Frequently Asked Questions – Part 5
Whether you’re new to 3D Scanning or just need a refresher, here are some of the most common industry terms to help you understand the types of services, equipment, tools and techniques associated with 3D Scanning
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As-built – a model which captures the exact physical shape of an object.
ASCII (or ASC) – a point cloud file in text format.
CAD – Computer Aided Design
CAI – Computer Aided Inspection
CAM – Computer Aided Manufacturing
CAM2 – Computer Aided Manufacturing Measurement
CMM – Coordinate Measuring Machine
Color Map – a graphical technique to visualize differences between the measured configuration of an object and its CAD model; dimensional differences are mapped onto the CAD model using a color spectrum to indicate location and magnitude. A reference key maps the deviations to values.
Coordinate System – an origin or reference point in 3D (XYZ) space for locating or orienting an object or CAD model.
Decimation – the process of reducing the size of a polygonal model file by decreasing triangle density, resolution, and quantity.
Design Intent – the intended design of an as-built object. Every manufactured part or object varies from its original intended design by some factor. Imperfections can be identified, analyzed, and corrected in reverse engineered models.
Digital Modeling – the process of creating a computer model of an object that exactly replicates the form of the object.
Digitize – the use of a 3D measurement system to capture features of an object. Typically digitizing is used for feature-based measurement of geometry and capturing contours using section cut techniques (as opposed to dense laser scanning).
Dumb Solid – a solid body in a CAD model that cannot be modified.
DXF – Drawing Interchange File – a line file which can be used to create a 3D model (native AutoCAD format).
Geometric – standard shape features such as planes, lines, circles, cylinders, spheres, etc.
Highly Engineered Modeling – the process of reverse engineering an actual part into its CAD model with Design Intent using standard geometric features and form constraints.
Hybrid Model – a polygonal model that uses rapid surfacing and traditional solid modeling techniques. Used when basic geometric features merge with complex contours.
IGES – Initial Graphics Exchange Specification – a neutral format for exchanging CAD data between software programs.
Laser Scanning – Laser Scanning is the process of shining a structured laser line over the surface of an object in order to collect 3-dimensional data. The surface data is captured by a camera sensor mounted in the laser scanner which records accurate dense 3D points in space.
Line-of-Sight – the extent to which a laser scanner or other measurement device can capture 3D data from its vantage point. Only points which can be “seen” by the laser will be captured.
NURBS – Non-Uniform Rational B-Spline – a mathematical definition for a surface element used in CAD modeling.
Offset – a variation from a surface by a uniform distance.
Organic – features that reflect objects with complex nature; complex, non-geometric surfaces. Examples – a tree; a face; a blob.
Parametric – an object in a CAD model that can be modified simply by changing the parameters used to create it (e.g., dimensions, design constraints).
Point Cloud – the collection of points in 3D space resulting from scanning an object; represents the surface of the object.
Polygonal Model – a model of an object that is created by building triangles from the points in a point cloud; a faceted model of an object.
Portable CMM – A 6- or 7-axis portable articulating CMM arm used for 3D measurement, digitizing, and laser scanning.
Rapid Prototyping (RP) – an additive manufacturing process that creates a physical object directly from a CAD model by building it in layers.
Rapid Surfacing – a technique for creating a surface model of an object that involves wrapping surfaces over a polygonal model.
Reverse Engineering – the process of measuring and then creating a CAD model of an object that reflects how the object would be designed originally (Design Intent).
Solid Model – a CAD model that is defined by the volume of an object, not by its surfaces.
STEP – Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data – a neutral format for exchanging CAD data between software programs.
STL – Standard Tessellation Language – a polygonal model format that is used for rapid prototyping.
Surface Model – a CAD model of an object that is defined by its bounding surfaces.
Water Tight – a surface model that has no gaps or holes between its surfaces. Especially important for 3D Printing.