, improve standards and quality of drawings, help you maintain flexibility in response to changing conditions, and maximize workflows.

A reliable CAD Services contract provider must maintain consistently high standards of drawings or they will soon find themselves with no customers. We like the Cad Perfect™ designation, which just about says it all. Cad Perfect™ accuracy reduces onsite issues.

CAD Services Flexibility

Outsourcing CAD requirements offer any company greater flexibility in responding to changing conditions. Whether you have one large project or fluctuating workloads, a reliable CAD services company should be able to work with you in a way that suits you, whether you want to outsource all of your drawings, drafting and conversion work on an ongoing basis, or only some of your work on an occasional basis.

CAD/CAM

The CAD/CAM Guide to Assembly Drawings

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The CAD/CAM Guide to Assembly Drawings

If you’re an inventor, a designer, an engineer or a manufacturer, then it’s likely that you need assembly drawings.

An assembly drawing is necessary for any product, design or invention that has more than one part:  From computers to aircraft, lawnmowers to heavy machinery, skateboards to baby carriages – they all need assembly drawings.

Some assembly drawings are simple (think about the last piece of IKEA furniture you purchased and assembled).  Some assembly drawings are complex (like the motor for your automobile.)  Assembly drawings all have these things in common:

  • They list all the parts
  • They list all the sub-assemblies
  • They include a Bill of Materials that lists each part number, part name, and part quantity.

Some of these drawings provide instructions on how to assemble the product at a manufacturing level, while others may list part numbers for consumers to re-order parts. Instructions may include information such as how to fasten parts together, or what types of lubricant to use.

The Importance of Accuracy

How many times have you purchased something online that you had to assemble?  And how many times were those assembly drawings show a bolt that wasn’t included, or described a fitting that didn’t “fit?”  We’ve all had that happen.  While it’s annoying, it’s not usually a matter of safety, nor does it cost huge sums of cash when the item doesn’t go work as it should.

But, an assembly drawing that represents a machine or component to be manufactured and used in industry, transportation, heavy construction, aerospace or other similar applications must be accurate!  Lives can be at stake.  Millions of dollars can be on the line.  The assembly drawing must represent the form, fit and function of a product.  It must verify how that product is put together.  And, often, it must be simulated in a virtual model and tested via FEA in order to determine that the end product will work as it should.

3D Models and Assembly Drawings

When you develop assembly drawings from 3D models, you link together a group of solid parts, bringing them together into a collection of joining components to create a single product.  This virtual arrangement allows the designer to examine interfaces between parts and to look for interferences.   By adding material, color, and lighting, the designer can also view the actual appearance.

An engineer or designer has the control of the 3D assembly and can see in vivid detail what two-dimensional drawings cannot show.  Different type of mechanical assembly drawings includes outline drawing, erection drawings, assembly work drawings, assembly diagram, part assembly drawings, and general assembly drawings.

CAD/CAM Services provides 3D drawings for assembly, casting, machining, and sheet-metal drawings to manufacturers, engineers, fabricators, and consultants.  By ensuring that all 3D models and drawings that we produce meet industry standards and contain appropriate formats & layouts as required by our customers.

 

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Scan and R2V: Getting from Paper to EDM/PDM for Engineering

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Scan and R2V: Getting from Paper To EDM/PDM for Engineering

Engineering competition is fierce and survival means adopting the latest technologies.  It means delivering the best product or service fast and at a fair price.  To maintain a competitive edge, a company must leverage its information assets, which includes a tremendous amount of engineering documents, some in CAD and some in paper format.  By some estimates, there may still be as many as eight billion paper engineering documents worldwide.

The need to capture, modify and distribute existing paper designs within today’s 2D and 3D CAD technology continues to be a requirement for success.  That’s why we still get calls for a conversion of paper drawings, mylar, bluelines and other media into AutoCAD, Revit, Solidworks, Catia or some other CAD program.

