How Do 3D Scanners Work?

How Do 3D Scanners Work

In recent times, the engineering design space has been metaphorically set ablaze with various talks about the 3D scanner.

The word on the street is that this technology is going to be a major game changer in the field of engineering and construction.

Could this be true?

Can one innovation have so much potential?

What exactly is all the fuss about and how do you understand and leverage it?

Just keep reading to find out!

To start with, the 3D scanner isn’t exactly new to the world. More accurately, the concept of the 3D scanner is one that has been around for a fairly long time. So, what is all the fuss about it now?

Well, the answer to that is relatively simple. You see, while the idea of the 3D scanner isn’t new, implementing that concept is what has proved incredibly challenging, that is until now. This is what we mean in greater detail.

3D scanners are pivotal in engineering technology because it offers massive benefits in sensor and positioning technology that is almost impossible to replicate elsewhere.


It does this by basically taking measurement of the object or objects in question as well as a full and in-depth view of the world surrounding that object. Next, it then makes use of lasers (or in some cases, images) to create incredibly dense material that is referred to as polygon meshes.

These polygon meshes or high dense point clouds lend themselves to easy transformation into a file that is compatible with CAD.

Easy, right?

In theory, you would be correct. In practical, however, this is virtually impossible to perform. The reason for this is the fact that the exercise described above actually requires a considerable amount of processing power to succeed.

As a result, even though the necessary knowledge to make 3D scanning a reality was present, the materials needed to bring this concept to reality were lacking. That is, until technology advanced to the stage that it is at now and people started walking about with a massive amount of processing power right in their pockets!

Today, you can use many smartphones to run standard 3D scanning activities because they process the computing power to handle that task with relative ease.

However, it is worthy of mention that when complex engineering applications are thrown into the mix, even the most advanced smartphones aren’t quite about to keep up.

Luckily, there is an abundance of specialized 3D scanners you can call on to help you out here.

These applications fall into various categories, broadly speaking.

Essentially, you have the;

  • Short range,
  • Mid range, and
  • Long range.

What distinguishes any one of these categories from the other is the level of sophistication of the laser imaging function. So basically, the more complex the task at hand is, the longer the range of the 3D scanner has to be.

The benefits of 3D scanners in construction are immeasurable. Arguably the most important of which is the amount of time and resources it saves an engineer!

Looking to get a good 3D scanner? Then click here for our top professional 3D scanners!