Topic Track: Quality
Session Topic: Using 3D Optical Scan Data to Enhance 3D Printing Capabilities

Optical 3D scanners create digital versions of physical objects. 3D printers create physical parts from digital data. Some synergies are clear; however, the full potential of pairing the technologies remains untapped.

Metrology-class 3D scanners can play a role at multiple stages in the 3D printing process. 3D scan data is often used as input information for 3D printers. Common applications include creating direct replicas of real-world objects and customizing products to work with existing geometry. Each scenario requires specific data processing techniques to achieve the desired results.

At the other end of the process, after a 3D printer has produced a part, a 3D scanner becomes a vital quality control tool. Traditional measuring techniques may fall short for characterizing the complex geometries output by a 3D printer. The millions of X,Y,Z coordinates captured by 3D scanners provide in-depth dimensional analysis of a printed part, as well as direct comparison to the nominal design intent geometry.

Deviations found by way of this scan-based analysis can then be applied as corrections to future iterations of the printed part.

ShapeGrabber is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Quality Vision Int’l, the world’s largest vision metrology company. Based in Ottawa, Canada, ShapeGrabber designs, manufactures, and sells automated 3D scanners for measuring complex shapes such as injection-molded plastics, castings, and stampings. Considered to be one of the industrial pioneers in the field, ShapeGrabber has been supplying automated 3D scanners to customers in the automotive, aerospace, medical, and other industries since 1993.

IMTS 2018 Booth #135602