Getting to know PADT: Zeiss and Geomagic Scanning Products

 This post is the fourteenth installment in our review of all the different products and services PADT offers our customers. As we add more, they will be available here.  As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to info@padtinc.com or give us a call at 1-800-293-PADT.

As engineers, we spend most of our time trying to get geometry we create in a computer out into the real world as a physical part.  But sometimes, we need to go the other way. We need to get real geometry into a computer.  Once there we can measure it accurately, modify it, simulate it, or use it as a reference to design something that connects to it.

There is a lot of power in being able to quickly and accurately digitize objects. Here at PADT we make that power available to our customers through our Scanning & Reverse Engineering Services and through the sale of the same tools we use to our customers so they can bring scanning in-house.  In particular, we represent high-fidelity scanners and software from ZEISS and Geomagic.

Creating Accurate Digital Models

Our own experience with scanning taught us the hard way that the key to creating accurate digital models was outstanding hardware and powerful software. There are a lot of solutions that take shortcuts to “make it easier” or to keep cost down.  We tried those, they didn’t work.  That is why we settled on ZEISS and Geomagic tools because they do work, and they work well.  The process of digitizing geometry is simple: put the part in front of a scanner, scan it, and get a point cloud.  The reality is that the right hardware and software determines if you will spend days to get gigabytes of useless data or if you spend a few hours to get a useful and accurate computer model that you can work with.

Structured Light Scanning

The scanners from ZEISS and Geomagic both use a technology called Structured Light Scanning. Some also refer to it as Fringe Projection.  The way it works is that you couple a precise light projector with a high-resolution digital camera. The projector projects a series of lines onto the part and the camera records how that pattern distorts. The pattern is varied to get more resolution.  The part is also rotated or projector-camera assembly is moved around the part. Either way, light is projected onto the surface in a pattern, and the distorted pattern is recorded.

Then some sophisticated math is used to turn how the pattern is distorted into a highly accurate collection of points across the surface of your part.  That is the end result of Structured Light Scanning – millions of points that sit on the surface of your part.

World Class Scanning Hardware

The quality of the hardware used is key to success in this area.  To be accurate you need a very precise projector, an accurate digital camera (called a sensor in this application) and world-class optics.  Which is how we ended up working with ZEISS.  Their optics are second to none, and they have developed or acquired the best projector and sensor technology in the industry. Combine that with their famous German engineering and quality processes, and you end up with a robust and accurate solution that is second to none.

COMET Structured Light Scanners Deliver

The following COMET Systems from ZEISS are available through PADT:

SystemKey FeaturesResolutionLensesMin VolumeMax Volume
COMET 6 8MIntelligent Light Control
High Speed Sensor
6 Lenses and Fields of View
3296 x 2472 (8 Mp)686 x 64 x 40 mm1216 x 912 x 600 mm
COMET 6 16M4896 x 3264 (16 Mp)681 x 54 x 40 mm1,235 x 823 x 600 mm
COMET L3D 2Compact Design
5 Lenses and Fields of View
Desktop Compatible
2448 x 2050 (5 Mp)545 x 38 x 30 mm481 x 404 x 250 mm
COMET L3D 1MCompact Design
Multiple Resolutions
Multiple Lense Options
Conventional Mount
1170 x 880 (1 Mp)392 x 69 x 60 mm370 x 277 x 250 mm
COMET L3D 2M1600 x 1200 (2 Mp)3100 x 75 x 60400 x 300 x 250 mm
COMET L3D 5M2448 x 2050 (5 Mp)545 x 38 x 30 mm480 x 400 x 250 mm
COMET L3D 8M3296 x 2472 (8 Mp)480 x 60 x 40565 x 425 x 350 mm

Our ZEISS COMET web page is here.

Portable Laser Scanning with Touch Probe May Be a Perfect Fit

Some parts are too big for structured light scanning. Or sometimes you may want to measure a few locations on a larger part.  For those situations, the ZEISS T-SCAN CS Handheld scanner is the perfect fit.  It combines an optical tracking unit, a handheld laser scanner, and a touch probe to give you the flexibility you need to take measurements on large objects. The touch probe is especially useful for measuring key features and locations.

View more about the T-SCAN CS here.

