I recently talked with Scott Shuppert, the President of CAD / CAM Services about using Contex large format scanners and about converting the scanned drawings to CAD. While Scott states unequivocally that Contex offers the most reliable, accurate scanning technology around (he ought to know, it’s the only scanner he uses for scanning, and he’s tested them all), he also says that by and large, everyone who scans their drawings eventually runs into a CAD conversion dilemma.
Now, the CAD conversion dilemma has nothing to do with the scanning technology, and everything to do with the delicate art of raster to vector conversion, which is a process that must be done if the scanned drawing is to be brought into any CAD program. Essentially this means converting a drawing that is made up largely of pixels or dots (the type of drawing you get when you scan a paper drawing) into one that is made up of vectors or lines (the type required by CAD programs).
Question: What makes raster to vector conversion so tricky?
Answer: There are many different methods for conversion, ranging from automatic software conversion programs to laborious hand re-drawing. For instance, if you want a workable AutoCAD file, manual tracing is the only method that ensures a quality conversion. At CAD / CAM Services we use different conversion methods to convert from raster to vector. This is where the “art” comes in… knowing which method will work for each drawing. And sometimes, it’s not just one method; it may be a combination of two or more methods used in one drawing. We use in-house CAD conversion products from GTX, Hitachi, I/Vector, and Softelec, as well as our own programs that we have written. Imagine that you need to convert 100 scanned raster drawings to AutoCAD. For 30% of them, we use one method, for another 30% we utilize a different product and the last 40% are scanned to CAD with an alternative method. But all these products are only tools and cannot give a 100% solution for AutoCAD conversion so our experts spend many hours redrawing your images by hand to produce our Cad Perfect™ final product.
That’s one of the reasons that we’ve joined with Contex to offer our “Summer Sizzle Sale,” which provides the best pricing on some of Contex’s most popular scanning models plus up to $750 worth of FREE CAD Perfect® conversions from July 1 thru August 31.
About the Contex Scanner Specials and Free CAD Perfect® Conversions:
>>>>HDi4290s – World’s Fastest 42″ CCD Large Format Scanner
$18,900 Includes stand, software*, 4yr onsite warranty and 5 drawing conversions
•Network ready, 1200 dpi optical.
•8″ per second, full 48-bit color scans.
•Option to save full 48-bit color
files SRGB, Adobe RGB or RAW.
>>>>SD4490 – Clean, Sharp Image Quality for Tech Docs
$9,900 Includes stand, software*, 2yr onsite warranty and 2 drawing conversions
•36 D-size 48 bit RGB color scans per hour (includes scanned and saved time).
•Resolution up to 9600 dpi (1200 optical).
•Scan width up to 44″ wide, 1/2″ thick.
>>>>HDi3690s – World’s Fastest 36″ CCD Large Format Scanner
$16,900 Includes stand, software*, 3yr onsite warranty and 4 drawing conversions
•Network ready, 1200 dpi optical.
•8″ per second full 48-bit RGB color scans.
•Option to save full 48-bit color files SRGB, Adobe RGB or RAW.
>>>>HD5450 – World’s Fastest 54″ CCD Large Format Scanner
$22,900 Includes stand, software*, 3yr onsite warranty and 4 drawing conversions
•Captures oversize drawings easily.
•360 D size 48-bit RGB color scans per hour (includes scanned and saved time).
•Scan to net function.
*Software included is the award-winning professional version of the NextImage software
*CAD Perfect® Conversions are $150 Value per drawing