How will this image be used? Do I anticipate any changes? What are your tolerance requirements? All these questions are paramount in determining the successful path of the data output and each are mutually exclusive of one another.
Why do I care how it’s being used? After being in the 3D scanning service industry for over 18 years, I find significant value in this simple question. Here’s why. When approaching a project of any magnitude, the ideal goal is to find the cleanest, clearest path with an optimal desired result. Not knowing the intended output can send a service tech down a long, inefficient path. Here is a scenario I encounter on a regular basis. Customer: “I need to scan an entire engine for a vehicle with CAD output.” At face value, I can jump to the conclusion that they need every nook and cranny digitally captured by any medium of my choosing and I can spend several weeks meticulously creating detailed models of starter motors, cooling lines and complex engine block castings. Ninety-nine percent of the time, that is not necessary. After asking that simple question—how will this be used?—a simple volumetric representation is all that is needed to determine fit and clearances. This can be accomplished quickly and efficiently, using simplified scanning techniques and rapid solid modeling.