What’s New in Scan to CAD?

It used to be that scan to CAD meant one thing:  taking a paper drawing and it scanned with a large format scanner, then converting it via a process of raster to vector conversion, in order to end up with a digital CAD drawing.  And while we still get calls for that type of service the whole nature and complexity of CAD has changed.

Today’s technology is all about 3D scanning to 3D CAD models, and in 2017 all indications are that we will be providing far more 3D scan to 3D model for our clients than ever before.

In fact, FARO, a trusted source for 3D measurement technology, says that “laser scanning technology has become established in many quarters — from recording complex components, measuring buildings, façades, interiors and technical installations, to the documentation of traffic accidents and crime scenes.”

We know all about this technology.  We know that it often requires many scans to generate one model.  We also know that the larger the number of scans, the more complex the process becomes when it comes time to create a CAD model from individual scans or create visualizations of scanned objects from point clouds.CAD model

FARO recently hosted a 3D conference that focused on these aspects, where laser scanning experts provided various workshops about the processing of complex and extensive scan data.  From BIM (Building Information Modelling) and the creation of 2D building plans using 3D scans, to the creation of plant models from point clouds, their conference covered it all.

Those lucky enough to attend, technically savvy enough to understand the concepts, and with sufficient time in their daily jobs to master the optimal workflow from the point cloud to the model are likely able to convert many, if not most of their scans into models themselves.

But, not every organization has an experienced user who can ensure the completeness of the data and the accuracy of the conversion.

For example, when 3D technology is used in medical applications in the field of additive manufacturing, the accuracy of the model is imperative.  There are many clinics that can 3D print personalized implants directly in the clinics, but this requires not only the intra-operative imaging technology but also the capability to provide the conversions and workflow necessary to go from 3D scan to 3D print.

3D Scan to 3D Model Services

When organizations lack either the manpower or technical expertise to convert 3D scans to 3D models, they often turn to specialized companies who provide these services.  This works for small medical clinics, as well as large engineering and architectural firms.  Using a specialized service like this generally gets the job done faster than relying on internal resources to find the time away from their regular routine duties.

As 3D scanning and 3D modeling have taken over the CAD world, there are many new companies that have sprung up and that promote 3D CAD Conversions.  So how do you know which one to choose?   Here are a few things that you should consider before hiring a CAD document imaging company:

What Type of Services Does the CAD Imaging Company Provide?

Some companies provide only these newer 3D services, while others offer complete 2D, R2V, and 3D services.  We find that the “full-service” companies are often those that have been around for quite a while; that got into CAD in the early days and have grown and changed as CAD has.

Generally, more experience is better.  A company that has managed to weather the ups and downs of the CAD market over the years since CAD first burst upon the scene has a wealth of knowledge that newer 3D start-ups can’t begin to match.

Where Will the Company Perform the Work?

This is a very important question. If your CAD files are very sensitive and confidential, then you might prefer to hire a local company that has provisions for working with the sensitive material, and/or can work at your site.

We like a company that caters to the customers’ needs.  This usually shows that they have had varied experience and that they understand the importance of customer relationships.

What Will the Conversions Cost?

You should compare the rates of several firms, and get written bids. This will help you to know the prevailing rates of the services you need to ensure that you get the best value for your dollars.

CAD / CAM services is an experienced full-service CAD conversion company that provides guaranteed 2D and 3D CAD conversions and services at competitive prices.


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