Real World Curves in Solidworks
A short tutorial on converting laser scanner data into solidworks surfaces.
Things you need:
Laser Rangefinder--you either have one or you can build one e.g. http://www.david-laserscanner.com/
Acquring Point Cloud
Use the range scanner to get yourself some data. Assuming you can only scan one side at a time, you'll want to have overlapping scans to get good alignment. If possible put some landmarks onto your surface e.g. putty/play-doh.
Reconstructing the object
Import the point clouds into Geomagic Studio and clean up the extraneous data. Now use the alignment tool and n-point alignment to roughly position your two point cloud patches. Then use the global alignment tool to minimize error. Continue adding patches until you have your complete object. This part is only necessary if your object has side/back surfaces that are relevant.
Recreating the surface
Solidworks has a surface creation tool inluded (scanto3d) but it doesn't work very well for me. To manually create a surface, what you can do instead is create a series of cross section curves using the curve wizard. After this, you can use the loft surface creation tool to create lofts (interpolate a surface between two curves).