Let there be “structured” light

3D Scanning is very cool technology, it was a big part of our original business model and why we started this journey of ours. The idea, and maybe this will sound familiar, is to provide replacement parts for products that you can no longer buy because the original supplier no longer makes the part, or the supply chain can not support making said item in a timely manner (think PPP). When this happens, makers such as 3DReactions can replicate an item quickly by scanning it and then producing a new one. Simple right? Not so fast!
It can be a tricky beast, capturing overhangs, materials that don’t cooperate, post scan processing, normals, point cloud simplification, poisson reconstruction, remeshing, whoaaa! If you don’t know what all of that is, it can be a whole mess of trouble, take our word for it. But technology to the rescue, we have invested in new scanning technology to help make the process easier.
It’s called structured light, and if your not a fan of trigonometry I would recommend you don’t build one. But the idea is simple, cast a light pattern on an object and watch it, if you know how that pattern should fall onto a planar (eg. flat, in the form of a “plane”) object, then watching how that pattern is distorted on a curved object should tell you what you need to know about the geometry. That is a simplification of how structured light technology works, but that is the general idea and it is truly amazing.
In our attached video you can see a short example of a porcelain model of a cherub in the process of being scanned. The video ends showing the real model next to the virtual model. The entire process of scanning this model took 3 passes with each pass scanning the model from a slightly different perspective. During each pass the model is rotated 360 degrees while the scanner captures it. Finally after the final pass, the 3 resulting point clouds are combined, simplified, and turned into a water tight mesh that can be 3D printed.
We hope you liked our little video. We have decided to incorporate 3D Scanning back as a service that we provide. More will be coming soon!