If you’re a product designer, engineer or manufacturer, 3D scanning is a powerful tool that helps you speed up the product development process and create better products. In this guide, you will learn how 3D scanning can be used to:
- Capture complex shapes
- Speed up prototyping
- Redesign parts and create aftermarket parts
- Improve ergonomy and fit
3D scan to capture complex shapes with precision
Traditional methods of capturing complex shapes means you have to manually measure objects. This takes time and is risky, because you can get things wrong from the start. With 3D scanning you effectively remove these limitations and can swiftly capture intricate details, contours and dimensions of whatever physical object you need to digitize. You get all measurements right from the start and can then import your scan data into whatever CAD software you’re using.
Speeding up prototyping with 3D scanning
When it comes to prototyping, it can many times start with a physical mockup. In other cases, you might want to improve an existing product or part. By quickly scanning an existing mockup or a part, you get a precise digital representation in minutes. The digital model can then be imported into CAD software, allowing for modifications or iterations as you see fit. The ability to rapidly iterate and refine your designs drastically reduces the time and cost associated with traditional prototyping methods.
Product redesigns and aftermarket parts with 3D scanning
Reverse engineering is a concept where you convert or re-engineer scan data of an object into a 3D CAD model. There are two main ways of working with reverse engineering. The first gives you a 3D model that matches the physical object as closely as possible – an identical copy if you will.
The second method gives you a 3D model that contains the design intent. Design intent models are usually made when you deal with a heavily used part, a poorly manufactured part, or a handmade model. You can also reverse engineer an object where some areas match the original part, and some areas are going to be redesigned.
For aftermarket, such as automotive parts, 3D scanning gives you the ability to design products in CAD based on the geometry of the mating part. For example, an aftermarket car part can be designed using scans taken virtually anywhere on or in a vehicle.
This process allows you to design the part while you ensure that it does not collide with other parts of the car, including mounting points. As the part is designed in your CAD software, you can quickly go from design to review, performance analysis and the option of 3D printing the part for faster time-to-market.
Here is a typical workflow for designing aftermarket parts.
- Scan and reverse engineer the mating component
- Transfer the reverse engineered model into your CAD software
- Design your aftermarket part using the geometry of the reverse engineered model
3D scanning improves ergonomic design
For any part or product that interacts with the human body, you want optimal ergonomy and user friendliness. For some products, such as in healthcare, you want a personalized fit for the patient.
Opposed to starting with a blank screen, designers can open a 3D model of a human head and begin designing products based directly on the anatomy. Once a design is complete, it can be virtually tested against 3D scans of a variety of different people.
By 3D scanning the body part that interacts with your part or product, you can design based directly on the given anatomy. When you’re done, you can test the part virtually against a number of scanned parts, or if the part is bespoke, test it on a patient scan.
Learn more about 3D scanning for:
Watch how Kvia Engineering benefits from the Peel 3D Scanner
Kvia Engineering is fueled by the expertise and passion of Tor Arne Kvia, a professional drift driver. With a clear vision in mind, he embarked on the journey of creating something extraordinary for his custom-built car, and we were eager to join forces and assist him in achie