Many people purchase a large format scanner with the idea of converting their paper drawings to digital and incorporating them into their CAD system, without giving thought to the raster to vector process. Raster to vector is the process they will need to go through in order to convert the drawings from scanned raster files to CAD vector files.
It’s important to consider this whole ”scan to CAD” process before you even purchase a large format scanner because the initial scanning process is at least as important as the raster to vector process is in determining the final accuracy and quality of the CAD files.
Whether you plan to do the raster to vector conversion yourself, using automatic raster to vector conversion software, or you plan to outsource the raster to vector conversion project, starting with a good quality scan will save both time and money in the long run.
What does this mean in terms of the scanner and scanning process? First of all, do enough research to ensure that you purchase a scanner that is appropriate for the scanning job you intend to do. Some of the questions you will want to ask concern scanner speed, scanner accuracy, black and white or color, ease of use, types of settings and cost. There is no one size fits all when it comes to your scanner purchase. You will need to consider the total number of drawings you have to scan, the quality of the paper drawings themselves and the budget you have.
Equally important is the level of experience that your scanner operator has. Often, because scanning seems like a relatively easy process, inexperienced employees are assigned to the scanning project. If the scanning operator doesn’t also have some knowledge of the raster to vector process and what information the finished CAD files will need, you may end up with poor quality scanned images that make the raster to vector conversion process more difficult and time-consuming than it needs to be.
If you purchase the right large format scanner, have an experienced scanner operator, and are able to scan each drawing with appropriate settings you will get a better-scanned image and better raster to vector conversion results.