5 steps for a 3d scan

3d scanning provides opportunities for business and industry to create additional value in their engineering tasks. Whether it be capturing a subsea anomaly, reverse engineering or to import into your CAD platform; it’s never been more available, flexible or cost-effective.

We have many options in how we obtain the point-cloud data which scanning provides. We all know the basics, we have to be able to access an item and move around it (or move the object) to achieve best results. The moon for example, would be a challenging target. The front it easy to access, but the rear is kind of awkward – the Apollo missions had a chance to capture images for scanning but unfortunately, they blew it…

For some of the other considerations, we hope you will find the below info helpful in making your scan project safe, efficient and valuable.

Make some space

Give the scanning team room to work and provide the best possible output by creating access around the object. Unless we’re deploying endoscopes or other imaging platforms such as a drone or ROV, we need to be able to easily see the geometry that we’re concerned with. The front and side of the 50s cruiser above can be scanned fine. The rest, not so much. Your scanning provider will also be working to their own method statements and RAs, something for the site manager to keep in mind.

Light it up

Working in the dark is not fun at all, and can provide hazards to the scanning staff. Try to light up the subject matter where possible, particularly where photogrammetry is concerned. Most modern workshops are well equipped with sky-lights and on a fair to bright day, this will do just fine. Unless urgent, try to avoid scanning at night, not least due to safety concerns. Everyone likes a challenge though, so seek advice if you believe lighting may need further attention – there’s always a solution.

Set the Scene

Be sure to have things arranged in the best orientation for the job, particularly where machine assistance is required to move things around. It is important that the scene remains the same throughout the scan, to give the scanner time to complete its work. Where the scan is for interface purposes, try to plan the different scans in advance and be sure you can maintain the different arrangements that the scans will be tasked with recording. These issues can be somewhat overcome using multi-cam arrangements in cases where a scene or event is very temporary. Spur of the moment events will demand multi-cam arrangements.

Watch your IP!

Scanning equipment is aimed at the subject matter, but it will capture everything in the field of view. Be sure to point out any sensitive items to your scanning provider, to ensure the data is deleted immediately. Alternatively, wrap it or cover it from view, even if only to help the blood pressure of your compliance colleagues.

Know what results you need

Post processing of your point cloud data will normally involve an element of reverse engineering. Let your scanning provider know as soon as possible what you’re looking to get from the scan. Some of the output requirements may require consideration during the scanning phase. This information will help keep the job efficient, and avoid processing or reverse engineering of geometry that is of no concern. Try to find a scanning provider who understands the subject matter type. Where comparison or deviation map information is required, try to have the CAD or previous scan information at hand.

Engage your scanning provider early in the project, help them understand your needs, then simply wind them up and watch them go.

Viewport3 are specialist providers of subsea scanning and photogrammetry services to business and industry. Located in Ellon, Aberdeenshire, Sunny Scotland.