By John Hitch, New Equipment Digest
Every industrial design group is always on the lookout for the best new 3D printer, one that's faster and more accurate than ever before. The faster you fabricate a new prototype the faster the suits can tell you to push to production or get your butts back to the digital drawing board.
Sure, shaving off some print time is never a bad thing, but for a much smaller investment than a new industrial 3D printer, you can upgrade your 3D scanning capabilities. An hour saved is an hour saved, after all.
With Artec Studio 12 Professional, released in May for use with Artec 3D scanners, that's exactly what one Bay Area 3D printing and rapid prototyping company, Honeypoint3D, found out after just month of using it.
Formerly a boutique custom 3D print shop in a high end shopping district, the business pivoted after the explosion in rapid prototyping demand. It now specializes in making CAD models for customers, along with offering online classes to teach people how to create professional 3D scans. Charging by the hour, the company's revenue completely relies on how fast the technician can complete a scan.
"Hobbyist can spend as much time as they want on waiting for things to happen," explains co-founder Nick Kloski. "But I need throughput right now, because I'm running a business. If things are slow, I'm losing money."
With massive jumps in global registration and texture mapping, and the added feature of automated sensitivity control, Artec 12 allows even novice users to get an optimal scan. For professionals, the impact is much more significant.
Kloski estimates it's three to four times faster, and also allows for a more natural motion while using a portable scanner such as Eva. Usability has also been simplified for scanning large objects such as cars by automating sensitivity. If you're walking around a car, the software changes form low sensitivity for a car door, and increases for more detailed parts such as the undercarriage.
"That is the ultimate goal of all software," Kloski says. "To understand what you're doing and help you without having you help yourself."
Technically speaking, some features are even faster than Kloski estimates. The global registration, which compares the different points to make the mesh, is up to 20 times faster than Studio 11. The texture mapping is up to 10 times faster.
To read more from John Hitch, check out our sister publication New Equipment Digest.