Holocreators Blog

On the Holocreators Blog, you will find posts about 3D-scanning and reverse engineering. Post topics range from explanations and tutorials to art projects. We illuminate topics from various angles, often with video.
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With the help of specialized 3D scanners, you can 3D-scan people and animals. This allows you to create 3D models that can be 3D-printed or used for 3D animation. We'll show you three different devices that make such 3D scans possible.
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Kitbashing is associated with model making. It is composed of the words "Kit" and "Bashing". “Kit” refers to "model kit". So, when a model maker is "kitbashing", he blends parts from different model kits. Similar to a collage. The model maker combines several individual models into an entirely new model.
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A NURBS model consists of points connected by curves. A polygon mesh consists of thousands or millions of small triangles. CAD surface models are usually created using NURBS surfaces, while 3D scans are typically exported as a polygon mesh. The conversion from a polygon mesh to a NURBS model is called "reverse engineering".

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We perform a deviation analysis in metrology to compare two 3D models with each other and to document the differences with a false color comparison. The analysis is mainly used in quality assurance to document reverse engineering deviations from the original 3D scan. If we compare the CAD data (nominal state) of a part with the 3D scan (actual state) of the same part, this is called a “nominal actual comparison”.
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At an event at the Sustainable Design Center in Berlin, Swann Rack of Holocreators gave a short talk in November 2017. It was about the different 3D scanning techniques and how to use them in combination with 3D printing for reverse engineering.
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Using free software, we can convert a 3D scan (STL) into a CAD format (STEP). This process is called reverse engineering. We will reconstruct a solid model based on a 3D scan. This is not an automatic process, but a manual reconstruction. For this tutorial, we will use Netfabb (version 7.4.0) or Netfabb (current version) to measure the 3D scan. And the current version of FreeCAD (free CAD software) to redesign the part in CAD.
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The Artec Space Spider is a handheld 3D scanner. The cameras on the front look like spider eyes— hence the name "Spider". The 3D scanner is very light and works with blue-structured light. It was developed primarily for 3D scanning smaller objects of between 5 and 30 cm. The manufacturer states the accuracy of the 3D scanner to be within 0.1mm-0.05 mm. Currently, the Artec Space Spider lists for about 20,000 Euro (23,626 USD).
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You only need a mobile phone and some free software to create a free 3D scan. The technique is called photogrammetry. We 3D-scanned the same part twice—once for free and once with a professional 3D scanner—then compared both 3D scans. The result: The free 3D scan has a deviation of only about 0.2mm compared to the professional 3D scan.
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At Vitronic in Wiesbaden, we tested the 3D body scanner "Vitronic Vitus". This body scanner was developed primarily for the clothing industry to capture people’s body measurements quickly. Besides body measurements, this 3D scanner also captures color information, and thus, established itself for creating 3D figures.
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There is a niche field of forensics that deals specifically with crimes committed with firearms. Forensic ballistics, as this field is known, uses forensic techniques to analyze crimes perpetrated using firearms. The 3D scanner Alicona InfiniteFocus can be used for forensic ballistics. We made our way to Braunschweig to the company “a3Ds” to show how this can be done. By comparing 3Dscanned fired cartridges, we can match them to the rifles that fired them.
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A 3D scanner generates a point cloud. Each point in the point cloud is a measurement point that the 3D scanner has detected on the object’s surface. Each point has an XYZ value that determines its position in the coordinate system. In addition to the XYZ coordinates, certain point clouds can also store the color and light intensity of the measurement point. A direction vector can also be assigned to each point—this indicates the direction in which the point is oriented.
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We created a 3D-printed 3D zoetrope to show the blossoming process of a flower. A real lily was 3Dscanned at various stages of bloom. From these 3D scans, we created a 3D animation. From the 3D animation, we 3D printed 15 lilies and arranged them on a round plate. We illuminated the rotating plate with a strobe light to create the illusion of blossoming lilies.
Estimated reading
time: mins
A NURBS model consists of points connected by curves. A polygon mesh consists of thousands or millions of small triangles. CAD surface models are usually created using NURBS surfaces, while 3D scans are typically exported as a polygon mesh. The conversion from a polygon mesh to a NURBS model is called "reverse engineering".
Estimated reading
time: mins
The Artec Space Spider is a handheld 3D scanner. The cameras on the front look like spider eyes— hence the name "Spider". The 3D scanner is very light and works with blue-structured light. It was developed primarily for 3D scanning smaller objects of between 5 and 30 cm. The manufacturer states the accuracy of the 3D scanner to be within 0.1mm-0.05 mm. Currently, the Artec Space Spider lists for about 20,000 Euro (23,626 USD).
Estimated reading
time: mins
With the help of specialized 3D scanners, you can 3D-scan people and animals. This allows you to create 3D models that can be 3D-printed or used for 3D animation. We'll show you three different devices that make such 3D scans possible.

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