Most engineering firms realize that regardless of how experienced they may be in operating their CAD software, scanning and converting from paper to CAD requires a different skill set.  This is especially true when the original drawing is old, damaged or misshapen.   In these cases, both scanning and conversion become a challenge and require expert care to extract accurate data.

 

The Importance of Integrating Paper Drawings with EDM/PDM and CAD

The #1 reason for converting paper to CAD and integrating with an engineering firm’s EDM/PDM system is labor savings in the revision cycle.  This labor savings, of course, translates to cost savings as well.

According to the manufacturers of GTX Software, other benefits include:

  • An increase in the value of CAD by eliminating its use for tedious redraw. CAD can now be used for product design and analysis functions
  • A common electronic database
  • Reduced retrieval and print times for documents with a document management solution
  • Improved information flow with workflow and Email tools
  • Improved conformance to the ISO 9000 or OSHA regulations by instituting better document control procedures
  • Increased value of paper drawings through integration with CAD and EDM/PDM tools
  • Fewer lost, damaged and misfiled documents
  • Immediate availability of accurate information
  • Streamlining of the change process
  • Improvement in time to market
  • Increased quality

The Need for Accuracy in Conversion

Your EDM/PDM is only as valuable as the information contained in it, and that information needs to be accurate.  Unfortunately, when it comes to scanning paper drawings for inclusion in the EDM/PDM, many technicians don’t realize that the original drawing needs to be scanned in a particular way if they plan to convert it to CAD later.  Even if they do scan properly, they don’t have the knowledge or experience to properly convert the drawing.

While it’s true that most CAD software programs do offer some R2V conversion capabilities, if you’re not expert in the process, you’ll probably not get the conversion results you hoped for. Even for those who understand the process of R2V, their knowledge is often generalized, and what is missing the ability to determine what will work best for each individual scanned file. Each image is different and it’s very rare that two different images will respond with equal success to the same method of conversion. It takes the experience to know which method or combination of methods will work for each individual raster file.

That’s why we get calls from top-notch engineering firms…we have the knowledge and the experience to know which method — or methods — will work for each individual drawing. Sometimes it’s not just one method; it may be a combination of two or more methods used in one drawing.

Making Your EDM/PDM Work

Ensure the success of enabling your paper drawing archives in your EDM/PDM system.   Payback and user acceptance will go faster when you use an expert scanning and R2V conversion service as the first step toward implementation.  Whether you choose an incremental approach or a large-scale conversion, contact CAD/CAM Services first for a price quote.

 

 

Interview with a CAD/CAM Services Technician

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Interview with a CAD/CAM Services Technician

I don’t usually get to spend a lot of time talking to our engineers and technicians who actually work with our customers. But, I recently made time to sit down with one of our best technicians to get his take on how well we’re doing meeting our client’s needs.  Here are the questions I asked, and his unfiltered, unedited answers:

Who is our client?
A vendor, manufacturer, and seller, who is working with assembling sheet metal structures, such as weapon cases, telephone booths, steelmaking furnaces, painting booths, workshops, garages, hangars etc.

What does our client have?

Solidworks, Inventor, Catia or AutoCAD assemblies. A Product Data Management system.

Drafting standards.

Example of a drawing.

What can we provide for our client?

Create a set of drawings for all the assemblies and details based on the drafting standards

Convert all assemblies and details into a library, which will contain all the models and drawings and create Bill of Materials for all the assemblies

What are the benefits?

Fast processing, quick result – we are working 24/7

Completed drawings are suitable for sending to manufacture and assembly

Everything is done in Catia and Solidworks, that is a manufacturing standard for the majority of manufacturers

Detail Libraries provide major simplification to designing new similar assemblies because standard parts could easily be used in following projects

Why do our clients choose us?

We have been working with sheet metal for more than 30 years, and are experienced in working with construction drawings, drafting, creating models for details and assemblies and libraries.

Our drafters and modelers provide qualified assistance and are able to help you with your projects.

 

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