3D SCANNING AND 3D PRINTING

With today’s major breakthroughs in technology, 3D scanning and 3D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) are not only taking the manufacturing industry by storm but also providing impressive benefits for other sectors, including heritage preservation, arts and architecture, healthcare, education and research and multimedia.

In a nutshell, 3D scanning and 3D printing provide a way “in” and “out” of the digital world. This means that any physical entity can be efficiently scanned and digitally created with maximum quality and realism. The resulting digitized data, now in the form of a computer-aided-design (CAD) file, can then be used to develop new products, improve existing components, perform reverse engineering and quality control, conduct research, and archive important and rare information.

It’s easy to see why manufacturers around the globe are increasingly using 3D scanning and 3D printing technologies. For example, 3D scanning and additive manufacturing can allow enable manufacturers to develop highly complex and customize products that simply could not be produced physically any other way. 3D scanning also speeds up prototyping for faster time-to-market. In addition, manufacturers can simplify, streamline and accelerate their assembly processes, which in turn decreases the associated labor and quality control costs. What’s more, 3D scanning and 3D printing creates less material waste and allow manufacturers to produce on demand, which can potentially eliminate huge inventories and unstainable logistics.

But what about other market sectors? How can 3D scanning and 3D printing help them? You just need to let your imagination run wild! Here are just few compelling examples of 3D scanning and 3D printing applications:

  • Heritage preservation: Archaeologists and researchers scan rare objects and artefacts for archiving and research—and print 3D models for exhibits around the world!
  • Arts and architecture: Artists, sculptors and architects can scan art objects or elements of an architectural design. They then digitally make design changes and then reprint them to see the outcome.
  • Education and research: Professors use 3D scanners and 3D printers to better teach students in industrial design, mechanical design, engineering, and a variety of other fields. Researchers can leverage 3D scanning and printing to analyze physical objects.
  • Multimedia: 3D computer artists—whether for video games or other military, training, scientific or education purposes—use 3D scanning to produce highly realistic simulations of the real world.
  • Healthcare: The medical field uses 3D scanners to scan the entire or parts the human body for research. Companies also use the scanned data to develop equipment that is more adapted to the human body.

These are just some of the ways organizations are using 3D scanning and 3D printing—today. With such infinite possibilities, only time will tell what other amazing applications are arising thanks to 3D scanning and 3D printing!