3d Scanner Next Engine

Dear all,

Does anybody use the Nextengine 3d scanner (www.nextengine.com). I am considering buying one but I have a doubt:
the basic software package generates an stl file of the scanned object. My question is the following: is there a way to export stl files and convert them to surfaces with just one click ? Is there any software package that can do this fast and easy?

Thanks for your help,

Rok Mok

There is no such thing as “fast and easy” when it comes to point cloud/poly translation.

Yes, there are ways to convert polygonal objects to surfaces but you effectively wind up with something that is still faceted, but made up of a million NURBS surfaces instead of polygons.

Really the only good use is for reference for rebuilding in a proper tool.

Hello… as a NextEngine employee, I think I can answer your question.

The regular Scanner Bundle includes the Scanner HD, the AutoDrive (turntable), PartGripper, ScanStudio HD software, and some accessories. ScanStudio HD operates your scanner and produces triangulated meshes in various formats (STL, OBJ, etc). You can import mesh files into most 3D animation packages, some CAM software, as well as Rhino CAD. SolidWorks will import a mesh file, but there’s not much you can do with it without the SolidWorks ScanTo3D add-on (part of Office Premium).

ScanStudio CAD TOOLS is an upgrade to the standard NextEngine software, and adds two major functions:

  1. Spline extraction
  2. Automatic NURBS surfacing (AutoSurface)

For the AutoSurface function there is only one control, which is the maximum number of surfaces to be created. Specifying a lower number will create fewer surfaces, while trading-off some detail. Typically, a model can be converted with a few hundred NURBS surfaces. The relationship between the number of triangles in the mesh model and the number of NURBS surfaces is not 1 to 1 (it’s more like 500 to 1, depending on complexity).

Take a look at this example: NextEngine 3D Laser Scanner

AutoSurface will get your data into your CAD software quickly and easily, but if you’re looking to do substantial editing to the model in CAD, it may not be what you want.

For full reverse-engineering, you’ll want to use RapidWorks (another software upgrade from NextEngine). It’s based on RapidForm XOR, which is the industry leader in RE software. It has a bit of a learning curve, but it will let you create full feature-tree models directly from your scan data. It’s $2,495 USD, which is a bargain considering XOR is around $20K.

Hope this helps!

  • Todd

Thank you both for your feedback, it is clear that for my needs I would need the upgrades, but the bad part is that the price is twice. Todd, do you guys offer online courses to learn Rapidform XOR, how many hours of use does it take to be confortable with it?

Thanks for your help!


Hey RokMok,

Yes, there are online training videos available, and possibly some hands-on training seminars. There are also support resources available to help you with your project. I suggest you send an email to info (at) nextengine (dot) com to start a dialog with one of our Applications Engineers.

  • Todd

Thanks Todd!