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When and why should I use spray powder for 3D scanning?

When and why should I use spray powder for 3D scanning?

At last, a spray powder you don’t need to clean up!

We’re going to let you in on a well-kept secret: regardless of what anybody says, using a coat of spray powder on an object for 3D scanning will always help the process; it’s not always necessary, but it an ideal part of the process. A matte white surface allows for ultimate light detection and leads to optimal, quality 3D scan results. This is especially useful if you are trying to scan clear material, pitch-black objects or shiny metal parts.

Here is an example of a highly challenging object scanned with a peel 2—with and without spray powder:

Part scanned directly, without spraypowder.

Part scanned directly, without spraypowder.

Same part scanned with a coat of spray powder.

Same part scanned with a coat of spray powder.

Actual part for reference

Actual part for reference.

As shown, the difference is staggering and makes a huge difference on how usable the 3D scanning data is.

Convinced? If so, you might now be wondering what options you have.

Vanishing sprays:

These sprays are made of a fine powder that sublimates over time; it stays on for a few hours and progressively disappears to leave the part as clean as it was at the start. This is indeed as neat as it sounds.

We have tested two sprays: Cyclododecane Spray and AESUB Vanishing 3D Scanning Spray

Both options work equally well and create a highly suitable matte white coat over the surface. The Cyclododecane Spray tends to be a lumpier, somewhat like a thicker, slightly bumpier coat of frost on your object. The AESUB Spray was very uniform, easy to apply and therefore our favorite.

You can see the magic in action here.

Semi-permanent options:

Of course, one of the inconveniences of using a vanishing powder is that it will eventually vanish! If you wish to leave it on for a while so you can scan over a few days for example, you should go for a longer lasting option; in any case, you can always wash it off later.

Our favorite option is Magnaflux SKD-S2, easy to apply it spready evenly on the part and leaved a perfectly uniform layer of white powder. Overall this is the best option if you don’t mind cleaning the part up afterwards; it’s also cheaper.

Permanent options:

Another alternative that works very well is simply to use primer; white or grey will work best. Of course, primer is meant to stay on whatever surface you apply it to so there’s no cleaning with option. It should still be a consideration that depends on the situation as it is a mess-free solution and the cheapest option.
Armed with these solutions, you should be able to turn about any challenging material into a true 3D scanning work of art.