3D Modeling 3D modeling refers to the creation of three-dimensional objects that are defined mathematically and geometrically (i.e. a circle extruded to a certain value to create a cylinder defined by its location, radius and length). 3D modeling can be aided by the use of scan data (see Reverse Engineering).
3D Scanner 3D scanners come in many forms, but the purpose of every one of them is to capture the shape, and sometimes color, of real-world physical objects or environments. This captured data is typically stored as a list of xyz-coordinates in a point cloud file. 3D scanners can be categorized as contact (CMM arms) or non-contact (white light, 3D laser scanners, or stereo-vision based). Some can even capture internal features. "3D scanner" is sometimes mispelled as "3D scaner".
3D Scanning 3D scanning is the fast and accurate process of using a 3D scanner to capture and convert physical objects into digital 3D data.
Accuracy The accuracy is the closeness of a measurement to the actual feature. The opposite of accuracy is uncertainty, which is an inverse perspective of the same value. See Uncertainty.
Alignment The process of aligning two objects in a common coordinate system. Commonly refers to aligning scan data to reference objects in inspection applications
As-Built An object's real-world condition and appearance.
As-Designed How the object was originally designed, usually in a CAD environment.
CAD Computer Aided Design. CAD is a standard term defining a group of software that aides in design. CAD software is what is used for 3D modeling and to create 2D drawings. It is typically used in manufacturing or other engineering disciplines. For example: An engineer designs in SolidWorks, Pro-E, AutoCAD, CATIA, or Unigraphics; all of which are CAD or CAE programs. Often confused with CAE.
CAI Computer Aided Inspection. CAI is a set of technologies that convert designs into data used to run the inspection process.
CAM Computer Aided Manufacturing. CAM is a set of technologies that convert designs into data used to run the manufacturing process.
CAQ Computer Aided Quality Assurance / Inspection / Control. See CAI
Color Map A color plot visually representing deviations from actual to theoretical. Example: A customer requests a colormap inspection when needing to compare an as-built object to its as-designed CAD data.
Datum A certain feature such as a point, line, plane, cylinder, etc. that can be used to establish the location or geometric relationship of another feature.
Degrees of Freedom Describes the numbers of directions of movement and refers to how the position and orientation of an object is described relative to a coordinate system. In 3D scanning it usually consists of three linear translations (X, Y, and Z) and three rotations about the three axes (pitch, yaw, and roll).
Deviation As typically applied to 3D scanning, deviation refers to the difference in the size and shape of a manufactured part versus its design specifications. Deviation is easily discovered by quality inspection with the use of color maps and cross-sectional analysis found in CAI applications.
Digital Archiving Storing data digitally. Objects can be scanned and processed for digital archiving purposes, reducing the need to store physical parts in locations such as a warehouse.
Fillet A surface that connects two or more faces. This surface is usually an arc.
Geometric Dimensioning &    Tolerancing (GD&T) Geometric Dimensioning and Tolerancing is a standard used to define the nominal geometry of parts and assemblies, to define the allowable variation in form and possibly size of individual features, and to define the allowable variation between features.
IGES Initial Graphics Exchange Specification / System is a standard mathematical surface file, used for over 25 years in most CAD systems to mathematically represent physical data. It is the most common format for exchanging CAD data between software programs. See also STEP
Legacy Part A part that is already created or existent in the customer environment. As typically applied to 3D scanning, legacy parts usually do not have CAD data.
NURBS Non Uniform Rational Basis, or Bézier Spline. It is a mathematical model commonly used for generating and representing curves and surfaces that cannot be decimated in a uniform manner. It can also be a surface created by two or more b-splines. First developed mid-century but didn't arrive on the desktop until 1989.
Performance Surfaces Surfaces that are affected by certain aerodynamic and hydrodynamic forces. The shape of these surfaces is usually key to the performance of the object.
