A Non-Techie’s intro to the 3D scanning world

21 September 2020

I’ve been working for Thor3D for about 2 months now and it has been quite a steep, but otherwise enjoyable, learning curve. Having been immersed in ESL teaching and Humanities-related subjects for most of my life, I figured my chances of getting the Tech Support position would be slim, but much to my delight I got the job right away.

I have never even held a 3D scanner in my hands before and on my first day on the job got handed the Calibry handheld scanner and started scanning everything in sight. Luckily for me, the scanner created by Thor3D was easy to grasp even for a newbie such as myself and with the help of my colleagues I got the hang of the scanning process and the software quite quickly. Making my first 3D models of simple objects like statues I was lulled into a false sense of ease thinking scanning anything would now be possible after just a few weeks on the job. Oh, how wrong I was!

While scanning something with a lot of angles to it like a statue is simple, scanning something like a person or a car is a much bigger challenge. Factoring in size, different scanning modes and post-processing time, I quickly realized that I was far from becoming a scanning expert any time soon.

One of the more recent projects given to my colleagues and I was the task of scanning a whole car. First, we had to make sure the repair shop where the car was had enough outlets to plug our scanners and our laptops. While the car was not very shiny, due to its large size, we had to apply circular sticker markers to the whole surface. The whole process of scanning it in sections and then removing the markers took well over 3 hours. The post-processing of combining the scans is still an ongoing process to this day due to the sheer volume of the data we gathered. Had we not had the the guidance of our senior scanning guru, the process might have taken all day, with the scan quality being questionable at best.

I still require daily scanning practice. Now that we have released the Calibry Mini, a scanner for smaller objects, in addition to the Calibry scanner, I am scanning all sorts of objects and working out the best ways to process them in our software.  While I can certainly troubleshoot many issues from our customers and clients, I still have a long way to go in this business.

I was initially apprehensive that I wouldn’t fit in with the tech culture and misunderstand the tech terminology being thrown around by my colleagues, but luckily working in a startup creates a generally chill atmosphere. If I had a question regarding the software, I could easily ask the very programmer who wrote it or, if I had a hardware-related issue, I could always ask the very guys who tested the scanners daily.  But, just when I thought I had learned the lingo with all my coworkers, one of the senior devs started explaining a new software feature to me and while the words leaving his mouth were ones I was mostly familiar with, as a whole it sounded entirely like a foreign language, and I lamented on never having taken advanced math or physics. I still think I would benefit greatly from some basic programming courses and should really look into that.

Over the weekend as I was telling one of my friends about my new job, he keenly pointed out how I was using “we” to describe the company and the scanners that Thor3D makes. This was a funny observation considering I have had many jobs in the past and I do not recall ever speaking about myself using “we” about my relation to my job or any company I had worked for previously. I hadn’t noticed that subconsciously, I was proudly speaking of the achievements of the company as my own. Despite the challenges, I feel embraced by a company in a completely new industry to me and can’t wait to see how deep the 3D rabbit hole goes.

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