3D laser scanning is a great method for capturing large quantities of data very quickly and accurately.  However, very accurate systems, like the Konica-Minolta Range 7, scan a relatively small area in one pass.  They are therefore somewhat limited in the size of parts that can be scanned.  Multiple data sets can be aligned manually, by choosing common features in overlapping data sets, but this method is subject to compounding alignment errors over long distances.

Conversely, the C-Track optical tracking system from Creaform can be used for a variety of applications, including capturing a large set of retro-reflective targets.  Since the targets are spaced several inches apart, the resultant data set can cover a large area, but the final data is sparse.

However, these targets can also be recognized by the Range 7 scanner, allowing for the automatic alignment of the smaller, high accuracy data sets to the global coordinate system established by the C-Track.  The data file generated by VX Elements, the software that controls the C-Track, is exported as a TXT file, and contains the XYZ position of each target, as well as a the IJK vector designating the direction.  Range Viewer, the software that controls the Range 7 scanner can then import this file and use it as a base line for aligning the individual scans.  Range Viewer recognizes patterns of targets in each scan and then uses that information to properly orient the data relative to the over-all data set from the C-Track.

Once the data is collected by the scanner and aligned using the data from the C-track, it can be processed into a polygonal mesh.  The primary applications for this technology are reverse engineering and computer aided inspection.  For reverse engineering the original polygon mesh can be processed into a NURBS surface model or parametric solid model using specialized software such as Rapidform XOR or Geomagic Studio.  For inspection, the data is compared to the original CAD design model, yielding a color map report to illustrate deviations.  Cross-sectional deviation plots, and geometric dimensioning and tolerancing can also be performed.

This combination of these different technologies takes advantage of the high-accuracy of the Range 7 on a local level and the large area mapping by the C-Track on a global level, producing a large area scan with high detail and accuracy over an extended area.

For more information on these applications please visit our website:  www.3dscanningservices.net – http://www.3dscanningservices.net

About NeoMetrix

NeoMetrix Technologies, Inc. (www.3dscanningservices.net), headquartered in Lake Mary, Florida,  is a leading provider of solutions for rapid product development throughout the southeastern United States, focusing on 3D laser scanning, reverse engineering and rapid prototyping.  NeoMetrix is also a top reseller for Objet 3D Printers, Konica-Minolta Sensing America, and Rapidform Software.  NeoMetrix also offers engineering consulting and technical services that focus on assisting clients with improving product quality and reducing design cycles.