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3D Scan to CAD

3D Scan to CAD
Mastering the challenges of reverse engineering in a 3D scan to CAD workflow

A 3D scan to CAD workflow supports engineers in mastering the challenges of reverse engineering, like improving or recreating an already existing object for which no design documentation is available. After 3D scanning an object for reverse engineering, the file can be directly imported into the 3D CAD software using formats such as STL or OBJ.

However, it is important to note: 3D scanners don’t output a ready-to-manufacture model but point cloud or polygon mesh data. As a result, the 3D scanned data must be further modeled in a CAD software. The 3D scan to CAD workflow is more than “just pressing a button” and the skills of highly-qualified engineers are required for reverse engineering.

Continuous technology improvements minimize the manual work the design engineer needs to invest to produce high-quality 3D CAD models used for traditional manufacturing or 3D printing. Today, the 3D CAD software that is used as part of a 3D scan to CAD workflow imports the scanned data as facets, so there's no need to map surfaces, create solids, or do any other manual shape creation.

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3D Scan to CAD
Mastering the challenges of reverse engineering in a 3D scan to CAD workflow

3D Scan to CAD

Easy scan to CAD workflow for reverse engineering

NX Scan to Part

NX Cloud Connected-Scan to Part comes as a cloud application and allows you to combine facets, surfaces, and solids in a single 3D model, without requiring data translation. The targeted features of NX Cloud Connected-Scan to Part enable you to focus on your Scan to CAD workflows.

3D Scanning

3D Mesh from a Laser Scanner

3D Mesh from a 3D Scanner

3D scanners are equipped to scan objects of all shape and sizes. Specialized sensors scan the object from multiple angles and convert the object into a 3D mesh.

There are several 3D scanning technologies:

  • Structured light 3D scanning 
  • Laser triangulation 3D scanning 
  • Laser pulse 3D scanning 
  • Contact-based 3D scanning 
  • Photogrammetry 

3D Mesh from a 3D Scanner

3D scanners are equipped to scan objects of all shape and sizes. Specialized sensors scan the object from multiple angles and convert the object into a 3D mesh.

There are several 3D scanning technologies:

  • Structured light 3D scanning 
  • Laser triangulation 3D scanning 
  • Laser pulse 3D scanning 
  • Contact-based 3D scanning 
  • Photogrammetry 

Modeling 3D scanned data

Modeling 3D scanned cad data

Quality control as part of the design process

To meet the increasing demand for digitizing high-quality designs and CAD models, 3D scan to CAD is critical for getting products to market faster and without flaws. As quality requirements and processes evolve to be more complex, modeling of scanned parts becomes more of a challenge.



A 3D scan shows an accurate representation of the real object, including defects. As part of the 3D modeling process, the scanned part gets inspected and a color deviation map can be generated to detect warps or missing pieces.



In addition, a 3D CAD software for reverse engineering allows you to compare whether different scanned parts have the right dimensions or you can compare the adjustments of two similar machines to determine whether there are differences in the alignment to correct.

Quality control as part of the design process

To meet the increasing demand for digitizing high-quality designs and CAD models, 3D scan to CAD is critical for getting products to market faster and without flaws. As quality requirements and processes evolve to be more complex, modeling of scanned parts becomes more of a challenge.



A 3D scan shows an accurate representation of the real object, including defects. As part of the 3D modeling process, the scanned part gets inspected and a color deviation map can be generated to detect warps or missing pieces.



In addition, a 3D CAD software for reverse engineering allows you to compare whether different scanned parts have the right dimensions or you can compare the adjustments of two similar machines to determine whether there are differences in the alignment to correct.

Rapidly Create CAD Models from Physical Objects

Reverse Engineering

Reverse Engineering

Reverse Engineering is made up of powerful features that allow you to build a custom solution. NX allows you to bring the scanned data in as facets, so there's no need to map surfaces, create solids, or do any other manual shape creation.