Live Inspection Training for the Creaform HandySCAN with PolyWorks Inspector

Note:  This manual will cover the setup, connection, and use of Creaform’s hardware with PolyWorks during a live inspection process.  This manual IS NOT meant to act as a comprehensive training manual for the complete use of either product.



Positioning Targets Application and Distribution – Reflective targets must be affixed randomly with a minimum distance of 20 mm (0.75 in) and a maximum distance of 100 mm (4 in).  Keep at least 12 mm (1/2 in) from the edges on every side.


Shiny Objects (or Black, Transparent, Reflective) – For better results, any shiny, black, transparent or reflective (like mirrors or metallic surfaces) object may need to be covered with white powder to obtain a matt finish.

Small Surfaces – If proper target distribution on small object cannot be achieved, distribute targets on a surface (preferably black/dark and matt) and to place the object on this surface. While scanning, the object and/or its environment should not be moved.


  1.  Open PolyWorks to display the Workspace Manager.  
  2.  Save the new workspace by giving it an appropriate name.  You’ll notice there are two items that appear in your save location: a .pwk file, and a folder with a matching name.  These two must always be kept together in the same location on the computer.

  • Note:  The .pwk is the saved workspace file, and the accompanying folder will store all subsequent files/info contained within the workspace.  


  1.  Ensure the PolyWorks license dongle is installed in a free USB port, and click the Inspector icon to begin a new inspection project.


  1.  PolyWorks Inspector will open in a separate window.
  2.  Save the project, ensuring you leave the default location as-is to ensure PolyWorks can reference the files correctly later.

  • Note:  The Workspace=>Project=>Piece relationship is like that of a Folder=>Sub-folder=>File. “Pieces” are the individual parts inspected.  Multiple Pieces can exist within the same Project.
  • Ex 1:  You are inspecting 10 identical assemblies, each consisting of 3 unique components.  The “Workspace” can be given the name of the assembly and contain 3 separate Projects, one for


  • each of the 3 components.  Each Project will contain 10 Pieces, one for each of the 10 identical components in each assembly that must be inspected.



Import Reference CAD Model & Assign Overall Tolerance

  1.  Import a CAD Model by choosing the Import icon drop down, then choose CAD Models.

  1.  Give the part an overall profile tolerance if designated by the inspection drawing by choosing Edit Reference/Primitive Tolerances under the Reference Object icon.

3. Set your overall part tolerance in the Dialogue Zone.  You may also choose to designate a “Warning” zone (area within tolerance but approaching a deviation of interest) as well.  Click Close at the bottom of the window to exit.

Scan the First Piece

  1.  We will need scan data to perform our initial alignment and extract/measure features.  To access scanner, navigate to Plug-ins=>Creaform=>VXscan

  1.  Click Show Scan Acquisition Window in the Dialogue Zone.  This will bring up the VX Elements scanning window.

HandySCAN Calibration

Changes in the environment may affect the scanner calibration.   Optimizing the calibration allows getting back to the initial measuring characteristics.

The calibration consists in bringing the scanner to fourteen positions with respect to the calibration plate, represented by the three green indicators (3D viewer).

Note 1: Calibration must always be done:

  • Following a prolonged shutdown of the system
  • Following a change in temperature or hydrometry
  • After a shock to the sensor


  1.  Place the calibration plate on a stable plane surface, with no reflective object near the latter. Position the scanner lengthwise, at approximately 15 cm (6 in) from the calibration plate
  2.  Click on Scanner Calibration in the main toolbar.

  1.  Start the acquisition by clicking the button on the scanner
  2.  For the first ten measurements, stay normal to the plate. Try to maintain the red indicator of the top and left bars as centered as possible. As for the right bar, it goes up each time a measurement is successfully taken.
  3.  For the last four measurements, move the scanner at an angle from the plate to match the red indicator of the top, left and right bars as centered as possible in the green rectangular. The blue circle indicator must be aligned on the green circle in the middle of the calibration .
  4.  Once completed, the optimized calibration should be accepted with the OK button.

