Plant 3D – Inserting a Point Cloud 3D Scan


As you may be aware, almost every industry is using 3D scanning,

in Process Plant work, especially browns field projects, these scans can be a god sent,

particularly in dense, existing pipe routes, when you need to route your new pipe through the spaghetti that is there.

In the past we needed many hours of painstaking measurements, photos, and guess work.

With a 3D scan, it sits inside your model guiding you as you go,


to insert a 3D point cloud in into Plant is a straightforward process,

Though you are going to have to use Autodesk Recap,

This will become apparent in a bit.


In our plant model,

Go to the Insert Tab, Reference Panel and select Attach.

This is because the file will be referenced in, an XREF, not embedded directly into the Plant model drawing.

This probably due to performance and reliability, as point clouds can be very large files, over multiple Gigabytes.








Browse to the folder the scan is in

You may need to change the file type to Autodesk Point Cloud,

Then select the scan and click Open.















The normal attachment screen is shown.

This you can use to help locate and orientate the scan.

I am just accepting the defaults and selection OK.












Once the scan is inserted, you can select any point on the scan, and it will bring up the Point cloud contextual menu,

This allows us to change the display, crop, and extract data,

We will cover this in more detail in a later blog.