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.



  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.


  1.  To connect the C-Track, click the drop-down in the lower left-hand corner to Creaform VX Probe.  Then click the button to connect.


  1.  The VX Elements splash screen should appear, followed by an un-dockable VX Elements panel.  This is a full VX Elements session running in conjunction with PolyWorks. You may right click on the VX Elements panel to see a list of all functions available in VX Elements.



We will calibrate our entire system through PolyWorks.  It is essential that we calibrate the Ctrack first, then calibrate the MetraSCAN and HandyPROBE.


Ctrack Calibration:


  1.  Right Click on VX Elements pane and select Calibrate Ctrack
  • 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.
  • Note 2:  The system must stabilize its internal temperature with the new environment for about 15-30 minutes before calibration.  If kept in a single location, leaving the Controller connected to power (doesn’t have to remain turned on) will drastically reduce this time.

  1.  Using the C-Track calibration bar, follow the on-screen instructions to move to the correct positions within the field of view.  To begin calibration click Start.


  1.  The first set of measurements are taken with the bar held vertically, and the flat target faces pointing toward the C-Track.  The ends of the bar must fall within the boxes shown on the screen for the measurement to be taken. The boxes will turn from red to green when the correct position is achieved.

  1.  The second set of measurements are taken with the flat target faces pointing toward the C-Track, and bar held horizontally.


  1.  The third set of measurements are taken with the angled target faces pointing toward the C-Track, and the bar angled down.

  1.  The fourth and final set are taken with the angled target faces pointing toward the C-Track, and the bar angled up.

Expected Results:  The calibration value of the C-Track must remain constant over time and ideally below 0.035

HandyPROBE Calibration:

Calibrate with Cone (for Straight Probes)

  1.  Right click the VX Elements pane, choose the desired probe, and select Calibrate with Cone





  1.  Place the calibration artifact in front of the C-Track on a stable plane surface
  • Note:  DO NOT calibrate with additional reflective targets in the field of view
  1.  Adjust position of cone relative to C-Track by placing the artifact in the square shown on-screen



  1.  Place probe tip in the center of the cone
  2.  Press Start, or press the stylus Check button
  1.  Move the stylus in the cone to match the positions in the viewer
  • The target position is displayed in red.  Move stylus over the recommended target positions
  • When stylus is correctly positioned, the target color turns green.
  • The probe must always remain in contact with the cone to ensure proper calibration


  1.  Once completed, click on OK to accept the optimization.

Calibrate with Sphere (for Angled Probes)


  1.  Right click the VX Elements pane, choose the desired probe, and select Calibrate with Sphere
  2.  Enter approximate probe dimensions and probe orientation, then click OK


  1.  Place the calibration artifact in front of the C-Track on a stable plane surface
  • Note:  DO NOT calibrate with additional reflective targets in the field of view
  1.  Adjust position of cone relative to C-Track by placing the artifact in the square shown on-screen
  2.  Press Start, or press the stylus Check button
  3.  Probe 5 points distributed on the sphere with the HandyPROBE stylus in each of the 5 position shown in the 3D View



  1.  Once complete, click OK to accept calibration

Expected Results:  The calibration value of the HandyPROBE should remain consistent over time and typically follow the formula below:

Calibration Value (mm) = 3x10-5 x L (mm) + 0.016

Where L is the extension length


MetraSCAN Calibration:

  1.  Place the user calibration plate on a stable plane surface
  • Note:  DO NOT calibrate with additional reflective targets in the field of view
  1.  Connect the USB cable of the plate to an open slot on the computer
  2.  Right Click the VX Elements panel and choose Calibrate Scanner
  3.  Adjust the position of the plate relative to C-Track by placing the artifact in the square shown on the screen.


  1.  Click Accept or the Check button on the scanner to launch the calibration


  • Note:  Keep MetraSCAN out of field of view of C-Track while clicking this button.  Additional targets confuse software. Once the calibration process is started, you can walk into the C-Track’s field of view with the scanner
  1.  Click the scanner trigger to start the scan.
  2.  Move the scanner over the plate to match the positions described in the viewer


  1.  Once completed, click OK to accept the optimization.

Expected Results:  The calibration value of the MetraSCAN must remain constant over time and ideally below 0.110




  1.  Place positioning targets all around the part (above, under, right, left, in front, behind.)  Do not align positioning targets, and sure to place them on the same rigid object (targets cannot move in relation to one another.)
  2.  Use enough positioning targets (at least 6).

  1.  Distribute targets throughout the volume.

  1.  Right click on VX Elements pane, and choose Detect Targets
  2.  VX Elements window will open and display targets seen by C-Track in blue.
  3.  While holding CTRL, window in all seen targets with left mouse button.  All selected targets will turn red.

7.  Click Accept on the right side of the window.

  1.  The C-Track Display will now show the number of targets acquired, and number of known targets seen by the C-Track at that moment.


  1.  For larger areas that cannot be encompassed by the field of view for the Ctrack, extend your volume by using good overlapping (ensure at least 5 original targets are seen.)  