HandySCAN 3D Configuration

It is important to adjust the parameters for an optimal detection of the laser lines, as each surface has different reflection properties.

  1.  Click Scanner Config in the main toolbar.

  1.  To configure the scanner, hold it at the nominal distance from the object (~30 cm) and press the trigger. Three situations can occur:
  • Under-Exposed (gray): The reflection of the laser is not perceived by the cameras. There is not enough information gathered by the software to calculate and build a mesh.
  • Saturated (red): The reflection of the laser is to intense. Laser lines are not clearly defined and may lead to an improper surface reconstruction or an unusual amount of noise in the data.
  • Reliable (yellow): The laser is reflected as a clean and defined line.  Ideal.
  1.  The configuration can be auto-adjusted as well.  Click Auto-Adjust on the left side of the screen before pressing the trigger.  The shutter speed will adjust to optimize the reflection of the laser lines
  • Note:  The shutter parameters can be modified at any time, even without stopping the acquisition process, by moving the Shutter slider on the left of the screen in the Scanner Parameters box.

  1.  When an optimal shutter speed has been achieved, the scanner configuration window will show the maximum amount of yellow possible.  Click Accept to close.


Begin Scanning Process

  1.  Click the expanding arrow to set the desired scanning resolution.  

  1.  Hold the largest button on the scanner for a couple seconds to enter scan mode, or hit the Scan button in the VX Elements window.


  1.  Once in Scan mode, click the button once to begin taking data.


  1.  Scan the part until all desired geometry is captured.  Remove any unwanted data via Edit Scan before exiting Scan mode.

  • Note:  Try to minimize overlap in scanning passes to better manage file size and processing time


  1.  Hold the trigger for a few seconds again (or press the scan button again) to process the mesh, then click Accept Scan to send it over to PolyWorks.


Best-Fit Align and Measure Scan Data

  1.  When using scan data only (no probe data) for inspection, always begin with a best fit alignment.  This will place the scan over the CAD file in the closest possible fit condition, allowing the easiest initial automatic extraction of our features from the scan data.  We can then re-align with another alignment if needed, and the measured components will follow the alignment.


  1.  Under the Alignment drop-down, choose Best Fit Data to Reference Objects.

23.  We will use the default alignment settings.  For Pre-alignment, we can either choose Automatic or Point Pairs.

  1.  Automatic will allow the software to guess the initial alignment of the part before it completes the best fit.  This pre-alignment requires no input from the user once Start is clicked, however it sometimes results in a failure to properly align.


  1.  Point Pairs requires slightly more input from the user, but should make the alignment near-bullet proof.  Click Start.  


  1.  The screen will split into 2 windows: one displaying the reference data, and the other displaying the scan.  Choose N Point Pairs for the Method, orient both windows to give roughly the same view of the part, then click Pick.

27.  Click the same 3 points on both the scan and CAD files.  They must be in the same order.

  1.  Once all 3 points are chosen, right click to accept the pre-alignment.  The Best Fit alignment will complete, and the scan will be overlaid onto the CAD file.

Applying Features to CAD Model

  1.  At this point, we no longer need to see the scan data.  Click on it in the Tree View with the mouse scroll wheel to hide it.


  1.  We will now place features on the CAD file.  Click the Create Features icon and leave the feature type as Multiple Types.


  1.  In the Dialogue Zone, change the Datum Feature Label to A.  It’s preferable to set this before creating the feature, however we can always edit the feature later and assign a datum label.

  1.  Hover over the plane on the model shown below to see it highlight.  Left clicking will place the plane. If you switch to the Tree View, you will see Datum Plane A listed under features.

  1.  Without exiting the Create Features tool, change the Datum Feature Label to B.  Then hit spacebar to switch between “Pick” and “Orient” mode. Rotate the model to see the face shown below.  Hit Spacebar again to pick, then click the face. Datum Plane B will appear in the tree.

  1.  Choose the plane below without assigning a datum label.

  1.  Now choose the cone as well.

  1.  We will now create a constructed circle based off the intersection of the last plane and cone created on the CAD file.  First, specify the feature type to be a Circle.

