How To Scan Objects For 3D Printing?

3d scanner scanning for 3d printing

You’ve probably heard that 3D scanning is currently the ‘in’ thing. It’s a process of digitally capturing the physical attributes of an object and then replicating it in a three-dimensional digital format. This technology has been employed extensively across multiple industries, making life significantly easier for 3D artists and drastically reducing the time required to complete intricate tasks.

However, it may come as a surprise to many people that you can create 3D models with nothing more than your smartphone. Many smartphones, including the Lenovo PHAB2 Pro, SONY Xperia XZ1, and iPhone 12, have a pre-installed scanning app for this purpose. This innovative technology allows users to capture an object in 3D and use it in virtual or augmented reality applications.

This 3D scanning application needs to be downloaded separately from the respective App Store or Google Market for some phones. However, now this is a very useful feature that both beginners and professionals use to create 3D models for 3D printing. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide on scanning an object in three dimensions to be ready for 3D printing.

The Process of 3D Scanning

At the outset, let us take a few moments to understand the concepts and the overall process surrounding 3D scanning. Basically, it is a digital rendering of a physical object or person through the use of technology such as phones, tablets, computers or any other device developed for this purpose. This advanced scanning allows us to capture 3-dimensional data that can be used in various ways.

The thing in question is the process of capturing colors and shapes using an infrared transmitter which projects thousands of microscopic dots onto the object. This innovative method uses special sensors which collect all the relevant data, compiling it into a complete 3D file upon scanning the item. The result is an incredibly detailed representation of whatever was scanned, providing a visual and tactile experience.

If you are satisfied with the result, you can choose to leave it as is. Additionally, you can always take advantage of the opportunity to refine it further using a 3D modeling application. After that, you have unlimited possibilities for its use, such as creating advertisements, developing virtual reality games or even 3D printing the model.

Let’s continue reading to learn how to scan a part for 3D printing and what is required to make a flawless 3D model scan.

What Will I Need to Make a 3D Model on My Smartphone?

Reading the heading, you might assume that your smartphone is the only essential item required for constructing a 3D model, but this is inaccurate. Various other items could be vital to create an effective and successful 3D model, ranging from specialist software to specialized hardware such as printers or scanners.

If your phone does not have this feature built-in, it was not specifically designed for this, so you must consider several factors. Let’s go over the key points to think about.

Selecting the appropriate application

Previously, it was mentioned that if your smartphone does not have the capability of 3D scanning built-in, like the SONY Xperia XZ1, you will need to select a suitable app to download. Suppose you want to use 3D scanning technology on your device without having this feature pre-installed. In that case, you must research and download an appropriate application.

When it comes to iOS, there are several apps available such as the Scandy Pro app or Polycam app, that harness the power of Photogrammetry Mode. This mode is made possible by the special LIDAR sensor featured on iPhone 11 Pro, higher models, and any rear-facing camera with photogrammetry capabilities. Using these tools, you can easily capture 3D objects instantly.

Most recent iOS versions

As earlier stated, It is impossible to do the scanning using an iOS version lower than 14.0. This is because the LIDAR sensor, which is only present in later versions of iOS, would be required for such a task, and it cannot be found on iPhones like iPhone 7. Therefore, you will have no option of scanning with any device with an older version of iOS installed.

Shadows and light

When photographing, especially with only a smartphone, it is essential to consider the visuals. Avoid dim or hazy spaces and endeavor to take advantage of light-filled and sharp locations or arrange suitable lighting for the item you intend to photograph. This will ensure that the object is captured in its best possible condition.

A turntable with a tripod

Investing in a tripod and a turntable is highly recommended if you take high-quality photos. The tripod will help make the entire photo session go more quickly and smoothly, while the turntable can be particularly useful when photographing small objects; it allows for quick and easy rotation of your subject matter and results in pictures that have an excellent level of sharpness and quality.

How to Scanning 3D Things for 3D Printing

A few techniques exist for scanning 3D models for 3D printing:

  • Using an Android or iPhone App
  • Paper Scanner
  • Photogrammetry

Using an iPhone or Android app

After conducting my research, scanning three-dimensional objects directly from the apps installed on your device appears feasible. This can be achieved as most modern mobile phones are now equipped with LiDAR (light detection and ranging) technology as a standard feature. Therefore, users can access a vast array of possibilities when scanning 3D objects from their devices.

Also, while some apps are free to use, others need a fee before use. A quick description of some of the apps may be found below.

1. Polycam App

The Polycam app is a widely-used 3D scanning application compatible with Apple products like the iPhone and iPad. It boasts an impressive 4.8 out of 5 stars rating from more than 8,000 user ratings when this article was written. This highly-rated app offers users an efficient way to quickly and accurately scan their surroundings in three dimensions.

The Polycam App is hailed as the premier 3D capture application for iPhone and iPad. With this app, you can easily produce numerous high-quality 3D models from images and expeditiously generate scans of spaces with the help of its LiDAR sensor. It is a highly powerful tool that allows users to create beautiful 3D models with ease.

Using the Polycam App, you can view and create 3D scans from your device and edit them with precision. After making the necessary changes, you can save your scanned objects in various file types for easy sharing with others or on the Polycam Web platform.

Lighting is an essential element to consider when undertaking 3D scanning. Indirect light from sources such as shade should be used for the most accurate results – never direct sunlight. Ensuring that your object is adequately lit during scanning will help you achieve the best results possible.

2. Trnio App

The Trnio app is an incredibly useful tool for 3D scanning objects and using them to produce stunning 3D prints. This application allows users to transform existing physical objects into something completely new by resizing, reshaping, and scaling as desired. This revolutionary app has revolutionized the world of 3D printing and provides a remarkably easy way to create beautiful works of art from everyday items.

Previous versions of the app didn’t offer the best performance, but they have made significant improvements to increase scanning speed and simplify it. You no longer need to tap to capture images, as the application will automatically record and compile all video frames. This has drastically improved efficiency, making it much easier and faster for users to scan objects.

3D Scanning

Until a couple of years ago, creating a 3D model with a smartphone was something novel. It quickly piqued the interest of many people who wanted to explore how far they could push the capabilities of their devices without any prior knowledge or experience in 3D design. This rapidly growing trend has enabled anyone to produce sophisticated 3D models with nothing more than their smartphones.

Nowadays, programming professionals consistently strive to enhance 3D applications to improve the quality of the image, reduce rendering time and broaden their user base and scope of use. This has become commonplace in our current world. These professionals’ hard work enables 3D technology to develop more rapidly than ever before.