3D scanning and reverse engineering


I just invested in a 3d scanning system and am planning on buying reverse engineering software.

I need some ideas on how to make some money off of it and find people/companies/industries that may be able to take advantage of it.

I will be capable of scanning objects as large as car and as small as a golfball. After they are scanned I have 3d models that I can use one program to apply a surface texture/mapping which basically means I can take a picture of the item and apply it to the surface to give it identical appearance.

The reverse engineering software would allow me to take a 3d model and create an editable solidworks part with it. The would be required if you want to edit anything. Its great for scanning broken parts and repairing them in solidworks. I also know some people who have rapid prototype equipment so any part I scan or model could be printed in ABS plastic.

So, like I said: I need help finding people that can use this. I really need to make some money off of it since this is more of an investment than a toy for me to play around with. In general a simple 3d scan would be pretty inexpensive.

I’ve heard of this technology being used in restoring old cars, art, archeology, etc. So who does that type of stuff relatively locally and how can I expand on those?


You should start a company that replicates replica parts and wheels to stick it to the Chinese.


ABS Rota knockoffs!

or are they Taiwan?


Is there a difference?


a very significant one. Taiwan is technically “The Republic of China” while china is “The People’s Republic of China”


What system did you buy and what software are you using? Accuracy per scaling?

I don’t need to tell you that I will use this service of yours. I’ve been paying out the ass to have LDI do the stuff I have done, might as well pay YOU for the work instead.

Start a website for the service. Call mechanical colleges and universities and source the service to them for their required classes. I still do work for people on rare cars with broken parts to have the original parts scanned(like steering knucles on a lola) and then have them run through FEA and update/machine new parts to make available for the owners. A guy ion Canada does this for the 962’s and makes a killing doing it.

there is no limitation to this service. Hell even high end running shoe/skate companies that make custom one off bits for thier customers now use laser scanners to duplicate the athletes feet. The only limitation is going to be you.


My current software claims accuracy of .015" of a 2" object. Nextengine can achieve about 3 times that (.005"). I’ll be making some larger scans next week to measure the accuracy of something about 5’.

The difference being that the NextEngine would require 100’s of scans to get anything that large because the farthest back from the object that you can put it is 36". I have the option of doing multiple close-up scans or I can back it up and recalibrate it to be able to get the entire object in the shot sacrificing some accuracy.

I have Solidworks 2009 and Rapidform XOR3 and as soon as I get the money to “update” them I’ll be starting a website and building a legitimate company out of it. Hopefully that will be happening in the very near future. The longer term plan is to pickup the Nextengine within the year if I can prove that companies in the region can use the technology.


Faro arm? lmk, I use these on the reg at work


Nope, laser scanning like the NextEngine. I can’t stand those arms, the surfaces/contours that are impossible to measure with conventional tools aren’t any easier with the arms IMO.


This program is really the key to the whole thing. Having a 3d scan is a useless blob most of the time unless you process it through here you can’t actually use it in assemblies or modify it:



I’m getting the results of my first scans. I’m going to have a lot of work dialing in both the hardware and software. I can tell with a single scan that it is extremely accurate, but the software seems to be having issues accurately combining each of the scans to a 3d image. I know it can do it, I just have to get better at the software.

I think I may be able to upgrade software/hardware in a matter of months depending on what i’m able to do as I travel around with the military.

Hopefully I can contact enough companies that would be interested that it would make it easier for me to make the investment in it.




Start with simple polygons forst before getting into complex vertices. Use something simple like a childs toy block and dial in the rendering.

You get this sorted and I’ll have work for you, guaranteed.

I’ve got a couple things here you can actually mess with if you’re just working the kinks out.

Also, does your rendering software have the ability to scale the part being scanned? IE…some model that’s 1:43 scale up into a full 1:! ratio before rendering into data for SW? Up scaling in SW always results in issues and it’s best to nip it at the source(the scan)


It can scale up, i’m just unsure of if it’s a pain in the ass like it is in solidworks. I’ll have to try it out.

If you have a few non-reflective, light colored objects I’d love to grab them from you and scan them. I keep rummaging about but can’t find something just right. For the shock fork I just shot it with that plastidip and painted it white which seemed to work well, but I’m going to have to purchase the powder stuff for objects that I don’t want to spray paint.

I also need to drop off that alternator with you as well.


Dust the parts with graphite powder. You can actually use the stuff that autobody places use to find high/low spots in paint.

I do have some stuff you can mess with. I’ll get it together over the weekend :slight_smile:


dry guide coat. 3M sells it by the tub. a tub will dust a few cars so it lasts a while doing parts like you will use it for. $30-40 a tub though. its 3M what do you expect. :slight_smile:


Adam I thought you would find this interesting, we got a new toy at work that has the capability to do stuff like this:

[ame=“http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZICdpyVt88”]YXLON - animated X-ray CT of a Chainsaw - YouTube[/ame]

[ame=“http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yc_17iGUVik”]YXLON X-ray CT of Formula Racing Car - YouTube[/ame]

its a huge upgrade from the NextEngine and Konica Minolta Vivid scanners even though it only has a envelope of only about6"x6"x6"


i used something similar when i was in school.

surveyors use laser scanners and i am sure people on here have seen them before on the side of the road.



Definitely mike! I still have to repair those molds and send them to you for R.E. id like to get hem into cad so i can cut new ones from tooling material with a tighter finish profile. The cars that the prototypes are on will be on track next year for certain(i think one made it to sema this year too) but i cant release the parts for sale until these molds are perfect


Let me know. Depending on our budget for 2014 I might be getting a portable scanner that I could bring to you rather than trying to ship the quarters.


I’ve got a bunch of old bicycle parts and such laying around (frames, shocks, wheels, and other stuff) if you want some things to mess around with.

Tapatalk is consuming my life