Reverse Engineering the Future with 3D Scanning

Konica Minolta
Konica Minolta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From widgets to ancient artifacts, from front-end engineering to retrofitting older equipment the best means of recreating, inspecting, sharing and improving may well be 3D laser scanning. Introduced in the late 1990’s 3D laser scanners have been called into service where the precise measurements of an object of space have is required. 3D scanning labs like Konica-Minolta’s level the playing field for small manufacturers.

Engineers utilize 3D laser scanning to gather the exact spatial date of objects and environments as an aid to mechanical design. Engineers will load 3D scans into CAD programs to help identify and correct design deficiencies such as warping and surface performance issues. By incorporating the 3D scans directly into CAD programs the process is correcting issues is streamlined and the final designs are ready for the manufacturing process.

One of a kind and older equipment that is no longer manufactured presents engineers and machinists with particularly troublesome problems when part replacement requires retrofitting. A laser survey of a equipment in place on a factory floor allows for the precise production of parts that will fit perfectly within the particular dimensions of a given space.

Reverse engineering new components to replace legacy parts using traditional means to gather measurements often results in parts that are not a perfect fit and require repeated retooling to obtain optimal fit. The use of 3D laser scans help to eliminate manufacturing defects in these parts because the results of the scans are expressed as editable data that can be modeled in CAD where flaws can be remedied before fabrication takes place.

Police departments across the globe have begun to rely on 3D laser scanners for the capture and collection of crime scene evidence. 3D Laser scanners allow investigators to collect detailed information about a crime scene that might be overlooked in the confusion of a live investigation. Models created from 3D surveys enable investigators to review a crime scene long after the site has been returned to its normal use. 3D Scans also allow for the precise recreation of a crime scene and how an event occurred in real time to aid in prosecution.

Archeology uses 3D laser surveying in much the same way as police and construction companies. The first similarity is to police investigations where a 3D survey of a space such as an undisturbed tomb can be scanned before and during the excavation and exploration process to create a lasting record of the original undisturbed space.

Like construction companies, archeologists utilize 3D surveys of potential dig sites to map a location and carefully plan the best course of excavation. Finally archeologists and curators can use the 3D scans to create exact replicas of remote sites for museums and off site study without the cost and danger of accessing a remote location.

As the technology for 3D scanning and surveying continues to improve and evolve the list of actual and potential uses grows. Most recently the improvements and availability of 3D printers has created a ready outlet for the results of 3D scans for everything from high-end precision parts to inexpensive reproductions of ancient artifacts for sale in museum gift shops.

Erica Ronchetti is a freelance writer interested in Konica Minolta. Looking for more information about 3D Scanners for your business, contact Konica minolta for list of services.

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