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Laser scanning is the manufacturing of a 3D computer model from a physical or real world object by passing a thin laser light beam over its surface and thereby mapping its outside form. The physical object may be just about anything, so long as it has sufficient surface opacity [or dullness] to enable the scanner to see the laser beam.
Once the object has been scanned by the laser, it is worked on in a specialised computer program in which it is converted into a solid 3D Computer Model.
Once you have a 3D CAD model, you are able to have your object manufactured.
There are various methods for manufacturing an object, the currently popular methods are:
Subtractive manufacturing or commonly called “CNC Machining”
- Mill, Router, Lathe, laser cutter, plasma cutter. In this process, material is removed from a block or plate to reveal the object you are manufacturing. Sometimes further finishing is required to complete the product to the required quality.
- CNC Machining is most suited to mass production, small production and one off pieces. Suitable for hundreds of parts. With This process your object is manufactured by using a computer driven machine to cut it out of a block or plate of material.
- Common items produced on a cnc machine are signs, vacuum moulds, surfboards, parts for furniture, sheet metal parts, machine replacement parts, plastic injection moulds etc
- This process is commonly called 3D Printing.
- Here a very tiny quantity of liquid material is deposited in a pattern driven by a CNC printing program. Imagine a machine that puts down sticky grains of sand in order to build a sand castle…this is essentially what 3D printing is.
- This method is most suited to one off jobs but as the technology improves, it becomes more and more suitable to higher volumes of production.
- Types are items are figurines for animation, medical parts, prosthetics, prototypes and samples.
- Suitable for hundreds of thousands of parts.
- A typical job here is the mould for say, a car seatbelt cover, a hair comb…toothbrush…the mouse in your hand…the list is really endless!
I need somebody with a laser scanner if I want to reproduce my object in the physical world. I may for example, need a mould CNC machined so that I can make many thousands of my parts, for example, a toothbrush… or I may need my product 3D printed such as a prosthetic arm and hand, or a limb.