Restoring Data and Correcting Defective Parts with 3D Scanning

Utilized for designing, planning and documenting 3D projects, CAD or computer-aided design, plays an instrumental role in both 3D printing and 3D scanning processes. More specifically, Capture™ a powerful, integrated, industrial-grade 3D scanner and software system, enables us to scan parts without files or faulty dimensions to recover design data and correct manufacturing errors with CAD.

3D scanned mold. Original CAD files did not accompany the mold

Recently, a mold needed to be repaired to a point where the parts made on it would be acceptable for an end-use application for customers. Miller 3D was asked to help with an application that included a two part injection mold, each about 18” x 18”, but a few challenges were presented to Miller 3D  while working on this project.

The first problem was the mold was manufactured by a different company and the second was the absence of CAD models or technical drawings for the molds.

When ‘blueprints’ and supporting files are nowhere to be found, this can create a big problem, however, Miller 3D was given the opportunity to use Capture™ to restore dimensional data and make the accurate corrections to the defective molds.

Pat Harrington, an engineer at Miller 3D explains how the molds were prepared for 3D scanning, “We sprayed the mold with a light white powder spray so that our blue light scanner can capture the data points of the complex surface geometry.”

With a data capture rate of 985,000 points/scan and 0.3 sec per scan, Capture™ produces accurate scans to as little as .034 mm — an impressive, precise 3D inspection process completed by the portable device.

“We took multiple scans of the entire mold and meshed them all together into a final 3D CAD  model,” says Harrington.

Detailed view from the 3D scanned file.

Included in multiple scans are automated solid and surface extractions that are featured in PDF reports for engineering teams to analyze for adjustments and corrections. 3D printing garners most of the spotlight, but 3D scanning has the ability to solve application errors, and in return, reduce manufacturing errors, and allow our industry to design from the world around us.

Harrington highlights the importance of the new CAD model generated by Capture™, “This CAD model can be used to help diagnose the issues with the mold in its current state, as well as used as a template for design changes to the mold.”

Want to talk more about 3D manufacturing? Miller 3D will be attending the Rapid + TCT 3D Event in Pittsburgh from May 9-11 at booth 911. For more information please visit