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5 Downfalls of Handheld 3D Scanners for Reverse Engineering 

When selecting a 3D scanner for reverse engineering, it's important to consider which solution makes sense for your specific application. Employing an impractical solution could lead to bottlenecks, bad data, and a lot of wasted time. In this piece, we'll dive into some of the key differences between handheld scanners and ATOS blue light 3D scanners to help you understand how they each address reverse engineering challenges and enable more efficient and accurate engineering and inspection workflows.


Handheld 3D scanners vs Non-mobile 3D scanners

The technology that powers 3D hand scanners is very similar to that of non-mobile 3D scanners. A thin blue band of light works in conjunction with sensing cameras and intelligent software to collect data points from the object's surface without touching it our using destructive techniques. Rather than being attached to a mechanical arm that moves over an object to collect data points, a human must operate a handheld scanner. The person using the scanner stands at a distance from the object and scans the product at the same distance all around. Like non-mobile 3D scanners, handheld 3D scanners can collect data from very small to very large objects, but a handheld scanner will require much more time to scan a large item in its entirety.

Reverse engineering and the inspection of mechanical parts have been made much more comprehensive and digestible since 3D metrology products have integrated blue light technology. Allowing light to probe the surface of an object as opposed to a touch probe means a much more thorough approach can be taken.

Non-contact, automated metrology leads to more precise measurements and more detailed images because the cameras allow for higher resolution at higher speeds. Similarly, the software used allows for inspections that are only hours long as opposed to days long. Do handheld 3D scanners work as well as non-mobile scanners for reverse engineering, though? Accuracy and precision are crucial in order to obtain the most detailed scans that can then be deconstructed in proper proportions. Handheld devices fall prey to human fallibility, they lack precision and clarity and they can lead to more labor than is necessary.

Handheld 3D Scanner Downside #1: Lack of precision

Non-mobile ATOS scanners avoid the pitfalls of imprecision because the automated machinery provides a steady probe that is unhindered by human unsteadiness. The modern hardware and software are produced together to avoid disruptions within the technology, and because of this, it is easy for the 3D metrology systems to gather digital data through their own mechanics.

3D hand scanners have similar hardware and software that can reproduce quality scanned images, but it lacks the steady automation that non-mobile devices have. The human in charge of scanning objects must remain still and retain the same amount of distance from the object at every point of data gathering. While it may save money to invest in a handheld scanner as opposed to the expensive non-mobile option, the outcome of the scans and resulting clarity of images you have to work with will not be as high-quality as you might hope.

Handheld 3D Scanner Downside #2: Lack of clarity

In the same vein as precision, clarity in reverse engineering gives you a better vision of the product you are looking at manufacturing, analyzing or deconstructing for the purposes of improved modifications. When an unsteady scan gives you imprecise digital data, your inspections and research findings will be skewed and the work you hoped to avoid such as multiple iterations will resurface.

The beauty behind automated hardware is that it takes the flaws of natural human error out of the scanning process. When scans gathered for 3D reverse engineering are completed using a portable 3D scanner, if there was any shaking or unnoticed movements that would create a gap during the gathering of measurements, the images to be used for deconstruction wouldn't be as clear as they need to be for accurate inspection of parts. In order to take clean scan data and import it into CAD software and model creation, the geometry of the digitized data must be flawlessly measured. To avoid the risk of unclear images, the best 3D scanner for reverse engineering might be a non-mobile option.

Handheld 3D Scanner Downside #3: Human Error

Inspection, also known as dimensional metrology, involves the assessment of geometric characteristics in mechanical parts to ensure that product features are reliable, fully functional and comply with design specifications. Because images need to be clear in order to analyze the most precise measurements, the safest way to guarantee this is through automated data collection. It removes the stress of having to rescan objects and cuts on labor costs.

reverse engineering scanner must measure data points rapidly and accurately. Sometimes if objects are small, handheld devices may seem like a quick option and cheaper solution, but when the time comes to scan a very large object, this would take an extremely steady hand and patient person to complete the task. Human error, while unintentional, is often unavoidable and can cause unnecessary stress. Choosing not to use a handheld 3D scanner can eliminate this risk because there won't be a need to stay still for hours and continue prolonged attention to detail that could grow tedious.

Handheld 3D Scanner Downside #4: Instability

Like we mentioned above, it would take very close attention to detail and a lot of time to gather all the data necessary for large objects. When humans are the ones behind the scanner, it could result in missed data points or unclear digital data because of slight movements either closer or farther away than where the scanning began. It's only natural for arms to become unsteady after a certain amount of time and the 3D scanner could lose the sense of depth it was originally calibrated to read.

What you might save in costs with a handheld 3D scanner, you'll end up paying for in labor because of imprecision and lack of clarity. Prevent hindering your workflow and making mistakes that could set you back by hours.

Handheld 3D Scanner Downside #5: Scan time

Why stick yourself with longer scan times when data can be collected and archived in seconds? The best part of automated machinery is that it saves time spent on unnecessary labor. Handheld 3D scanners require a human to be present at all times to hold the scanner and cover every data point in order to read all measurements. Non-mobile 3D metrology works well as a reverse engineering scanner because not only does it accurately read all data points with high resolution, but it also has smart technology that results in smooth probing perfect for the inspection of highly detailed digitized data. Large scans can take a long time, and when other work needs to be completed on the production floor, automated 3D scanners can be trusted to perform at the highest level.

Interested in learning more about 3D scanning? Contact us today!

At Capture 3D, we're committed to providing the best possible technology to optimize your workflow and increase your productivity. Before you decide that the handheld scanner is the best 3D scanner for reverse engineering and the inspection of parts, review the downfalls of the product that could prevent you from getting the highest quality scans for your research.

Need more information? Visit our 3D scanners page now! If you still have questions or find that you are having difficulty in deciding how to choose the best 3D scanning product for your business, reach out to us! We'd love to help. Our team will go over your goals and how your business works. From there we can choose the 3D scanner that will best supplement your manufacturing process and allow you to improve your workflow, conduct inspections at a faster rate and have the peace of mind that your scans are of the highest quality.

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