  1.  Set the Datum Feature Label to C.  Up until now, we’ve only used the Pick on CAD File method.  We will now change the Method to From Intersection, then choose the Sub Method as Planes and Cones.

  1.  Flip back to the Dialogue Zone and click Create.  A circle will appear at the intersection of Plane 1 and Cone 1.


  1.  Our features with which we will utilize later for a Datum Alignment are now created.  We will also create a few more features with which we may analyze the part. First, change the feature type back to Multiple Types (likely still on Circle).

  1.  Choose the face below to create Plane 2.

  • Note: Remember to hit Spacebar to orient the 3D Scene


  1.  Now choose Cone 2 below.

  1.  Now change the Feature Type to Angle.  Choose Datum Plane A for the Reference Feature, and Plane 2 for the Feature.  An angle will appear between these two features in the 3D Scene. Click Create.

  1.  Now change the Feature Type to Angle.  Choose Datum Plane A for the Reference Feature, and Plane 2 for the Feature.  An angle will appear between these two features in the 3D Scene. Click Create.

  1.  Note when all features in the Tree View are expanded, they only contain nominal components (no measured), as we have not yet measured them.  Highlight all features in the Tree View, right click and choose Extract Measured.  This will measure all features with the scan data.


  1.  Once all components are measured, the names will have a small ruler symbol on each of their icons in the Tree View.  If the feature is expanded, they will display both a Nominal and Measured component.Datum Reference Frame Alignment

    1.  Now that we have extracted measured components for all features, we can apply a Datum Alignment.  From the Alignments drop-down, choose Datum Reference Frame Alignment.

    48.  If a Datum Reference Frame does not yet exist (the box is blank) then we will need to create one.  Click the Creation drop down.

  1.  For this case, we will choose A, B, and C for Datum features 1, 2, and 3 respectively.  Then click Create.

  1.  Once the DRF is created, select ABC in the window and choose Align.  This will align our scan data to the CAD file with respect to our datums.

Deviation Color Map

51.  The last item to add to our inspection project is a 3D deviation color map.  Choose Data Offset Deviations from Reference Object Surfaces from the Data Color Maps drop down.

  1.  Keep the default values in the Dialogue Zone, and click Measure.  A 3D color map will be applied to the model.


  1.  We will now create a basic inspection report.  In this report, we will include:
  1. 3D Deviation color map
  2. Datum Alignment information
  3. All measured components


2.  First, it’s good to give the reader/inspector a quick glimpse at the part in question.  We will put a snapshot of the 3D color map on the front page of the report. Adjust the view of the part to the desired orientation, then click the Capture 3D Scene icon.  This will send a snapshot of the current 3D scene to our inspection report.  

  1.  There is now a Report Editor tab next to the 3D Scene tab.  We have started the process of creating a report. We won’t worry about formatting until a little later.


  1.  Hide your color map by middle clicking the icon in the right toolbar.

5.  Now let’s show our alignment.  Hide all features in the tree, and the scan data if needed, by clicking the mouse scroll wheel on the Features branch of the Tree View.  Their icons will disappear, showing they are hidden. Then show Datum Plane A, Datum Plane B, and Datum Circle C by clicking each with the scroll wheel.

6.  Orient the 3D Scene to properly show the datums on the CAD model, then click the Capture 3D Scene icon.

7.  Click on the drf – ABC alignment in the tree, then click Create Report Tables.  This will add a table showing the alignment specs into our report.

  1.  We now want to add all measurable components of our features to the report.  Do this by bringing up the Control Reviewer.  Click the appropriate icon in the toolbar.  This will bring up the Control Reviewer tab.

9.  Select all desired features in the Control list, then click Create Control View.  Leave the default name as Control View 1.

  1.  From the Control drop-down, choose Control View 1.

11.  From the Tree View, show only Cone1, Cone 2, Distance 1, and Angle 1.  Then orient the 3D Scene to a position that shows all features.

