What Is 3D Point Cloud And How It Works In 3D Printing?

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New technology always improves the way things work in the first place. 3D printing is the latest addition to this list. It is a means of creating a three-dimensional object from a digital file by layering material under computer control. It can create objects ranging from intricate jewelry to tools, food dishes, and even big houses. 

3D Cloud printers are now being used everywhere and the impact they are having on this world is immeasurable. There’s no doubt that this technology will have an even greater impact in the future too, with endless possibilities floating in the environment every day.

3D printing has many different applications and can be used in many industries for various purposes. It can be used to create prototypes so that visualization and evaluation of product design take place long before any actual making or manufacturing process starts. This helps save people from spending time and money on creating products that will not actually meet market requirements. 

Another application can be found in big industries which use this technology for rapid prototyping purposes. The latest technology that is dominating people’s attention is the 3D Cloud Point

What Is A Point Cloud?

A point cloud is a collection of numerous data points in space. These data points may represent a solid object, shape, or model and each one has its own set of cartesian coordinates (X, Y, Z). They are utilized to represent the surface of an object and this does not contain data on any internal characteristics, color, material, etc. But several CAD applications use parametric, direct, or mesh-based modeling. 

Parametric modeling – Parametric modeling uses pre-set formulas and it is a common approach because it’s the most efficient way to create complicated shapes. This method starts from the beginning and ends after a final design is reached. 

Direct modeling – Direct modeling creates a solid starting point in order to add details as one goes along. It is similar to synchronous technology and it allows editing of features with real-time visualization. It is faster as compared to parametric modeling.

Mesh-based modeling is also called polygonal modeling and it uses predefined shapes that are combined with other information to create a complex model using polygons, usually a triangle. This is the most commonly used approach for solid modeling. 

These datasets are usually created by using 3D scanners or photogrammetry software that measure multiple points on the outer surfaces of objects around them. The output of scanning processes i.e. 3D Cloud points is used for various objectives, such as for creating CAD models for machined parts, for metrology and quality inspection, and for visualization, rendering, animation, and mass customization applications.

Alignment and Barriers

Point set registration is also known as point cloud registration and scan matching is a process in which point clouds are aligned with other points or objects. The accuracy of the outcome depends upon many factors, such as the type of survey equipment used, sensor noises, operator errors, and surface conditions.

There are some barriers that prevent efficient point cloud data creation and editing. For example, a few of these barriers are hardware limitations in terms of specifications (e.g. memory capacity), price, and size which impede the creation of high-resolution point clouds for a large project area. Software issues like point cloud drift over time due to error accumulation during the triangulation process can also be a problem if there’s no update mechanism in place.

Role Of Point Cloud In 3D Printing

Printers use 3D Cloud Points, which are basically a collection of vectors in space, to produce 3D models. These models are created by 3D scanners to capture the data into various formats so that they can be printed. The design of the object is saved and stored in a permanent way onto a computer’s hard disk and from where it can be accessed at any time. 

How Is A Point Cloud Created?

In order to create a 3D point cloud, a special sensor is required to scan and capture data about an object that needs to be printed. Once the data is captured, several processes are carried out in order to make the points more concise.

The sensor used for creating the point cloud may vary depending on the purpose of its use. The typical sensors used in a point cloud include:

3D scanners or digital cameras are used to capture raw images of an area which then converts them into data or vectors.

Common point cloud formats

Point clouds are created using various information. These formats are subject to change and some of them may alter over time. These formats may include: 

PTS: It is an open format for 3D point cloud data. These are maintained by standard organizations and thus anyone can use them. 

ASCII: It is a binary format that is used to store and exchange information. It only allows 7 bits of data per byte which lowers the resolution immensely.

PLY (Polygon Fly Format): A PLY file has several different sections to support different usage for the data. 

How Are Point Clouds Used In 3D Printing?

A point cloud is required to create a 3D model which in turn, becomes the data for the 3D printer. This data can be a single point that represents one feature of a particular shape like a single piece of an intricate part or model or an entire layer that would need to be deposited as one piece.

When creating the physical shape of objects, the resultant CAD data requires information on its parametric properties such as material density, length, and width of individual features, etc. For example – when printing plastic parts on 3D printers the material’s density needs to be mapped onto the parameter value in order to achieve optimal results.

The printer takes data at several different levels of detail depending on its application:

3D printers can create an object using only one stage, only the second stage, or all three stages, and so on. It can also use other types of materials such as metal and wood. The combination of materials is known as a model and this is then taken to a distributor for processing into a product that users can use or buy.

Endnote 

Cloud 3D Print is a reliable platform where you can get access to several necessary services such as online slicing to slice models made of 3D Cloud points, cloud monitoring, project management, etc.

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