The need for 3D scanning has been growing in recent years across many different industries, especially when it comes to reverse engineering and 3D printing. As a Project Engineer with the TriMech Project Engineering Group, I have the privilege of working with customers who come to us needing a variety of 3D scanning services in a variety of new and unique applications.
This exposure provides me with the ability to work with several different scanner technologies - from long-range large-object scanners to small high-precision scanners capable of capturing fine detail. In this article, I'm going to look at one of these scanning technologies that our group has found to be a perfect fit for high-precision applications: the Artec Micro.
Why Companies are Using 3D Scanning
In many industries, from medical to automotive, aerospace and more, there is often the need to produce replacement parts. For some customers, like those in the jewelry industry, there is a need to digitally archive designs so that variations of that design can be produced in the future.
Often, there is a need for reverse engineering to fabricate a replacement part for an old piece of machinery, such as a gear that the customer has no documentation for, or to create inventory parts.
In other cases, the need for heritage preservation has spawned the use of 3D scanners to capture the history of ancient artifacts.
3D scanning is a great alternative to manual reverse engineering techniques, where tools such as calipers and micrometers are used but can be tedious at best. This is especially true when it comes to parts with certain geometries. Parts with intricate detail and/or complex surfaces would make using such tools impossible.
There are Different Ways to Achieve High-Precision Results
For many projects that require high-precision, we often reach for the Artec Space Spider. The Space Spider is a hand-held scanner capable of delivering 50-micron accuracy, which often exceeds the needs of our customers. It's ideal for reverse engineering, quality control, product design and manufacturing. It's robust and has a good price point.
It's a hand-held device that affords greater freedom of movement around larger objects. To capture more intricate detail, we have successfully assisted customers with mounting hand-held scanners to a robotic arm as a solution.
However, those types of applications are often very specific and would be considered overkill for many others. That is where the Artec Micro comes in!
What Makes the Micro Different
The Artec Micro differs from a hand-held scanner in that it is a completely hands-free desktop scanner. It features a convenient workpiece holder that eliminates any user error that could occur during scanning. The Micro automatically rotates the part, as needed, and each scan automatically aligns to the previous scan, allowing scan times to be completed more efficiently and minimizes post-processing.
The higher accuracy, up to 10 Micron, makes the Artec Micro the perfect tool for small, intricate parts. This unit interfaces with Artec Studio software and provides a fully automated experience. Just choose a few parameters in Artec Studio, press the Scan button and the Artec Micro does the rest.
Check out the intricate details picked up in this ring, it is amazing!
What About 3D Metrology Scanning?
The purpose of 3D metrology scanning is to obtain highly accurate physical measurements of an object, typically for quality control and reverse engineering. Historically done with instruments that use contacting probes to yield data, 3D scanning is fast becoming a leading alternative tool in the field.
One of the challenges when using 3D scanning as a metrology solution has been alignment and motion control. Hand-held solutions (when held by a human hand) introduce instabilities that cannot always be corrected using scanning software. The Artec Micro automates the entire process, thereby eliminating that challenge. It enables you to make precise digital files of your smaller parts in less time, using less data, all from your desktop.
For more information on reverse engineering, be sure to check out our free on-demand webinar, 3D Scan to CAD Model: The Full Process of Reverse Engineering below.
Whether you need to reverse engineer your parts or simply wish to obtain a mesh file (.STL) for 3D printing your designs, the TriMech Project Engineering Group utilizes a full suite of Artec 3D Scanning products to help you meet your specific needs. Be sure to contact TriMech Services to discuss your next project!