As an Industrial Designer the efficiency and accuracy of measuring an object with complex shapes, angles, and curves is always a challenge in the beginning stages of CAD design and development. Whether it’s updating an existing product that only exists as a physical prototype or wanting to insure purchased hardware (screws, springs, hinges, etc.) are dimensionally precise, there is always an uphill battle of translating the dimensional measurements into the computer CAD software before any of the actual new product design can be worked on.
Thanks to 3D scanning devices that are quickly becoming more and more affordable, a lot of this preceding measuring work can be easily accomplished and in a fraction of the time too. Much like 3D printers, the transition to smaller desktop sized 3d scanners has already paved the way for hobbyists to adopt this emerging tech. 3D scanning has even begun breaking into the handheld portability market too. Although not yet as accurate as non-handheld scanners, the flexibility handheld scanners affords offers some exciting future applications including but not limited to the scanning of interiors and locations impossible to move or fit on a stationary 3D scanner.
The rapid development of 3D scanning is an exciting time to be a designer. Combined with utilization of 3D printing and virtual reality, design has never had a hand in so many exciting technologies at once, and I look forward to the next exciting innovation.