When Do I Need SOLIDWORKS ScanTo3D?

   By on January 20, 2021

ScanTo3D is an add-in to SOLIDWORKS Standard, Professional and Premium that allows engineers and designers to use concept models, existing OEM parts or anatomical objects and easily convert these into SOLIDWORKS models. Plus, ScanTo3D can recognize analytic shapes, such as machined parts and consumer products, and can decompose and fit analytic or non-analytic surface types to the mesh.

What is ScanTo3D?

Combine a 3D scanner with ScanTo3D and you have an affordable, easy-to-use solution for capturing physical objects right from your desktop — no more measuring with calipers and rulers or waiting days for an outside scanning supplier. SOLIDWORKS ScanTo3D is accessible right from within the SOLIDWORKS interface. All functions of ScanTo3D use the familiar SOLIDWORKS Window and Property Manager to walk you step by step through the process of converting scanned data to a solid model.

These are the top features and functionalities of ScanTo3D:

  • Import: With this feature you can open cloud point or mesh data directly into SOLIDWORKS, dynamically section the mesh and model directly against it using 2D and 3D sketch geometry. ScanTo3D can import Mesh files  such as *.3ds; *.obj; *.stl; *.wrl; *.ply; *.ply2 and PointCloud files such as *.xyz; *.txt; *.asc; *.vda; *.igs; *.ibl.
    Scanto3D Overview
  • Mesh Preparation: With this feature, you can convert cloud point data to mesh data automatically and also realign, remove noise, delete extraneous data and smooth mesh data.
  • Surface Wizard: With this feature, you can convert the mesh automatically to a solid model in one step using the Automatic Creation option, or you can choose the Guide Creation option to create sub meshes and automatically fit surfaces to the sub meshes.
  • Curve Wizard: With this feature, you can insert discrete curve sets against the meshes to create boundaries and section curves.
  • Solid Model Generation: With this feature, you can create a solid model that can be used, referenced and built upon in your designs.

Benefits of Using ScanTo3D

Combined with a 3D scanner, ScanTo3D significantly reduces the time required to build complex 3D models from non-digital data by capturing physical samples and bringing them into SOLIDWORKS as highly accurate 3D references. With this add-in, you can leverage that scanned data to generate detailed parts and models and build your designs to match exactly as intended. Geometries usually reserved for specialty fields can now be leveraged inside of SOLIDWORKS to expand your capabilities such as:

  • Medical Designers: Create anatomical objects for reference.


  • Consumer Product Designers: Create quick representations of physical components made from clay, foam, etc.
  • Machine and Vehicle Designers: Create quick references to OEM parts or previous models

Save time and effort during your design process while leveraging existing products, OEM components and complex or organic reference geometry to get the best design possible. 

Are you playing with the idea of a 3D scanner but are not sure which one is the ideal fit for your need? Stream our on-demand webinar to learn which 3D scanning technology is right for you.

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Danny Lopez

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