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Case Studies

Utilizing 3D Scan Data For Design

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In recent years, 3D printing has become more and more mainstream.  More and more industries are finding unique and helpful uses for 3D printing - one of them being the jewelry industry. 

But 3D printing is just one step of the process.  Before printing, a 3D model is needed so the printer knows what to print; however, designing precise and sophisticated 3D models can be difficult.  

“Using a 3D scanner takes the guesswork out of modeling as it can guarantee an exact replication.”

One of the biggest shortcuts for any modeling process is using a 3D scanner that can turn real world objects into computerized 3D data.  In a matter of minutes a 3D scanner can provide users with an easy to manipulate digital design that can boost productivity and competitiveness while significantly shortening production time.

Despite the value of 3D scanners as an important piece of the 3D printing process, many people are still unfamiliar with it.

In the past, if a customer requested a jewelry reproduction, it was a time-consuming and painstaking process.  For example, if a customer loses one earring and would like another one made, the process would start by placing a photo of the earring in Rhino3D and then begin modeling from scratch while constantly measuring the size. Even after producing the piece, it would often need repeating because producing accurate replications is very difficult by hand - and customers seem to always notice tiny inaccuracies.

Conversely, using a 3D scanner takes the guesswork out of modeling as it can guarantee an exact replication.  

This 3D data can be used in 3 different ways. 


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The skull ring was scanned first and the 3D data was scanned without modification. When using a high-resolution 3D scanner, it is possible to acquire highly detailed and accurate 3D data without a modeling process.


A 3D scanner can obtain 3D data from the areas where its light can reach. This means that sometimes deep grooves and ridges are unable to be scanned in complex objects.  In this case, the 3D data can be modified or reverse engineered before use. Reverse engineering refers to the process of re-modeling with the use of scan data as a reference.  Just as one would copy a drawing by placing an original underneath and tracing it, with 3D modeling it much more convenient and precise to use the 3D data as a reference point.  Using a 3D scanner also elminates the need for photographs and size measurements, a significant time saving for designers.

If we look closer at the reverse engineering process, the first step is to set the scan data at the center and draw the guideline followed by modeling the prong and surface according to the scan data.  USING THE SCAN DATA AS REFERENCE.pngAlso, it is much easier to model in spread shape when working with rings.  Modeling on top of spread scan dataIn below Image we can see the overlapped image of the original scan data and the reverse engineered data -- appearing to be identical.

3D scan data and reverse engineered data.


Lastly, we can use a combination of the above two processes -- using the scan data as is (1) and also use the scan data as a reference (2) to be used when reverse engineering is needed. 

USING THE SCAN DATA SELECTIVELY.png1) Cut off the reverse engineering part from the scan data.

2) Re-model the reverse engineering part.

3) Combine the scan data and reverse engineered data.

By Yongjin Kim / CEO – Leo3D (Authorized Rhino3D Training Center).  Leo3D (website, Korean only) specializes in 3D jewelry design.  Based out of Seoul, Korea, Leo  

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