Skip to main content


Below are some of our Frequently Asked Questions. Don't see your question below? Feel free to Contact Us.

Please give us a call or send us an email with photos of the part(s) you would like laser scanned and we will provide quotations for you.

Our laser scanners naturally produce scanned files in polymesh format. The most common and frequently used polymesh formats are: .STL, OBJ, .DAE, .FBX, and .PLY. If you are looking for other formats such as .STP, .IGES, .X_T, or other NURBS formats, the scanned files must be additionally Reverse-Engineered.

We use three industrial-grade 3D laser scanners. The scanners use blue and red laser technology and are the most accurate among the four main types of 3D scanning.

Yes, absolutely. Our laser scanning system is fully portable and we can scan on-site at your location. We are based in the Greater Toronto Area but we service all of Southern Ontario as well (Niagara Falls, London, etc.).

How is Laser Scanning different from other types of 3D scanning?

Laser scanning uses a series of cameras and lasers to measure and read surface geometry with triangulation calculations. Laser Scanning works extremely well with any surface finish and object shape, and offers the highest precision and resolution of all the major 3D scanning types. This makes Laser scanning is the best metrology solution for professional applications. At Balonbay, we specialize in and only offer industrial-grade laser scanning.

Structured light scanning works by shining patterned LED lights onto an object for tracking. It's more accurate than Photogrammetry but not comparable to Laser Scanning. Structured Light is an excellent option if you require colour to be captured as well. Structured Light is also more suitable for non-reflective, non-metallic objects, small to medium in size.

Photogrammetry relies on images and software algorithms to build a 3D image. The benefits of photogrammetry is its accessibility and low-cost. Popular applications for photogrammetry include capturing human forms, statues, and hobby projects. Due to the reliance on images, photogrammetry is generally not suitable for high precision applications.

A type of large-scale laser technology, Lidar is generally intended for extremely large objects or distances, such as architectural applications, surveying, and geographical mapping. Lidar is efficient with expansive, environmental scanning and usually not suitable for product scanning or object scanning.

Common questions regarding Reverse-Engineering:

Reverse-Engineering is the task of extracting the shapes and dimensions of the object from the scanned data to create 3D CAD models. For more detailed information on Reverse-Engineering please visit this page.

If the scanned components are to be used for prototyping or manufacturing, it is highly likely Reverse-Engineering is required. If the scanned data is being used for inspection, verification, or analysis, Reverse-Engineering is probably not required. Every project’s application is different; feel free to contact us and our team can offer consultation.

The two most common 3D formats for physical objects are polymesh and NURBS. Polymesh files are normally made up of hundreds to millions of miniscule triangles. The triangles are highly accurate, but polymesh formats are traditionally intended for CGI graphics and animation. Whereas NURBS (Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines) are mathematically calculated geometry, defined by lines, circles, arcs, and curves, and is suitable for manufacturing and machining. Laser scanners natively produce files in polymesh and therefore require an additional process (called Reverse-Engineering) to get to NURBS format.

Point cloud are defined “dots” in virtual space – although extremely accurate, point cloud usually lacks surface data to assist in building geometrical shapes. Laser scanned data provides both point cloud and polymesh (the mesh itself is made up of many points). Point cloud is often used by CMM tools or probes. For special projects that require points with CMM as well as surface capture, we utilize both our CMM probe and our laser scanner.

Common questions regarding 3D Printing:

There's a wide range of 3D printing technologies and each type is suitable for different application. Some materials are intended for cosmetic appearance (where detail and surface quality are most important), and some processes are intended for strength (chemical resistance, industrial applications, etc.). Please contact us and we can offer specialized consultation.

We print with the following materials and processes: high temperature and high strength polymer plastic, low-cost polymer plastic, rubber polymer plastic, high detail liquid resin, rubber and industrial resin, multi-coloured resin, multi-material resin, sintering polymer powder (Multi-Jet Fusion, MJF), and metals (stainless steel, nickel alloy). Our team can provide consultation on the best process and material for your application.