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Rapid Prototyping Breakthrough: 3D Scanning App


Rapid prototyping, additive manufacturing and 3D printing have been around for a while and are taking the world by storm. Scientists and engineers involved in different stages of design and development have definitely been keen to employ rapid prototyping in their work. Entire production facilities are run where rapid prototyping and 3D printing are being used at large. This is due to the fact that through rapid prototyping of the necessary models, a great amount of time is saved, cost is cut down and more accuracy is achieved through the technology. The most important step to successful 3D printing of an object is 3D scanning- getting a three dimensional impression or image of the object onto the computer as a CAD file and then passing it on for printing in 3D. According to current trends and customer requirements, 3D printing firms as a whole have learned to adapt their technologies. Therefore, at the scanning stage, the object is to be customized and made suitable for rapid prototyping according to the needs of the client. 3D scanning hence is of utmost importance when it comes to customization of the project before churning out a finished product.


Scandy, a 3D scan to print based innovator company based in New Orleans, has teamed up with a leading company that deals with time of flight sensors- California based firm pmdtechnologies. These two rapid prototyping powerhouses are soon to reveal a new app that is going to make 3D scanning more affordable and user friendly. Scandy Pro for Android allows smartphone users to obtain professional quality 3D scans using just a sensor and their phone.





A 3D model, which happens to be a digital representation of an actual physical object, is first taken in a digital form. Advanced 3D scanning equipment captures and transforms these objects into digital 3D models in CAD files in which they can be modified and modeled how the actual finished product should look like. The raw data gathered from the 3D scan is processed into a digital model which can be used for various purposes.


3D scanning is soaring in popularity day by day as it is an essential tool that works as an accompaniment for rapid prototyping and 3D printing. Besides, 3D scanning is in itself an invaluable tool that can benefit many scientific and research sectors. However, professional equipments for 3D printing and scanning can cost a fortune and is out of reach for independent hobbyists and small corporations. Hence, rapid prototyping enthusiasts have looked to develop clever mechanisms and more user friendly devices that can give the same high quality 3D scan in unbeatable prices. The simplest and commercially viable out of these bizarre solutions has been put forward by Scandy- which is a scanning system to be used as an Android app, priced at less than five hundred dollars.


The project titled Scandy Pro is collaboration between pmd and Scandy, which allows users of Android phones to capture intricate 3D scans using a pico flex ToF sensor developed by pmd. These scans can be taken in real time, on the go. Featuring as tiny as 0.3 mm scans, the bounding box of this 3D scanning app is .25 meters and 36 mm with a three meter bounding box. There are built in editing options for resizing, quick cropping of the image and many more in the Scandy Pro app.


The creators of the app Scandy Pro believe that the affordability and portability of this new 3D scan system can open doors to new opportunities. Aspiring 3D printing and rapid prototyping enthusiasts will now have access to scanning technologies which they can welcome into their workstations with open arms. According to Cole Wiley, co-founder and CTO of Scandy the cost of creating sub-millimeter scaled and dimensionally accurate 3D models from such a low cost system has been his long standing personal dream as a 3D scanning enthusiast. Scandy as a company is really proud that they could provide this solution for thousands of hobbyists and small businesses out there.


Great news for the future users of the Scandy Pro app is that the companies pmd and Scandy have made the whole Scandy Core SDK freely available and open source. After establishing the basis of Scandy Pro, this was a huge step for the companies as they have now directly invited users to build on their technology. Not just limited to Android devices, users of Apple and Linux too can now scan and track objects through Scandy Core. Every frame of the 3D scan data can be resolved in about .32 seconds in Scandy Core, however Scandy Pro renders and compiles the scans in-app. This makes the scan system suitable for applications in CAD, AR/VR, rapid prototyping and of course for 3D printing.


The technical features of Scandy Pro are quite impressive. Not only does it run on Android, there is support available for Linux and Mac OSX too. The average throughput for images is 5-20 fps (frames per second). The development environments are in Mac OSX and Linux operating systems. The size of the scanner happens to be 68mm x 17mm x 7.25 mm in pico flex. The app is supported by popular programming languages like Java, C++ and Unity. The created files can be exported in three formats- STL, OBJ and PLY. Last but not the least, the viewing angle is 62 degrees x 45 degrees.


The Business Development director at pmd Jochen Penne believes that it is a new and unique experience to be giving users the opportunity to capture real time objects and people that they care about in mobile and 3D devices. The company, pmd is very excited about the potential uses of Scandy Pro.


Currently, there is an ongoing Android beta testing program for Scandy Pro. The companies concerned are to launch the final version of the app by the end of this year. The first 3D scan to print app by Scandy was launched in early 2015 which was iPad based. There was a Structure 3D sensor that did the capturing of the 3D scans ready for rapid prototyping. Scandy raised a fund of around one million dollars in seed funding earlier in this year in order to develop their newest app.




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