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Smartphone 3D scanning Apps

3D Modeling & CAD for Motorsport

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Discussion and questions related to the course 3D Modelling & CAD for Motorsport.

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Using 3D scans for reference when designing parts to fit your vehicle is a game-changer.

At HPA we use them all the time to help us design custom parts for our project cars that fit perfectly, look good, and of course work how they are supposed to.

Sometimes we'll get a scan taken for us on a commercial-grade scanner, but we are starting to use our smartphones for the job more regularly and getting some solid results.

In the course and day-to-day I used the Trnio app on my iPhone 11. Using the ARKIT mode inside the app it's easy to take the scan, check over it, let it process, and then send it to the computer where I can bring it straight into Fusion360.

The App cost about $5.00, so well worth it.

However, Trnio was only available for Apple iOS. Since its demise, I have started testing some new options including RealityScan, but I don't have much to report yet on it myself and will update this post when I do.

I haven't had any experience with mobile 3D scanning apps outside of this so I was hoping to get your help starting a list for Apple, Android, and other operating systems.

Please share anything you've used, good or bad, and let us know how it went.

Some good places to start:

Android & iOS

RealityScan

Widar

Polycam

Android Only

Scann3d

iOS Only

Trnio - NOTE: Trnio is no longer available as of mid-2023. Left here for reference as it is mentioned in various posts etc.

I tried Polycam (photoscan) on a Google Pixel 3a to scan a headlight bucket (black faded plastic), surface was all over the place and it was unusable, and I just couldn't be bothered mucking around with it as it didn't seem like it would get that much better.

LIDAR, seems to be the only way to go for good quality.

I'm going to continue waiting for commercial ones to come down in price (sub $1000nz) as I don't want to get into the apple eco system.

This video has some good comparisons on the cheaper end of the market.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mYplfztpmxU

Awesome thank you for the reference. I was looking at buying one as they are getting cheaper and cheaper but it's just to scan engine bay sections to quickly get clearances into Fusion 360 and make parts that clear. I'll give the iphone app a go tomorrow in my workshop and post results.

I've had some very usable results without Lidar, but of course, it would be better to have it.

Ben, if the black faded plastic has a matte finish it should scan pretty well. Usually, it's just glossy black and translucent surfaces that can be a problem.

Although, the issue could be the lack of texture/detail with smooth edges.

If you don't have the 3D scanning marker dot stickers a good alternative is small ripped pieces of masking tape.

This just gives the scanner nice reference points to track.

Could be worth a try?

I think you probably could make it work, you would need good lighting, backdrop, dots etc. But it was all a lot more work then I wanted to put in at the time.

It's a tradeoff between all that effort up front, vs effort on the backend tidying it all up to make it usable, lidar certainly removes a lot of that work.

Always should ask yourself is it just easier to measure and put straight into CAD?, going to depend on what your scanning and why your scanning it.

For me wasn't a critical thing so I moved on and happy to wait for something simpler to use.

Just a quick update, the Trnio app is no longer available.

We will do some deeper testing when we begin the dedicated 3D scanning course, but in the meantime as an addition to other alternatives already listed, RealityScan looks like a potential alternative when it comes to scan quality, however, it has a less refined workflow comparatively and reviews do frequently point this out.

As always with these things, give some different options a crack and decide for yourself what you personally prefer 😎

How do we take a scan from reality scan and put it into Fusion360? Been trying for a bit now and can't seem to get it

Just had a play with reality to see how it works. basic steps:

1 - finish the scan and publish to sketchfab (enter the scan and click the upload icon in the top right corner)

2 - go to sketchfab website on your computer using the same account details you created on your phone when uploading the scan, you'll see the scan there.

3 - Select "download 3D model" and the .FBX format

4 - Unzip the file, and upload it to fusion 360, then open it from there. You won't be able to "insert mesh" with a .fbx file, so you could open it and save it as an OBJ or something to make it easier to use.

Hope this helps

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