3D scanning helps the Let’s Go Design team save time and effort

In the latest episode of Let’s Go Design Project 3, Jeremy Luchini gets some help from a SolidWorks reseller using a 3D scanner to scan a golf cart engine and transfer it directly into SolidWorks. This saved significant design time, by using an existing—and working—design to augment the new elements of the Hot Rod Baby Buggy.

Seeing that there's been some interest in the technology, I sat down with Jeremy to discuss his use of 3D scanning in the episode, what the future holds for this newest 3D technology, and how it helped to streamline design of the Hot Rod Baby Buggy.

So, why did you use 3D scanning in this episode?
3D scanning was an easy way to leverage an existing, working design without reinventing it in SolidWorks. Using the scanner saved us a significant amount of design time, and meant that we could really concentrate on new elements.


How long do you think it will be before 3D scanning becomes a mainstream design tool?
Similar to 3D printers, the technology is still expensive and complex, which is keeping it confined to the professional field for now (there's a reason I got a trained pro to come in and help out instead of buying my own). I think it'll be a while before this becomes a common engineering design tool, and longer until it's considered mainstream technology. But I think the technology will eventually trickle down to the DIY designer. In fact, I remember seeing where our friend Ben Eadie built a scanner himself using the laser from a $25 laser level and some free software. 


Do you think that the growing use of 3D printing is prompting designers to think about other tools?
3D printing has really been groundbreaking when it comes to immediately seeing design results—there’s no need for a time-consuming prototype, and you still have something to hold in your hands. It’s the next step after simulation, and helps make designs more real. The interest in 3D printing (and existing acceptance of 3D design) makes the concept of 3D scanning a little more understandable. Designers can now take advantage of existing designs, building around them or improving them without changing something that's already been proven to work.


Stay tuned for the next episode of Let’s Go Design Project 3, coming later this summer. In the meantime, give us a shout in the comments, on Twitter or on Facebook with all of your 3D questions!

Matthew West

SolidWorks alumnus. I like plate reverb, Rat pedals, Thai curry, New Weird fiction, my kids, Vespas, Jazzmasters, my wife & Raiders of the Lost Ark. Not necessarily in that order.