Photogrammetry The process of taking precise measurements by using digital pictures and coded targets. For 3D scanning purposes, the coded targets and reference markers in the picture frame serve as anchor points where scans can be aligned to. Photogrammetry ensures extremely accurate scan data. Also see Videogrammetry.
Precision The repeatability of performing a measurement.
Poly-mesh A polygonal model that is used in 3D computer graphics. A mesh is a visualization of point cloud data that basically connects the dots to form triangles. See also STL.
Quality Inspection The process of evaluating a physical part and comparing it to the design specifications that are described in the object's CAD file. Inspection is an "as built" vs "as designed" comparison. See also Deviation.
Reference Markers Adhesive backed retro-reflective dots used in 3D scanning applications to create reference points and help align pieces of scan data. Some scanners, such as the Handyscan 3D, use reference markers to position themselves in space, eliminating the need for attachment to a CMM arm or a fixed focal length.
Registration The process of aligning two data sets together based on known coordinates in each. Registration enables the alignment and integration of two of more point cloud data sets to complete larger models that must be captured in multiple scans.
Rendering A graphical representation of a computer model. It is often used to describe the visual output of CAD and Modeling software. By rendering a computer model, you can often add characteristics and effects to its surfaces and features.
Resolution The spacing of points in a grid. The higher the resolution, the more data that will be captured. Likewise, the lower the resolution, the "flatter" the detail.
Reverse Engineering Reverse engineering broadly refers to analyzing and dissecting something with the goal of recreating it. In 3D scanning, reverse engineering typically means the process of measuring an object using a 3D scanner and then creating CAD data that reflects its original design intent. This can also be done by using rulers, calipers, or a CMM. Reverse engineering is sometimes referred to as Reverse Modeling.
Scan Measuring the part, capturing data, and transferring the measured points to the computer. It also refers to the computer file that is based on the physical part, i.e., xyz coordinates that represent physical measurements taken by the scanner. Shell - A particular operation for CAD. In 3D scanning, involves the creation of an offset surface from the original surface in order to create thickness.
Shrink Wrap Surface    Model Refers to the way in which 3D scanning software like Geomagic, RapidForm, and Paraform fit mathematical IGES surfaces to a "physical" scan. Similar to how plastic shrinkwrap "shrinks" down onto a part being "wrapped".
Stereo Vision A method of capturing three dimensional data based only on cameras. An algorithm of stereo vision involves receiving inputs from two or more different cameras oriented at different angles and analyzing the differences between the images to obtain 3D information. This 3D information is easily read as a 3D point cloud.
Surface Refers to the part being scanned or to the computer file from the scanner. It typically means a computer file in IGES format. See also IGES.
Surfacing The process of defining or creating a surface on a CAD model. Typically refers to converting a polygonal representation of an object to a NURBS or other mathematical representation. It is the process of converting physical based 3D data to mathematical based 3D data. See also Auto Surfacing and Reverse Engineering
Tessellation Generally refers to filling a surface plane or surface with shapes that create no gaps or holes. In 3D scanning, this concept applies to wrapping a mesh around a CAD body. A jigsaw puzzle is a great real world example of a collection of tessellated shapes.
Touch Probe A Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) that requires physical contact with the part to measure it.
Triangulation Using trigonometric functions to calculate measurements, used in certain types of 3D laser scanners to determine point locations based on transmission and reflection positions of the laser beam. In 3D modeling, triangulation also refers to the generation of triangles out of point cloud data in creating 3D surfaces.
Uncertainty The uncertainty is the quantity of how much a measurement is unknown compared to the actual feature. Uncertainty is the inverse perspective of accuracy, which is defined as the closeness of a measurement to the actual feature. The uncertainty essentially describes how much of a measurement is uncertain. See Accuracy.
Videogrammetry The process of taking precise measurements by using video images taken from two or more video cameras taken at different angles.
White Light Scanning    (Interferometry) Optical non-contact method for measuring physical parts. White light scanners obtain measurements of an object by determining changes in the fringe and distortion of a pattern of white light projected on an object.
Conceptualized and Designed by Lucid Mediascape