How Product Developers Use 3D Scanners for Manufacturing Faster Prototypes

Product developers are always looking for ways to create faster prototypes. Faster prototypes allow manufacturers to develop better products and get them to market quicker. One way they are doing this is by using 3D printing and 3D scanners.

80% of enterprises say 3D printing is allowing them to innovate faster. 3D scanners for manufacturing create a digital model of an object in seconds. So, scanners enable product developers to test different products quickly and iterate on designs.

How can your business leverage robust 3D scanners to create rapid prototypes? Read on to learn about prototyping and incorporating 3D scanning into your research and development. 

What Is Rapid Prototyping? 

Prototyping involves creating a version of a new product to test its effectiveness. But it takes a lot of time to design and manufacture a prototype, and you have to go through multiple iterations to find the right solution.

Rapid prototyping uses development methods to speed up the creation of prototypes. Creating and testing prototypes faster can help development teams find a solution. Computer testing and 3D printing are two effective ways to design and test prototypes. 

How to Use 3D Printing in Prototyping

3D printing is an additive process that creates 3D objects by layering materials like resin. Items are printed with a 3D printer specifically designed to create 3D objects. The printer follows a digital 3D model in a CAD file. 

3D printing allows your team to mock up a design on a computer and then print out a functioning 3D model. Your team can then immediately begin testing that model. Once tested, your team can go into the digital file and make changes before running another test. 

How Do Professional 3D Scanners Work 

3D printers need a file to work from before they can print a prototype. Your designers may make basic models with clay or other materials to brainstorm solutions. 3D scanners can help you reverse engineer those physical models and turn them into usable files. 

3D scanners analyze and capture the shape of a physical object and turn it into a digital format. 3D Scanning uses portable laser scanners and camera optics to measure an object and create a data point. Data points are then triangulated on software to create a digital model. 

Scanners can create a replica of an object for use in 3D printing. Since many products add to existing products, 3D printing can scan your current products for your team to work on a digital model. From this model, you can 3D print a prototype of the addition. 

Benefits of Using 3D Scanners for Manufacturing 

3D scanning is a great tool to use in your rapid prototyping to boost your company’s innovation. Here are some of the benefits you can expect from the process:

Reduce Time to Market 

Research and development can take months to refine an idea into a product you can sell. If you can get your product to market faster, the sooner you can make money. 

3D scanning reduces the time it takes for your team to create models and test them. Testing models quicker means they can find a product that works faster. As a result, your team can turn that prototype into a manufactured product sooner. 

Reduce Costs of Research and Development 

3D printing uses less expensive materials to create prototypes. So, rather than using metal, wood, or other industrial materials, your business can save money by using cheaper resin.

Labor costs are another huge expense for your research and development team. But with 3D scanners, you could get your prototype right on the first try, saving months of development time. By reducing your development time, you can save money. 

Boost Efficiency

3D scanning allows you to use your existing products to help you create new iterations or additional features. Reverse engineering new technology can reduce your time on research and development. Your team can also create multiple models and prototypes at a time to work efficiently. 

Guidelines for Using 3D Scanners

When 3D scanning, you will want to plan ahead to get the highest quality photos possible. The better your initial scans, the easier it will be to create an accurate digital model you can 3D print. 

You’ll want to have a designated space where you can control the lighting and scanner angles to get the best scans. Make sure your environment has a stable way to hold objects steady and spin them when needed. Scan on a dark background so the scanner only picks up the object. 

Next, you’ll want to calibrate your scanner settings to reduce any noise you might be getting in your scans. Then check those settings each time to ensure you use the best ones based on the object you want to scan. 

Choosing From 3D Scanner Manufacturers

Companies like Go3DPro offer many different scanners that you can incorporate into your research and development process. You can choose from an industrial-grade 3D scanner to small handheld scanners. Look for a scanner that meets all your needs while fitting your budget. 

You will also want to know what you want to scan and your workspace to choose the best camera for your company. For example, some scanners are better at capturing dark or reflective surfaces than others. 

Prices for scanners vary widely depending on the type. Although they can be a significant investment, their cost can be substantially less than slower prototyping techniques. See if companies offer bundles that include 3D printers and software to reduce overall costs. 

Incorporate Professional 3D Scanners Into Your Research and Development 

Rapid prototyping using 3D printing can dramatically reduce the time it takes your business to launch a new product. Incorporating 3D scanners for manufacturing into your rapid prototyping process can aid in this process. With 3D scanners, your research and development teams can work more efficiently to get a product to market faster. 

Do you want to learn more about 3D printing and how you can use it to improve your business processes? Check out the technology section of our website for more guides like this one.