I am a big fan of software. I mean, I kind of have to be after being married to an engineer! Software can make your life so much easier, more productive and more efficient. It's a tool that you can use to gain back more time and have it do the heavy lifting for you.
I have to be completely honest, when I first started my business I was pretty stringent on my expenses, and I didn't pay too much attention to the software that I was using, or the time that I could be saving. Now over the years, that has totally changed. I value my time so much more and love finding new tools that allow me to gain back time.
The Design Process
The way that the design process starts is by doing floor plans and layouts. This is where we can make sure that we are maximizing the space and make sure that everything will fit. We take measurements of the existing conditions and input them into CAD. Depending on the project, we will do a 3d model of the space, so that there is a full view of what the space will look like.
Taking measurements for existing conditions can take hours. You're not only documenting the size of the room, but you're also getting the window and door locations, ceiling heights, measuring existing furniture that will remain, etc. Once you take the measurements, it then can take several more hours to input them into CAD to make sure that everything lines up.
Basically, it takes a long time, time that would be better suited using my skillset to design.
So, that's where I started to investigate
I was on the hunt for a scanner that would take images of the space and be able to then translate those into plans. I looked around, and I decided to go with Canvas. It was a great budget-friendly option and had a great scanner lens.
They give you two options to purchase the scanner. One, you can purchase an iPad and scanner, or if you already have an iPad, you can purchase the scanner separately. I was already on the market for an iPad, so I could take that to meetings for note-taking, so it worked out that I was able to cross both items off the list.
What I also like about the scanner is all of the tutorials that the company provides. When I got it, I was able to pick up the process very quickly.
To start, you calibrate the lens. That takes some time to get used to, but once you get it, its easy to calibrate it again. Once it's calibrated, you take the scanner and move around in a circle around a room, making sure not to overlap the scene. It really just takes a couple of minutes. After that, you send it to the cloud, and wait! It's that simple.
You can choose what format you want the model in between CAD, Sketchup and Revit. You get the model back in a day or two, which is great!
The accuracy of the scanner is pretty good. They mention that dimensions can be 2-3%. But, if there are particular dimensions that you need to be 100%, you can send them in and they can override the model to read those dimensions.
I would recommend this tool to other designers who are looking for a tool to assist with floor plans and modeling.
Let me know if you have any questions!