High Resolution Structured Light Scanning


For the most accurate eyes-on comparison, view raw prints of prototypes. A raw print will not be primed or touched up by an artist prior to being photographed.

A print can only be as good as the scan it is based on. There are many ways to accomplish the same goal but the results are very different.

Structured light scanners use ultra-high accuracy / resolution optical imaging to triangulate points from multiple locations. By comparing millions of pixels, this process can produce a more precise point cloud with better definition of subtle edge features. The advantage of structured-light 3D scanners is speed and precision. Instead of scanning one point at a time, structured light scanners scan multiple points or the entire field of view at once. Scanning an entire field of view in a fraction of a second generates profiles that are exponentially more precise than laser triangulation.

White Light Scanning
With structured white light, scans are typically accurate up to less than 0.001 of an inch. Structured light can capture a denser point cloud that typical laser scanning. Structured light scans can be so accurate that this process is a popular choice when a near exact virtual model is required.

For this reason, white light scanning is ideal for scanning components such as sheet metal parts, tools and dies, turbine blades, molded/cast parts and intricate prototypes. And by using a non-contact process, data is collected efficiently with minimal setups.

Technology:  3D laser scanners sample the world one time as the line passes the illuminated subject. White light scanners sample the world many times, with fringe patterns varying width and phase that redundantly estimate the shape of the subject. Due to the repeatability of the readings, the accuracy of a white light scanner can be (and has been shown to be) inherently better than laser scanner.

Speed:  Laser scanners have a potential speed advantage since they can do a single sweep much faster than the multiple fringes of white light. With advanced cameras, throughput electronics, and faster processors, white light cameras have been sped up to capture a scan in less than one second with over a million points. Due to their fast scanning speed, white light scanners are especially useful in face scanning and body scanning applications where people have difficulties staying still.

Area Scanning:  Laser scanners are generally based on a point that is split into a line, which is then swept across a field. They are performing area scanning by stretching from a one-dimensional line to two-dimensional area. White light scanners are true area scanners by the very nature of the projected patterns being on the entire area continuously and repeatedly. 

Lighting Conditions:  Laser scanners have the ability to turn up the gain to get some data in difficult ambient lighting environments, albeit noisy and inaccurate data. White light scanners are limited by the light intensity output of the bulb and contrast level of the projector. In office or industrial settings, using a white light scanner is generally not a problem, but there are other locations (such as outdoors) where this could matter. 

Safety:  Lasers, due to their ability to focus light intensity and energy into very small space, have an inherent safety issue. The biggest concern is eye-safety danger. Some of the lasers used in 3D laser scanners today are not rated for being Eye-Safe. There are laser systems intended for human scanning such as body, face, or feet scanning. These systems need to be rated for Eye-Safe and are certified to be below Class 2M. 

White light scanners, being based on simple white light, don't have that problem and are much less concern for users. Other structured light scanners are also not a concern for safety since they are not dealing with the intense light.