3D Scanning File Formats3D scanners most commonly output dense point cloud data. Utilizing reverse engineering software, we can produce a number for 3D model formats from the point cloud data. The type of file required greatly affects the amount of post-processing and reverse engineering time. Here are the most typical file types in order of cost from lowest to highest:
PolygonPolygon models are generated by meshing the raw 3D scan data. The result is a model containing thousands or millions of triangular faces. Polygon models are commonly used for rapid prototyping, 3D rendering, and 3D animation.
Auto-SurfaceAuto-surfaced models are generated by "shrink-wrapping" 3D scan data with CAD surfaces. The results is a 3D model that contains many freeform surface patches. Auto-surfaced models are most commonly used when there is a need to bring an organic shaped object into CAD or CNC software.
HybridHybrid models are generated using a combination of feature based modeling and auto-surface modeling. The result is a 3D model where organic features are freeform surface patches and prismatic features are cylinders, planes, etc. Hybrid models are commonly used when an object contains both organic and mechanical features, such as an action figure toy or a machined casting. Hybrid models are also useful when an engineer needs to see the entire envelope of a scanned part in his CAD software, but only requires prismatic features where the part mates to adjacent parts
Feature BasedFeature based models are generated using Geomagic Design X parametric reverse engineering software. The result is an idealized 3D CAD model that is generated using sketches, extrudes, fillets, lofts, etc. Feature-based models can be delivered in both neutral file format and native CAD formats. The native CAD formats we deliver contain a fully editable feature tree.
Written by Jim Clark
Also see Neomek 3D Scanning Services.