How Does a 3D Scanner Work?

3D Scanners opened up a lot of avenues for various industries. Industrial engineers use these devices to reverse engineer structures. 3D modelers use them to scan shapes for either animation or reference work.

Understanding how a 3D Scanner works and its capabilities may help you decide if getting one is worth the trouble. Today, we look at the science behind this scanning technology. We will also explore the scanning process and how it can help your business.

Understanding How 3D Scanning Works

As a process, 3D scanning analyzes real-world objects to collect the necessary data. In this case, it’s the shape of the object or environment. At times, it also includes appearance and visual features.

You can use this data to make 3D models. For example, they’re great as CAD modeling components.

It’s why 3D scanning has a massive role in engineering. However, it also works for other purposes. A lot of other industries benefit from 3D scanning technologies, such as the ones we’ll discuss later.

Depending on the type of scanner, it involves either a contact or a non-contact setup. Non-contact 3D scanners use methods such as triangulation and laser technology.

With it, the device scans the desired object. It also covers every possible angle for an accurate read.

Things That You Can 3D Scan

The good thing about 3D scanning is that anything is within your reach as a subject. There are limitations on the technology, such as the size and other parameters. Despite these, you can scan almost anything.

The effectiveness of the scan would depend on your preferred scanning method. Check your 3D scanner and take note of these specifications. With that in mind, here are some of the items you can scan with a 3D scanner.

Scanning Objects

You can scan a lot of objects without running into issues. It ranges from a simple lamp to a vase and onwards. With a 3D scanner, you can scan their dimensions and the various curves and contours.

Non-contact scanners make the process easier. Using triangulation or laser scanning helps get the necessary dimensions and data. After that, you can create a digital file using these parameters.

Scanning Living Beings

You can also use 3D scanners on animals and humans. The usual reason is to scan and map the body dimensions.

You can use the data for medical practices, such as prosthetics development. It offers invaluable help in producing functional prosthetic limbs. Other ways you can use the data include 3D modeling for animation or game design.

Scanning Environment

You can use 3D scanning technology to collect data from your surroundings. One of the likely uses is for surveying and layout. You can scan areas as small as the office with smaller 3D scanners.

Applications of 3D Scanning Technology

Various industry fields can take advantage of the best 3D scanners available. Just like how 3D printing opened up avenues for innovation, so did 3D scanners. You can look at each of these categories to see where 3D scanning can come into play.

Industrial Design and Engineering

You see 3D scanners in action within the realms of industrial engineering and design. In such cases, they use 3D scanners to gather the measurements of various objects and transfer the data to a computer. It speeds up the measurement of dimensions.

Depending on your preferred object, certain scanners will work better than others. Stationary 3D scanners can take on large objects, like trucks and planes. Meanwhile, smaller objects would benefit from using handheld scanners, allowing for an easier sweep with one scanner.

Art and Design

For VR Developers and 3D Visual Designers, they use 3D scanners as part of their process. Replicating special effects using CGI requires 3D scans.

For instance, 3D scanners capture the likeness of certain actors to cover areas deemed impossible for physical stunt work. You must have a proper mapping of the actor before it becomes part of the scan.

Combine this with motion capture and you can recreate intense and dangerous scenes within a controlled environment. It’s also a prominent practice for game design, using the same principle for their 3D character models.


When you look at the medical field, 3D scanners help in research and patient care. It takes note of various visual data on patients to get precise readings and measurements. The information helps in various tasks such as a full-body scan to track physical changes in the body.

It’s also useful in developing medical machines. These may include prostheses, braces, and much more. It adds customization into the picture since the data also goes to the manufacturers, using 3D printing to create the necessary pieces.


Professional 3D scanning can help the police force with conducting investigations. The 3D scanner can assist in getting accurate scans of the crime scene. The setup helps expedite the traditional data capture methods.

It eases the process of collecting evidence and crime scene reconstruction. The help is invaluable, especially since the human eye can’t scan every nook and cranny. With 3D scanning, the police can glean more clues they’ll otherwise miss.

Should You Get a 3D Scanner?

Before getting a 3D scanner, know the items you need to scan. Take note of how you can use the data for your workplace.

Once you have the information for your subjects, find a 3D scanner that suits your specifications. You can start your search for a 3D scanner at

Try a 3D Scanner Today

Once you understand how a 3D scanner works, you can also take advantage of its capabilities. It becomes a helpful addition for designing or for getting accurate measurements. Don’t forget to get software that processes your collected 3D data.

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