  1.  Repeat steps 4 through 7 to add targets to your working volume.  The Ctrack may now be positioned to look at any point within this volume where it recognizes at least 5 targets.  



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

2.  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.

4.  We must create features before we perform any alignments.  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.7.  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.




10.  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.  Switch over to the Tree View and select Plane 1 and Cone 1


  1.  Flip back to the Dialogue Zone and click Create.  A circle will appear at the intersection of Plane 1 and Cone 1.
  1.  We now have enough features to run a Datum Alignment, aligning the working volume of the C-Track to the CAD file.  First, we will need to probe the created features.

15.  Select all features in the tree, right click on them and select Probe Measured.

  1.  Probe all features with the HandyPROBE stylus.  Use the large center button (or large lower-grip buttons) to take points on the surface of the part.  The screen will display the number of points taken for each feature. When the desired number of points are recorded for a given feature, click the Check Button on the stylus to accept the feature.  If you would like to remove the previous point(s), hit the X button.
  • Note:  The screen will highlight the face to be measured, however we will not yet see the probe in the 3D scene as we are not yet aligned to the model.



  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.



  1.  We can now align the working volume of the C-Track (and the actual part) to the CAD model.  From the Alignments drop-down, choose Datum Reference Frame Alignment.



19.  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.



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



21.  Once the DRF is created, select ABC in the window and choose Align.  This will align our working volume to the CAD file.


22.  We can now verify out alignment by Right Clicking on the CAD file and choosing Build/Inspect.  This will allow us to move the probe across the surface of the part and see a live deviation in the upper right corner of the 3D Scene.  



  1.  We can also place 3D Comparison points by clicking the Probe button while touching the part.  This will create 3D deviation points in the Tree View that may be reported.


  1.  We will now create a couple more features, a linear measurement, and an angular measurement.  First, choose the Create Features icon again, and change the feature 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.


27.  Change the feature from Multiple Types to Distance.  Choose Datum Circle C for the Reference Feature, and Cone 2 for the Feature, then click Create.  This will place a 3D distance between both features on the model.


  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 these features in the Tree View do not have measured components, as we have not yet measured them.  Only the Plane and Cone require measurement, as both the distance and angle will automatically extract once their parent features are measured.  This is also true for parent-child feature measurements.

  1.  If we wanted to continue probing, we would select Plane 2 and Cone 2, then follow steps 15-17.   However, we will use the MetraSCAN to extract these features.


  1.  First we need scan data.  To access scanner, navigate to Plug-ins=>Creaform=>VXscan

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

  1.  Click the expanding arrow to set the desired scanning resolution.  Adjust the shutter speed if necessary.

  1.  Hold the trigger on the scanner for a couple seconds to enter scan mode, or hit the Scan button in the VX Elements window.
  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.
  1. The VX Elements scan window will close, and the scan will appear properly aligned and overlaid on the CAD file.  Click Close on the VX Elements Dialogue Zone box.

  1.  Select Plane 2 and Cone 2 in the Tree View, right click and choose Extract Measured.  This will measure the features with the scan data and give the true linear and angular measurement.
  1.  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.

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

 41.Click directly on the part in a few key high-deviation areas to add 3D Comparison points if desired.


  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

  1.  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.
  1.  Hide the measured data by clicking the mouse scroll wheel on it in the Tree View.
  2.  Now let’s show our alignment.  Hide all features in the tree 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.
  1.  Orient the 3D Scene to properly show the datums on the CAD model, then click the Capture 3D Scene icon.

8.  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.

  1.  Select all desired features in the Control list, then click Create Control View.  Leave the default name as Control View 
  1.  From the Control drop-down, choose Control View 1.

  1.  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.

15.  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.  

  1.  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 view per group.  If multiple snapshots 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.

27.  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.  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.  Right Click on the VX Elements panel and choose Reset Project.

  1.  At this point, if the new part to be measured contains new reflective targets, Right Click on the VX Elements panel again and run the Detect Targets sequence.


  1.  Click New Piece.

  1.  The New Piece table will appear.  Ensure “Launch Play Inspection” is selected, then click OK.

  1.  The New Piece table will appear.  Ensure “Launch Play Inspection” is selected, then click OK.


  1.  PolyWorks will launch you directly into the probe interface and walk you through probing all features from Piece 1.

  1.  Follow the directions on the screen and probe all required features.  Once measurement of the alignment features, in our case Datums, are complete, the software will automatically align the Ctrack working volume to the model.  

  • Note:  If subsequent features must be probed, PolyWorks will display the Probe as it moves to the correct location on the model in the 3D Scene.



  1.  When it comes time to scan, PolyWorks does not automatically open a new VX Elements scanning window.  It treats Creaform scan data as an imported file, and will open an import window to browse for a new polygonal model.+
  2.  Click Cancel in the Browse window.  Notice that the Play Inspection sequence pauses.  

  1.  Navigate to the Creaform VXScan plugin, click Show Scan Acquisition Window, and scan the second part.  Once Accept Scan is clicked, the new scan will appear aligned with 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.  Any remaining features that were previously measured with scan data will be extracted, and the inspection process will finish.


  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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