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3D Scanning Tip #2 – Place Reflective Targets Near the Object Instead of On the Object

Infographic showing several 3D scanning aids with reflective targets.

This 3D scanning tip is all about the use of reflective targets to maintain tracking.

You can learn more on this topic by watching this video.

BACKGROUND

Reflective targets are an effective method to improve tracking while 3D scanning.  We generally first think of applying reflective targets directly to the object being scanned.  While that works well for many objects, that also means you need to remove the reflective targets when 3D scanning is completed.  Depending on the size and surface finish of the object, removing these targets can be tedious and time consuming.

Also, for very small objects, especially those with fine features, applying reflective targets to the object may not be practical.

SOLUTION

So, here’s the tip: when possible, place the reflective targets near the object being scanned instead of on the object.  The most efficient way to do this is to use “scanning aids”.  A scanning aid is simply an object with reflective targets that is placed near the item being scanned. See examples below.

1. Black turntable with reflective targets.

A black turntable with reflective targets applied to enhance tracking while 3D scanning.

2. Small pyramids with reflective targets. Two sizes are shown.  We’ve found the smaller ones to be very effective, and they don’t obstruct the scanner’s line-of-sight compared to the larger ones.

Two 3D scanning aids that are shaped like pyramids and are of different sizes. Reflective targets are attached to both.

3. Black poster board with reflective targets.

A 3D scanning made of black poster board with reflective targets applied to the top surface.

4. Plastic or cardboard strips with reflective targets. The plastic strips shown are two-piece structures with channels that fit together, providing a means for adjusting the overall length.

A 3D scanning aid made of plastic or cardboard strips with reflective targets applied to the top surface.

5. Plastic sheet with a stand. These two sheets were designed to allow for two orientations (horizontal or vertical) to accommodate objects of different sizes and shapes.  The larger sheet is positioned vertically and the smaller one is positioned horizontally in the same stand. The stand has a small groove that accommodates the thickness of the sheets.

3D scanning aides made of black plastic with reflective targets. The sheets are positioned either vertically or horizontally by placing them in a stand.

6. Plastic piece with a 90 degree angle. These scanning aids can also be positioned vertically or horizontally to accommodate a variety of shapes and sizes.

Two 3D scanning aids with 90 degree angles that have reflective targets attached. One is positioned vertically; the other is positioned horizontally.

7. Short columns with reflective targets. In this case, the columns have a hexagonal cross-section, which makes more flat surfaces for targets, making it easier to quickly move around the item being scanned.  Also, these were designed to be stackable to accommodate taller objects.

3D scanning aids with reflective targets attached. The cross-section of these aids is a hexagon shape, and they are designed to be stackable. One is shown by itself and two are stacked beside it.

It should be noted that for very large objects, the field of view may not be large enough to reach the middle portions of the object while simultaneously using the targets for tracking.

At Strategic 3D Solutions, we partner with customers to provide solutions every day. Need help with designing, 3D printing, or 3D scanning for your project? Planning to purchase a 3D printer or 3D scanner? Contact us.

 

To learn more about the author, click here.

About the author
brucereimer
Bruce Reimer is a business leader with over 30 years of experience in five industries: 3D printing, defense electronics, forensics, transportation technology, and agriculture equipment. His educational background includes a BS in Engineering and an MBA.

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