3D Scanning & Improving Your Designs

Though 3D scanning has many potential applications, most home and business users tend to focus on its possibilities in design and manufacturing. The quick, efficient production made possible through 3D printing, in particular, has already proven that it is possible to create functional objects without the complexities of traditional manufacturing. When you use a 3D scan to improve your image, you’ll be even better equipped for quality outcomes. Here’s how.

3D Scanning

How 3D Scanning Works With Design

3D scanners are actually comprised of several intricate components, including lasers, sensors, and cameras. Light is projected at the object to be scanned and then recaptured by the scanner, which calculates angles across the entire surface of the object. This triangulation method results in a digital model (or 3D scan) that is processed by the modeling software.

Though 3D scanning is a good baseline, it isn’t the be-all-end-all of this process. Certain complex items may be harder to scan, particularly if they have reflective surfaces. Because of this, designers often perform additional trimming or alignment in a software program after the initial scan.

Once the 3D scan has been finalized, it can then be imported into a modeling program. Using the scanned object as a base, it then becomes much easier to create tweaks to develop your own model or to craft a new part that is designed to fit together with the original object. Scan data can later be removed from the digital design so that only the new creation will be printed (if desired), allowing a uniform fit after production.

Potential Applications

3D scanning can ultimately be used for a wide range of purposes, allowing users to get accurate and reliable results. It can be used to fine-tune prototypes and molds. It can be used to create replacement components for damaged parts or even to create an exact replica of a particular item. Scanning can allow users to modify the scale of a particular object, or even create a mirrored image of the original.

Whether the goal is to create a toy, a custom manufacturing component, or even a piece of art, utilizing 3D scanning as part of the preparatory process will ensure more accurate results.


No matter what application you have in mind, 3D scanning of pre-existing objects will improve your design process by giving you something solid to build your model off of. Selecting a quality software program, as well as a quality scanner, will allow you to only be limited by your imagination as you undertake new projects.