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LMI Technologies blog focuses on providing valuable resources to keep you informed on the latest news in the area of 3D scanning and 3D inspection.

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Thomas Tong

Recent Posts

Manufacturing Case Study: From 3D Scanning to CAD

Posted By Thomas Tong on February 19, 2013 at 11:00 AM

This week’s blog post is contributed by 3D3 Solutions’ distributor in India, Aman Bir Singh, from Rasco Automotive Systems Private Limited

PHOTO: Digital 3D model of a physical prototype produced using a white-light 3D scanner (also known as structured-light 3D scanner)

Designers need an efficient workflow to convert their design prototype into a mold for mass production. Rasco Automotive Systems recently collaborated with a commercial automotive manufacturer to achieve this goal using a process called Scan to CAD.

In this project, the design prototype is a seat that was designed by hand. The Scan to CAD process involves using a 3D scanner to capture digital 3D scans of the prototype. The 3D scans have the prototype measurements which are used to create a Computer-Aided Design (CAD) model. The CAD model is then used to create a mold of the prototype for final production. In this project, Rasco Automotive Systems scanned the prototype using the HDI Advance R1 scanning system.

In this project, Rasco Automotive Systems encountered three challenges they were able to solve successfully:

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Findings from 3D Measurement Study: How Behavior Impacts Measurement

Posted By Thomas Tong on July 13, 2012 at 11:00 AM

As the Annual Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference (CMSC) is approaching next month, we found an interesting measurement study report released in Fall 2011 conducted by the organization on How Behavior Impacts Your Measurement. The report is a follow up of previous studies conducted by CMSC to explore the need for personnel certification in portable metrology.

The 2009 study found that a certification program would be a definite value for the metrology community. Currently the operator, which is the greatest potential source of error, is not required to be certified. The 2010 study examines the importance of understanding core measurement principles, implementing the right measurement strategy, and having a questioning culture when an operator is using metrology equipment to acquire measurement data.

The latest 2011 study focuses on measurement strategies and behaviors of coordinate metrologists. In the study, people conducted 3D measurement tasks on two days using various coordinate measuring systems. On the first day, 3D measurement tasks were carried out with little or no instruction. On the second day, 3D measurement tasks were conducted with instructions or procedures. The results from the two days were compared.

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The Importance of Calibrating a 3D Scanner for Accuracy

Posted By Thomas Tong on May 29, 2012 at 12:15 PM

If you are encountering problems with the accuracy of the 3D data when using a 3D scanner, there is a chance that the scanner wasn’t calibrated properly. Calibration is perhaps the most important part of setting up a 3D scanner. A good calibration is the key prerequisite for capturing accurate 3D scan data.

The calibration process is important because this is where the scanner determines its environmental conditions such as its position, rotation and behavior in relation to the scan object. The process involves calibrating the scanner’s field of view (FOV), the observable area that the 3D scanner is able to capture from a specific distance. The scanner uses its cameras to define its field of view.

Caption: This diagram illustrates the field of view of a 3D scanner. The Center Depth of Focus is where the scanner is the most focused and this is where the scan object is placed. The Z-Near is the closest distance that the scanner can scan while still in focus. In contrast, the Z-Far is the furthest distance that the scanner can scan while still in focus.

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Choosing Between a 3D Scanning System or Building a 3D Scanner Option

Posted By Thomas Tong on May 17, 2012 at 12:00 PM

There are two options to consider when selecting the right 3D scanner for your application and scanning needs.

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3D Scanning Case Study: ScanMatter Studios Captures Design Intent for Brooks Sports

Posted By Thomas Tong on March 29, 2012 at 4:30 PM

This week’s blog post is contributed by 3D3 Solutions’ customer, Kevin Carr from ScanMatter Studios, Inc. 

