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Creating at Cline Library

Your complete how-to guide for enjoying the Cline Library's MakerLab and multimedia Studios.



3D Laser Scanner – An instrument that either line laser beams or pulses to capture the shape of objects and environments.

3D Modeling – 3D modeling refers to process of building CAD models from available information which can include 3D scan data, 2D drawings or sketches.

3D Printing  – The process of fusing together successive thin layers of material (metals and plastics) in order to create a 3D object. Common thermoplastic feedstock (plastic filament) used includes Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene and Polyactic Acid). Synonymous with additive manufacturing. 

3D Scanner – There are many types of 3D scanners, but they all capture the real-world shapes or spaces and store the information digitally in the form of a point cloud.

3D Scanning – 3D scanning is the process of using a 3D scanner to accomplish a goal such as measuring the shape of a part or building.

Accuracy – The accuracy of a scan is a number representing the degree of difference between the measured value obtained by the scanner to the correct measurement. All scanners have some degree of inaccuracy, but some are much better than others.

Additive manufacturing –The process of fusing together successive thin layers of material (plastics, metals, etc.) in order to create a 3D object. Synonymous with 3D printing. Opposite of subtractive manufacturing.  

Alignment – The process of rotating a 3D scan or 3D model into the desired orientation or coordinate system. Most scanning processes require alignment at some point to “square up” the data.

CAD – Computer Aided Design. There are a number of different CAD programs on the market. It is frequently easier for a customer to utilize CAD files as opposed to raw 3D scan data, so we can convert scans to your desired CAD format.

Datum – Datums are reference features on a part that are used to align 3D scans and 3D models correctly when performing things like GD&T inspections.

“Dumb” solid – A “Dumb” solid is a model created through surfacing tools such as an autosurface. They can be exported to generic formats such as STP and IGES, but when imported into CAD programs, they do not have a feature tree, limiting editing to operations such as cutting, offsetting scaling, etc.

Inspection – Inspection is the process of measuring a part to determine whether it has any flaws by comparing it to an idealized version or intended design of the part.

Mesh – A mesh is a collection of vertices, edges and faces that defines the shape of a polyhedral object in 3D computer graphics and solid modeling. Raw scan point clouds are usually converted to meshes using 3D scanning software.'

Metrology – The first step to accurately capturing any environment in 3D is metrology, or measurement.

Noise – Noise is a result of poor scan quality and produces surface defects on the scan. We can use software tools to greatly reduce the effects of noise.

Parametric Model – Parametric models retain a feature tree, making them more easily editable. They also tend to be of higher quality and are desired for molding and manufacturing applications.

Photogrammetry – The process of obtaining 3D models from photographs. It is also used to increase the accuracy of certain types of scanning using photographs of coded targets. When combined with modern software and computer vision technologies, photogrammetry can under certain circumstances can be used as a 3D scanning technique to create 3D models.

Precision – The repeat-ability of performing a measurement.

Point Cloud –  A point cloud is a text file that contains the raw data output in the form of coordinates from a laser scanner. Point clouds are usually converted to a more usable format such as a CAD file or polygon model for 3D printing.

Reference Markers – These are stickers that are placed onto the part for certain types of scanners requiring targets for positioning.

STL – Standard Tessellation Language. STL models are the most common format for working with raw scans. It is also the format that is used for 3D printing.

Talcum Powder – Talcum powder is often applied to the part prior to scanning to reduce reflective. It is often sprayed on with an aerosol can and is suspended in acetone which evaporates leaving the powder. It can be wiped or washed off easily, usually leaving no marks or damage.

Targets  – Targets are used for scan alignment during the registration process. They can also be used during scanning for self-positioning of the scanner

Watertight – A watertight mesh is fully enclosed with no holes and is suitable for things like 3D printing.