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Vietnam makes low-cost 3D scanner

The National Key Lab of Digital Control and System Engineering (DCSELAB) of the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology has recently produced a 3D scanner with a lower cost and more efficient features compared with imported machines.

“3D scanner systems have been used all over the world. The use of 3D scanner systems has helped save manufacturing costs and enhance production, but such a machine is often very expensive,” Phan Huynh Lam, head of the team that researched to create the device, said.

Vietnam makes low-cost 3D scanner
Vietnam makes low-cost 3D scanner

“Currently, scanners and software equipment are mainly imported from other countries, so we need to have our product to control the technology and cut down the cost. DCSELAB’s 3D Scanner is supposed to be Vietnam’s first localized tool,” he added.

The hard part of the product is equipped with a rotation axis and translational axis with a camera and line-shaped laser to cut the object into thin slices when scanning.

The machine’s processing system is controlled by a combination of applications such as a program to control translational and rotational movement, another to read data from a camera, sensor signals to output 2D slices, the software to combine the slices and display them as 3D ones, etc.

The machine works based on the principal that it captures the object with slices by laser beams and combine the pieces by software.

The Vietnamese device is not only easier for maintenance but it is also cheaper than a similar imported machine.

The project to create the 3D scanner was started at the end of 2012 with a total cost of nearly VND200 million (US$9,434) while importing such a machine can cost about VND1 billion ($47,170) to VND1.5 billion ($70,755).

“The 3D scanner is highly applicable: it can be applied in many occupations like molding, measuring, object shaping in cinematography, and recreating 3D models of body parts used in the health sector,” Associate Professor Nguyen Thanh Nam, director of DCSELAB said.

DCSELAB plans to apply the 3D scanner for use in plastic and mechanical plants. The machine also drew attention from abroad as two research groups from Taiwan and Korea have asked to cooperate on the development of the machine.

According to DCSELAB engineers, the 3D scanner will help to make reverse engineering in the mechanical industry simpler while in archeology, the machine helps to recreate objects without touching them.

“The advantage of the 3D scanner is its ability to scan once at a high accuracy which imported products don’t have,” engineer Phan Huynh Lam said of the Vietnamese machine.

“The 3D scanner has the translational and rotation axises which can automatically scan objects and combine slices, while with other machines, users have to put together the slices on their own. The time needed for the machine to scan an object is also shorter, only from 15 to 20 minutes.”

“We are trying to improve our product, as well as researching smaller handheld scanners to compete with imported machines,” Associate Professor Nam added.