Brooks Sports contacted ScanMatter Studios, Inc to explore the option of moving their physical-based shoe samples to the digital realm. Every color or material change on a physical shoe sample had to be ordered from the manufacturer which was not only costly, but had a long lead time to see the results. Creating a digital sample would allow the designers to see their changes in near real-time at a fraction of the cost. Now the question came, how do we create a digital sample that looks identical to the physical product? The Solution: 3D scanning. This would only require Brooks Sports to make one physical sample of each model in the season line up. Using 3D3 Solutions’ HDI Advance 3D Scanning System, we were able to capture the rich details needed to convey the design intent in a digital format. FlexScan3D, the 3D capture software included with the scanner, made it quick and easy to align and process the data. Photogrammetry data alignment, along with the turntable and high resolution color texture capture option, made the HDI Advance our preferred scanning system for product viz projects. In the end, the client was impressed with the time and cost savings as a result of the new process.

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Common Questions on 3D Post-Processing Software

Posted By Thomas Tong on March 12, 2012 at 1:00 PM

What is 3D post-processing software?
3D scanners output raw 3D scan data in the form of points or polygon mesh. 3D post-processing software allows users to clean up 3D scan data and/or transform the data for its final purpose, whether it’s for visualization, reverse engineering, CNC machining, or 3D inspection.

Why do I need 3D post-processing software when the 3D scanner includes 3D scanning software?
A great way to demonstrate this is to use photography as an example. A camera and a 3D scanner behave similarly because they are both equipment used to acquire information from the real world. A camera is used to take photographs while a 3D scanner takes 3D scans of real world objects. A camera has some basic editing functionality to make minor edits to photographs like cropping or red eye reduction. However, if you want to use advanced editing features to edit photographs, you would need to use post-processing software like Photoshop.

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How Does a White Light 3D Scanner Work? [With Video]

Posted By Thomas Tong on March 1, 2012 at 12:00 PM

In the previous blog post, Ways to Automate 3D Scanning, we briefly explained the steps to create a full 3D model from a physical object. The best way to illustrate this process is through a video demonstation. Below is a video of the 3D scanning process using a white light 3D scanner (also known as a structured light 3D scanner). White light 3D scanners are categorized as non-contact 3D scanning where the scanner scans without physical contact with the object to ensure there is no measurement interference.

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Automating 3D Scanner Data Alignment Using Markers

Posted By Thomas Tong on February 24, 2012 at 11:15 AM

In the previous blog post, Ways to Automate 3D Scanning, we discussed a few ways to automate 3D scanning to reduce scanning and processing time. Another way to speed up the process is to automate the alignment of 3D scanner data. This process is called photogrammetry data alignment using markers.

Markers are generally small, round stickers that you place either on the scan subject or on the surface the subject rests on. After scanning the subject and generating a mesh, the 3D scanner searches for the markers and attempts to align them with the previous scan. Here are some of the benefits to using markers for data alignment:

  • Scanning with markers is a faster and more convenient way of aligning multiple scans. The alignment algorithm is greatly sped up by having far fewer reference points to search for and to match up for alignment. 
  • It is easier to align 3D scan data for objects that have no distinct geometry features (ie. cylindrical pipes) and/or large objects.
  • This method yields more accurate data alignment results compared to other registration methods.
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Case Study on 3D Scanning Small Objects

Posted By Thomas Tong on February 15, 2012 at 12:30 PM

In our blog post, Tips for 3D Scanning Small Objects, we offered several tips on scanning small objects to get good results. Recently, our team received an email from Simon Stone, our UK distributor from Mech Innovation Limited. He sent us his latest 3D scanning results for a two pence coin.

Looking at the raw 3D scans we were very impressed with his results. The diameter of the coin is 25.9 millimeters and the coin details are approximately 0.1mm deep. No post-processing was done to the 3D scans. They were taken using a 3D scanning system built using FlexScan3D Software with a pair of 2 megapixel (MP) cameras and 5MP 25mm lenses. The 3D scanner can produce scans of a small object with great clarity and definition.

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Ways to Automate 3D Scanning

Posted By Thomas Tong on January 23, 2012 at 1:00 PM

For most projects, 3D scanning is the first part of the project which involves creating a physical object into a digital 3D model. To create a full 3D model that includes all sides of an object, the 3D scanner must first capture 3D scans of an object from several directions. Capturing 3D scans from all sides involves taking a scan from one side, turning the object, and taking a 3D scan from another side.

PHOTO: A single 3D scan of a boot. You will need to take several scans from all sides in order to create a full 3D model.

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