3-d technology is growing at a rapid pace, so much so, that seemingly impossible things are becoming a reality of today. Whether it is about reconstructing a prosthetic nose in an accident victim or using latest 3-d scanning technology involving heat to replicate specular and transparent objects, the possibilities are amazing and limitless.

3-d printing the new rage

Imagine being able to create cool, customized objects from a mere CAD model rendition from your PC? Or consider being able to create a replacement part for your car from your computer! This is not science fiction but a reality made possible with 3-d printers. Modern 3-d printing technology has become so advanced yet affordable that now, it is possible for even small businesses to generate prototype models and life like models to test feasibility in the market. What?s more, these models are made of fine-grade plastic, which can be sculpted, cut or even painted to provide an entirely new look.

3-d scanning and latest trends

A 3-d scanner works by analyzing an object in the real world, understanding aspects like dimension, color, schematics etc. and then using this data to replicate the object through a 3-d model. The most common application of 3-d scanning technology happens to be in video games as well as in movies, where storyboard ideas are brought to life with these photorealistic representations in 3-d. In prosthetics, orthotics as well as industrial design too, such 3-d scanners and their technology are proving invaluable.

Depends on the object

The success or failure of any 3-d scanner will largely depend on the opaqueness or shine element of a substance. This is where modern 3-d scanners use thin layers comprising whitish powder to cover extremely transparent or shiny surfaces to facilitate more successful scanning. The lighter the object, the more light it will reflect and hence the better the scanned results will be.

New scanning trends

If you have a distorted casting mechanism in your manufacturing process, it could result in flawed products as well. Imagine if you could use laser 3-d scanners to pinpoint the exact nature of distortion in the cast, thereby saving you time and effort? This is possible with 3-d scanners as they help locate exact flaws in the cast itself. This mitigates future flaws in design of products as well as saves on the cost and time involved in manufacturing. Many of the modern 3-d scanners use intense heat to scan extremely transparent objects successfully. Since light does not reflect uniformly from such surfaces, heat is the best way to detect surface points and dimensions of such objects. What is amazing is that with 3-d scanning technology, you could even transform real world objects into 3-d computer models.

3-d modeling as an art

3-d modeling is an art form because you are essentially creating a framework for a new object from scratch. Most animation and computer graphics teams use 3-d modeling software on a consistent basis. You could either choose to use manual or automated 3-d modeling technology to create life like objects replicating real world items. Using such a technology, specific space points are marked with lines, rectangles, triangles etc. to create a support or framework for the finished model. These 3-d models can further be represented either through solid formats or through boundaries or shells. In the case of solid 3-d models, the entire object is seen just like the real life object. In the case of shell 3-d models, only the outer casing or shell is seen.

The future

As the line between reality and what you see on your computer gets blurred, clearly the future of 3-d technologies is brighter than ever before. Right from its usage in archaeology to trace back fossils or bone structures to the use of 3-d technology in prosthetics or complex surgeries, there are many more applications, which are yet unseen. It is probably just a matter of time before we see a child ?print? out their favorite snack from their PC and eat it!

By pauline