Top 9 FAQs about 3D Laser Scanning

So what is 3D laser scanning and how does it work? We have a quick guide on 3D laser scanning and our services provided in our previous posts but this time, we have compiled a list of top 9 frequently asked questions (FAQs) by our clients over the years. In this post, we will answer them in layman terms, you will be an expert in no time too!

1. How does a 3D Laser Scanner work?

3D laser scanning is a process involving the use of high speed lasers that emit at incredibly high speed. The 2 different types of scanners that are commonly used: Phase-shift and Time-of-Flight.

Phased-shift scanner - The principle of a phase-shift scanner involves the emission of a light ray at a specific frequency, and the recording of the reflection of this wave, which will be “shifted” or “displaced” by its impact on a reflective surface. The displacement of the reflected wave allows the precise calculation of the distance between the point of impact and the scanner.

+ Faster, higher point capture

Time-of-Flight - A pulse of light is projected onto an object and the reflection is captured. With speed of light being the constant, the distance of the object can be calculated based on the time taken for the laser pulse to reach the object and back into an adjacent high speed camera.

+ Longer range

2. Why do I need 3D Laser Scanning services?


There are many applications for 3D Laser Scanning, but the main idea is to digitise a facility. There are numerous outputs that 3D Laser Scanning can produce; most commonly 3D models and 2D AutoCAD Drawings.

3. What is the best 3D Laser Scanner?

There are plenty of 3D Laser Scanners in the market. Each scanner has its strengths and weaknesses for different applications. Based on our expertise and experience, our team of engineers will choose the most suitable scanner based on speed, range, accuracy etc. for various jobs. 

4. Can I view the various outputs by the 3D Laser Scanner if I have a potato computer?

Although there are countless software in the market, we can tailor our outputs to suit the clients' requests. Typically, we recommend the following:

AutoCAD – Autodesk’s flagship CAD program, which can be used for 2D and 3D.

Revit – Autodesk’s flagship 3D modeling program.

ReCap – Autodesk’s point cloud viewer is free and a very good way to view the point clouds (raw data obtained from the 3D Laser Scanner) and make precise measurements.

5. How accurate are the measurements?

The accuracy of the scans depends on the 3D Laser Scanner used. As a rule of thumb, the closer and more scans taken, the more accurate the result. Generally, scans are between 1 to 6mm in accuracy.

6. How long does it take and how much does it cost to scan my facility?

To obtain a decent data, each scan positions would take approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Depending on the size, level of details, accuracy required, outputs requested etc. we are able to provide detailed quotes or ballpark figures.

7. Can the 3D Laser Scanner pass through walls?

No, the wavelength of the laser lies within the visible spectrum – this means that it is only possible to measure what the human eye can see. Likewise, the laser cannot measure effectively through water, highly reflective surfaces or smoke, as the laser beam will be subject to light diffraction as it passes through these mediums.

8. Is it possible to scan an area in complete darkness?

Yes, the laser emitted by the 3D Laser Scanners are not affected by either darkness or daylight. As a result, there will be no problem in scanning caves, tunnels, buildings without lighting in night time, provided they are accessible.

9. Is the laser from the 3D Laser Scanner hazardous to human?

Although a laser will always pose a potential hazard to the retina, the use of scanners in practice and their speed of measurement are such that this risk is virtually non-existent.

**Disclaimer - The information provided in this post is true to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. If in doubt, please consult us for more detailed clarifications.