Can one Laser Scan and output directly to CNC machine
Reverse Engineering Process
As a Reverse Engineering Company we often get asked if we can Laser Scan a component and “just” output it to a CNC Machine. I believe this is due to the some low cost Laser Scanners on the market trying to slightly oversell their capabilities.
The actual process is not that simple.
Step 1 – Laser Scan Part
There are many 3D Laser Scanners on the market with a price range of <£1,000 (such as the Sense from 3D Systems) to +£20,000 (such as Romer Scanner) The cheaper options are not really the right application for measuring/scanning mechanical components.
Step 2 – Clean Mesh
The Laser Scanner produces a mesh cloud. This mesh will include any imperfections of the part and potentially some areas where the mesh was not produced accuracy (which can have a number of reasons such as reflectivity etc.) Further, there might be multible scans required that need to be “stitched together”.
Step 3a – 3D CAD Model
Based on a clean mesh a new Solid CAD model can be produced. A 3D CAD Service will use Software packages such as Solidworks to produce a accurate 3D Solid Model based on the mesh data. This CAD Model can then be exported in different formats for example Step or Iges.
Step 3b – 2D Drawings
It is also a common thought that 2D Drawings are no longer required, as the 3D Model can be directly input to the CNC machine. This is not correct for most applications.
A Manufacturing Drawing is required as it will show information for the CNC Operator like:
- Surface Finish
- Linear & Angular Tolerances
- Hole Specifications/Thread Types
- Geometric Tolerances
Step 4a & 4b – CNC Operator & machine.
The CNC Operator will input the 3D CAD file into the CNC machine. He will also use the information on the 2D Drawings to select tooling/speed etc.
Based on this information the CNC machine will be able to produce the part.
Conclusion – Can one output a Laser Scan directly to a CNC Machine
No one can not.
There is a process involved that requires the knowledge and capabilities of a Reverse Engineering Company.