Outlined below in both a simplified and detailed description is our typical workflow.

Phase 1 - Data Acquisition

Phase 1 - Data Acquisition

Laser Scanning (Non-Contact)

Laser Scanning is the process of shining a structured laser line over the surface of an object in order to collect 3-dimensional data. The surface data is captured by a camera sensor mounted in the laser scanner which records accurate dense 3D points in space. Types of laser scanners include:

  • Portable CMM Arm-Based Scanning
  • 3D Laser Scanning Camera
  • Long-Range Laser Scanner
  • Conventional CMM-Based Scanning

Digitizing (Contact)

Digitizing is the process of taking point-by-point measurements of X, Y, and Z coordinates until enough data is captured to build geometric surfaces. There are 3 types of digitizing tools:

  • Portable CMM Arm-Based Scanning
  • Portable Laser Tracker
  • Conventional CMM

Phase 2 - Modeling

Phase 2 - Modeling

Reverse Engineering

Reverse Engineering is the process of measuring a part or object and then creating a CAD model of the part/object that reflects how it was to be designed originally. Reverse engineering formats include:

  • Hybrid
  • Surface
  • Solid
  • Design Intent

Digital Modeling

Digital modeling is the process of creating a computer model of an object using a 3D laser scanner that exactly replicates the form of the object. Digital models can be created in the following formats:

  • Polygonal
  • Rapid NURBS
  • Hybrid

Phase 3 - Downstream Applications

Phase 3 - Downstream Applications


After your part or object has been laser scanned and modeled you now have a digital "backup" of your part. This digital model will:

  • Protect you from accidental part loss
  • Provide you with a working "virtual" blueprint in order to rebuild or remanufacture
  • Give you the ability to start from a base model and create something new without having to start from scratch


Using your digital model you can make engineering and design changes of your part or object in a variety of ways:

  • Add or subtract design features to the existing part or object
  • Use as a base model to design a new part or object


Using our advanced laser scanning and reverse engineering tools and processes, Direct Dimensions can inspect and analyze your part or object in a variety of ways:

  • Compare a scanned part/object to a "nominal" or perfected model
  • Compare a scanned part/object to a 2D drawing
  • Compare a scanned part/object to another scanned part/object


After we have laser scanned or reverse engineered your part, or if you have provided us with a model, we have virtually limitless options for replicating that object. Replication can be used for:

  • Scaling
  • Restoration
  • Manufacturing Prototype
  • Products


Once a project has been completed by our engineers, we have the ability to deliver your model as part of a visualization or animation. You can also give us a completed model and we can make a visualization for you in a variety of formats:

  • Direct 3Dview
  • FaceScan
  • Animation
  • Rendering