  1.  Switch back to the Control Reviewer, then click Create Snapshot and Table.  You may also select the features directly from the Tree View, however the Control Reviewer only shows actual measurable features.  

Ex: a plane will not be included unless it contains applied GD&T, as a standard extracted plane generally has no useful measurement value.  It’s only to use for creating a measurement such as an angle/distance between itself and another feature.

13.  We’ve now created all items for our report.  Click the Report Editor tab pointed out earlier.  The 3D Scene will flip to the Report Editor.

  1.  Let’s organize our report. We will want to do all fine tuning, adjustments, and formatting before moving on to Piece 2.  This ensures we only must set up and edit our report once for all future parts.


  1.  We can see that page 2 of the report contains our color map. Let’s place this right on the title page, that way an inspector or management can immediately see problem areas on the part.

16.  Left click on the snapshot in the main view, then drag it to the tile of Page 1.  It will drop right on the title page.

  1.  While still on Page 2, click and drag the snapshot of the datums to the top of the page.

  1.  Now click the Page 3 tile, then drag the Data Alignment table to page 2, and place it below the snapshot.  We now have a snapshot of the datum features applied to the model, as well as their fitment specs in the table.

  1.  Repeat the process to place the snapshot of the extracted measurements and Control Reviewer table on page 3.

  1.  Delete page 4 as it is now blank.  Click on the tile, then hitting the delete key.


  1.  Keep in mind that we are not limited to 1 snapshot per group.  If multiple views of a 3D deviation map or 3D measurements are required, re-orient the part as necessary and add more snapshots to the report.


  1.  Navigate back to the title page.  Go ahead and drag the 3D deviation snapshot to center on the page.


  1. We now want to populate all information fields of the report.  The following process is for the default report format. The user may create a custom report where all fields are easily populated from one location.
  1.  We want to add the Report Title and Author at the top of the page.  Access these fields by navigating to File=>Properties in the Report Editor.


  1.  Fill in the Title and Author fields, then click Apply.  The top of the report will now reflect this information.

  1.  Click the Piece Properties icon to open the table containing these fields found at the bottom of the report.

  1.  Populate these fields with appropriate information, then click Apply and Close.

  1.  To complete the remaining fields, we will now go to the overall Project Properties.  Access these by navigating to the main Project menu (NOT Report Editor) File=>Project Properties.

  1.  Again, fill in all remaining desired fields, then click Apply, then Close.

  1.  Our first part is now complete, and our report formatted.  We are ready to move to the next part.



1.  Click New Piece.

  1.  The New Piece table will appear.  Ensure “Launch Play Inspection” is selected, then click OK.
  1.  PolyWorks will launch you directly into the Play Inspection, however it does not automatically open a new VX Elements scanning window.   Instead, PolyWorks treats Creaform scan data as an imported file, and will open an import window to browse for a new polygonal model.


  1.  Click Cancel in the Browse window.  Notice that the Play Inspection sequence pauses.  

  1.  Navigate to the Creaform VXScan plugin, then click Show Scan Acquisition Window.  The software will ask whether you would like to continue scanning, or clear the project.  Choose to clear it.


  1.  Scan the new piece.


  1.  Once Accept Scan is clicked in the VX Elements window, the new scan will appear in the PolyWorks workspace, but not aligned to the model.
  • Note:  If the following question appears, click Yes.  This will replace any existing scan data in your tree with the new data.

  1.  Click the Play Button in the Play Inspect.  The scan will automatically Best Fit to the model.  If the Pick Points pre-alignment method was used for Piece 1, PolyWorks will bring up the window and have you perform this first.


  1.  Once the alignment is complete, all features that were previously measured in Piece 1 will be extracted and the Datum Alignment will be applied, completing the inspection.


  1.  You have now successfully completed an auto-inspection sequence of a second piece.  Click on Report 1 in the Tree View. Notice that the report we created in Piece 1 will be completed and updated for the measurements of Piece 2.  Export the report and save the project.


This concludes the Creaform & PolyWorks integration training.

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