CATIA From Scan to 3D Print

Scanning objects and reproducing them into point clouds allows manufacturers and designers to duplicate, edit and refine just about anything.  With today’s advanced 3D printing technology, we can even bring it full circle and create these edited parts and assemblies in the real world.  However, there are still many issues with this process that make it very time consuming.  To tackle these challenges, CATIA brings in multiple integrated capabilities, boasting a time reduction of 30-80%.

The first time consuming issue lies in the conversion time from the initial point cloud to having a ready to be manufactured part.  CATIA can now create a model directly from a part scan, cutting out this conversion time completely.  Another capability includes combining surface design and solid design to quickly recreate the model.

Deformations occur whenever you manufacture an object from a model.  To create an exact replica of a scanned part, you must take these into account, otherwise the part will never come out as intended.  To overcome this, a trained engineer must manually edit the model, greatly increasing the tooling design time.  CATIA uses finite analysis software to predict these deformations and morph the scanned object to properly compensate quickly and effectively.  This process which usually takes weeks, can be reduced to less then a day, ensuring high quality results as well as reducing tooling costs by up to 50%!

Finally, when designing a product, engineers have to take into account performance requirement like strength and stiffness vs. size and weight.  To solve this dilemma, CATIA uses SIMULIA Tosca to optimizes part topology.  This results in an organic shape which can be produced using 3D printing, providing many options that are not possible due to limitations with conventional manufacturing.  Without extra capabilities, it can take days or even weeks to reproduce these CAD models from topology optimization.  Luckily, CATIA offers multiple applications which greatly decrease this time including CATIA Imagine and Shape.  On average, these applications allow for this process to occur 10X faster.