The process of generating a computerized geometric model for an existing part is known as Reverse Engineering (RE). It is a very useful technique in product development and plays a significant role in automotive, aerospace, and medical industries. In fact, it has been getting remarkable attention in manufacturing industries owing to its advanced data acquisition technologies. The process of RE is based on two primary steps: data acquisition (also known as scanning) and data processing. To facilitate point data acquisition, a variety of scanning systems is available with different capabilities and limitations. Although the optical control of 3D scanners is fully developed, still several factors can affect the quality of the scanned data. As a result, the proper selection of scanning parameters, such as resolution, laser power, shutter time, etc., becomes very crucial. This kind of investigation can be very helpful and provide its users with guidelines to identify the appropriate factors. Moreover, it is worth noting that no single system is ideal in all applications. Accordingly, this work has compared two portable (handheld) systems based on laser scanning and white light optical scanning for automotive applications. A car door containing a free-form surface has been used to achieve the above-mentioned goal. The design of experiments has been employed to determine the effects of different scanning parameters and optimize them. The capabilities and limitations have been identified by comparing the two scanners in terms of accuracy, scanning time, triangle numbers, ease of use, and portability. Then, the relationships between the system capabilities and the application requirements have been established. The results revealed that the laser scanner performed better than the white light scanner in terms of accuracy, while the white light scanner performed better in terms of acquisition speed and triangle numbers.
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