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How 3D Scanning has Revolutionised CAD Design | Trevilla Engineering

How 3D Scanning has Revolutionised CAD Design

Engineers use 3D modelling to create realistic computer models of components and assemblies. These models can then be 3D printed, CNC machined, and used to execute complex engineering simulations. This type of 3D modelling is known as CAD (Computer Aided Design) and the process has evolved significantly since the invention of 3D scanning. 

The use of graphical symbols such as points, lines, curves, planes, and surfaces are common in engineering designs and drawings. They combine to provide a full description (graphical representation) of every single component in a machine assembly and 3D scanning has the advantage of data accuracy to 0.03mm.

In this article, we’ll be talking about CAD modelling and how 3D scanning has revolutionised CAD design.

What is CAD modelling?

CAD is computer software used by Engineers to help them with engineering designs. Machine design, bridge construction, office building design, and film animation are just some examples of projects that require CAD. 

Engineers can design a 3D model, apply material grades, and record the design with dimensions and annotations using 2D or 3D CAD modelling programs. They can also replicate physical elements by using tools such as 3D Scanning to provide real-life context to design. This procedure is known as Reverse Engineering.

Reverse Engineering is the process of replicating a component using measurements collected by scanning the object. Generally, other procedures and tools can be used to measure the components, but 3D scanning with non-contact scanners is currently the best and most effective technique for geometrical surveys of objects or components.

Benefits of CAD modelling

Nowadays, many engineering professionals and organisations utilise CAD software on a large scale for a variety of applications. There are numerous benefits to using CAD software. 

Using integrated CAD software systems helps product development companies achieve their objectives more quickly and effectively. When utilising CAD modelling systems, product development time, quality, and productivity will all improve, resulting in lower manufacturing and product costs. 

Here are some of the benefits of using CAD systems and why the Engineers at Trevilla Engineering like working with 3D CAD. 

Reduces product development time

There is a lot of competition in the current era of engineering and product development. The amount of time and resources it takes to bring a product to market can make or break its success. Time is your most valuable asset and CAD saves our Engineers a lot of time, which they may put to better use on other projects or improving the design of the current one.

Improves design quality and accuracy

Manual drawings will never achieve the level of accuracy that CAD software provides. This is because in CAD modelling software, you have the tools to assess and improve the designs’ quality and accuracy. Also, complex surfaces and shapes are extremely difficult to achieve with manual sketching. 

Increases productivity

Before the advent of CAD modelling, Engineers had to draw everything by hand. They would have to manually redraw the entire design if they wanted to change anything about it. Now, 3D CAD can animate a product so that the designer can see how the final product will work and make any necessary changes. 

Engineers are able to use CAD software to synthesise, analyse, and document their designs. Now, they can easily visualise their designs and test them against real-world conditions using CAD software.

All of these elements contribute to skyrocketing productivity and cheaper design costs due to faster design and shorter project completion timeframes.

Better communication and quick sharing

A designer’s ability to communicate their vision through drawings can be a challenge. Paper and pencil drawings are often unclear, and team members with no solid background in industrial design or engineering struggle to understand them.

CAD drawings are standardised, clear and well organised. They are simple to read and can even be used by other departments, such as marketing and sales. CAD designs are impressive to look at and can be used to illustrate a design’s aesthetics and functionality without having to invest in a prototype. This makes it simple to show, share and effectively communicate work and attract potential investors.

3D scanning to CAD, what are the possibilities?

Our Engineers use 3D scanners to analyse an object in the real world and gather all of the data necessary to digitally replicate it. Our Reverse Engineers have been able to replace traditional methods of inspection with precise and reliable non-contact scanning techniques. 

Our state-of-the-art 3D scanners can generate high-resolution 3D data from virtually any object in any environment. Data accuracy is improved and the processes involved in applications such as Reverse Engineering, CAD, 3D scanning, modelling, inspection and analysis are simplified.

How do the 3D scanners work?

3D scanning is a non-contact, non-destructive technology that uses a series of lines of laser light to digitally capture the geometry of physical objects. From the surface of an object, 3D scanners create “point clouds” or ‘mesh’ of data.

3D scanners have revolutionised the design world by making it possible to convert a physical object into a digital 3D model. The resulting 3D model can then be used as a foundation for the 3D project, but it can also be used to reconstruct, analyse, or simulate ideas.

The 3D laser scanning process begins with acquiring accurate 3D data from a physical object to create point cloud (or mesh) data files. After placing the object on the digitiser’s bed, two sensor cameras are continuously used to capture the changing distance and shape of the laser line in three dimensions (XYZ) as it sweeps around the object. The captured 3D data will then be used to create a massive point cloud data file which will be recorded and integrated into a single three-dimensional representation of the object. This is then post-processed with software packages for 3D modelling applications. The point cloud data is finally utilised to construct a 3D CAD model of the part. The CAD model allows for precise reproduction of the scanned object, as well as the modification of the object to fix any flaws.


In various activities, such as digital production and rebuilding, and optimisation of production plants in the Engineering industry, the use of 3D CAD models is becoming increasingly important. The demand to reconstruct high quality CAD models from 3D scanning data via reverse engineering procedures is increasing. Hence,  there is a need to focus attention on the deployment of the latest 3D scanning technologies rather than the most outdated alternatives.

At Trevilla Engineering, our latest 3D Scanning equipment allows our Engineers to deploy the precise and reliable non-contact scanning technologies in Reverse Engineering. We have had great success putting the scanners to work on a variety of projects including automotive components, piping design,  mining equipment, refinery sites,  and many more.

Contact us today and let our 3D CAD Engineers bring your design ideas to life.