3D imaging overview

3D imaging is a process of creating the illusion of depth in an image, a process that can be traced back to the early 1500’s in Leonardo Da Vinci’s work. In regards to industrial applications, technological advancements and specialized inspection techniques have allowed users to obtain accurate and timeless 3D data on objects, by providing a 3D image for testing purposes.

What is 3D imaging?

3D imaging is a technique to develop or create the illusion of depth in an image. 3D imaging has become a very useful factor for industrial applications to assist in quality control processes.3D imaging is the process of manipulating 2D data into three dimensional format, creating the illusion of depth. Many different technologies are able to assist with this process, in order to develop a 3D rendering for inspection and testing purposes.

Common types of industrial 3D imaging

3D Structured Light – Structured light is the process of using a focused white or colored light which is then picked up by a specialized camera and read into a program to capture external features of an object which is then turned into a polygon based surface.

3D laser imaging – also known as 3D laser scanning, 3D laser imaging is the process of capturing data using laser beams which are exposed to the surface of an object. The captured data develops a 3D rendering with the assistance of a software.

CT imaging – Computed Tomography (CT) imaging is a radiographic testing technique, utilizing an x-ray source to penetrate through materials and capturing 2D x-ray tomography slices at pre-determined increments for an object that is rotating 360 degrees. As the object rotates and 2D x-ray images are captured, a specialized software is used to reconstruct the 2D images and develop a 3D rendering of the object, which is available for further internal and external part analysis.

3D x-ray imaging – 3D x-ray is the process of capturing 2D x-ray images from different angles of an object, which can be used to reconstruct and create the illusion of depth. For the purpose of 3D x-ray, these 2D x-ray images are viewed and analyzed independently to focus on certain areas of an object.

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3D imaging has multiple uses for industrial applications, regardless of industry and type of part being inspected. The purpose of a 3D image is to provide users with a realistic replica of the object for quality control purposes. Some of the most common applications for 3D imaging across the aerospace, automotive and medical device industry include:


3D imaging allows users to replicate and analyze parts and objects in full 3D form. This opens up limitless opportunities for quality control measures and allows for an exceptional outlet for visualizing the object in digital form. The most common benefits 3D imaging offers include:

  • Nondestructive 3D imaging techniques
  • Fast and accurate part results
  • Availability for extensive analysis
  • Ensure part consistency and reliability
  • Allows perspective on quality control


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