Understanding the Difference between Scanned data and a CAD model.

Understanding the Difference between Scanned data and a CAD model.

July 11, 2016


3D scanning is a fast and accurate means of capturing physical measurements from real world objects. The common misconception is that 3D scan data is a CAD model because it is captured and view-able in 3D on the computer.


However, there is a distinct difference between a CAD model and 3D scan data. The key to success when using scanned data is understanding what you can and cannot do with different file formats.


A CAD model is based on ideal mathematics i.e. a plane is infinitely planar and a cylinder is a mathematically perfect cylinder. In CAD, all of the features of the model are ideal in the true sense of the word. But once a physical object is created from this data, however it's made, it is no longer ideal. The "non-idealness" of the object is reflected in its scan data, which is just a collection of physical data points that represent the physical real-world object. The challenge of reverse engineering is to detect the original design intent (the original ideal model) based solely on the physical measurements of the object. We call this the "Reverse Engineering Bridge" from scan data to CAD. There is limited editing of scanned data in design software packages like Matrix/Rhino. You can buy Re-topology (reconstruction & reverse engineering) software for as little as $700 that can the help with the “Reverse Engineering Bridge”. There are "reverse engineering solutions" from companies like GeoMagics that offer more robust software like GeoMagics Wrap that have more automated features for converting files and quality control.


Software packages like ZBRUSH will allow you to directly model STL. Files or (mesh files) easily however ZBRUSH has a learning curve of its own. There is a new product from Rhino Gold / Matrix called Clayoo what can directly model STL files as well.





In closing keep in mind many companies use scanned STL data or (mesh files) in Matrix & Rhino as a template to match a custom designed wedding band to an engagement ring or large unique shaped stones to create a custom bezel or setting speeding up CAD workflow by up to 50%. TIME IS MONEY!! 3D scanning can enhance your product development process, compress development time, eliminate ambiguity and most important reduce costs. Making design decisions with 2D data has its limits, and the faster you can solve design problems, you complete the project on time and at reduced costs. This is where 3D scanning can add value to your process. • Reverse engineering – Capturing design intent. • Digital Archiving of jewelry and components. • Stone scanning-large format and unique shapes. • Custom fit wedding bands. • Communication tool for exchange of design ideas. • Manufacturing QC and process evaluation. • Capitalize on past efforts - a large amount of data stuck in the analog world.


If you want to more information about 3D Jewelry scanner or RhinoGold S/W please contact to globalsales@solutionix.com or www.eluxe3d.com.


written by Chris Glaser / VP of sales and marketing (eluxe3D)

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