Geomagic Capture Scanners Deliver Portability and Cost Savings

Many of our customers needed a portable solution that cost less and was really only needed to get geometry into their CAD systems.  We searched and found that the Geomagic Capture scanners from 3D Systems are a perfect balance between functionality and cost, delivering high value.

SystemWeightResolutionMin Field of ViewStandoff DistanceMax Field of View
Capture1.35 kg0.11 mm180 x 124 x 120 mm300 mm180 x 190 x 175 mm
Capture Mini1.04 kg0.08 mm70 x 87 x 68 mm157 mm70 x 88 x 87 mm

Learn more about the Geomagic Capture Scanners here.

Proven Scanning Software

Once the points have been captured, no matter how accurately that was done, they are useless if you don’t have the right software tools. Geomagic 3D software and hardware tools are industry leaders for one simple reason: they work. For reverse engineering, inspection, scanning, cleaning up point clouds, or working with mesh-based geometry, no other set of solutions comes close to the capability and robustness of the Geomagic tool package.  We use three packages:

Geomagic Design X: Reverse Engineering

Geomagic Wrap: Point Data to Polygon Models

Geomagic Control: Inspection Automation

Let’s Talk about, And Look At, Your Scanning Needs

Scanning is a technology, by its natures, that begs to be seen.  If you have ever considered adding 3D Scanning to your workflow, or want to know how 3D Scanning can help your productivity, accuracy, and quality, contact us for a discussion and a demo.

 

What we Learned at the Geomagic Conference about Design X and Control X

On September 11th and 12th Mario Vargas (Hardware Manager for PADT Inc.) and I (James Barker, Application Engineer for PADT Inc.) attended Convergence 2017 in Los Angeles, CA.  This event is held by 3D Systems and is the America’s Software Partner Meeting.  Many strategic partners were in attendance from all across the USA, Canada, and Latin America.  We were able to learn about some new enhancements to Geomagic that will help you with Inspection or Reverse Engineering BIG time!  The first day of meetings we heard from Vyomesh Joshi (CEO of 3D Systems referred to as VJ).  He mentioned that 3D Systems has committed 17% to R&D and after going to this event it is apparent!  VJ briefly talked about each of their software options.  The 1st being Control X and how Polyworks currently has the edge for inspection software but after this next software release, he and other 3D Systems employees seemed confident that they could surpass Polyworks.  The 2nd software he talked about was Freeform which allows users to freely design parts by using a haptic device.  This software would be great for creating custom shapes on a whim.  If you haven’t tried a haptic device, you need to!  It will blow your mind as a designer with the freedom you get by using the haptic device and this Freeform Software.  The 3rd software he talked about was Cimatron which aids in the design of mold and die design.  Of the top 10 largest USA mold makers, 7 of them use Cimatron Software.  The 4th software is something new that will be released later this month.  I would love to tell you more about it but can’t….  sorry!

A little about why Mario and I attended this convention, PADT Inc. offers 3D Scanning as both a service and also as hardware or software you can buy.  We use both Geomagic Design X and Geomagic Control X and have experts that are scanning parts for customers for either inspection results or for reverse engineering purposes at our Tempe, AZ office.  The scanner that we use is a CMM quality scanner from Zeiss.  This scanner is capable of scanning 5 million points per scan!  We also offer 3D Systems Capture and Capture Mini scanners which are great tools for reverse engineering.  Each time they scan a part they are capturing about 1 million points per scan.  I am located in the Salt Lake City, Utah office and have a Capture Mini scanner that anyone wanting to see and demo, can come look at and evaluate at our office.  Same holds true for the Capture scanner and Zeiss scanner in our Tempe, AZ Headquarters.  Since we offer these services, we love knowing what new tools are available with these product releases.

Jumping back to the conference, on September 12th, there were breakout sessions.  We chose to go to the Geomagic Design X session to see what enhancements have been made.  This software is the preferred software in all of the industry for reverse engineering parts.  There were many different vendors/partners in the room we were at.  There was even a rep from Faro who prefers to sell Geomagic Design X software with each Faro Arm that he sells because this software is so powerful.  The neat thing about this software is all of the improvements that have been made to it.  If you are accustomed to designing parts with Solidworks, Solidedge, NX, Catia, Pro-E or any of the other CAD software, you will be able to use this software with ease.  Every command that you execute within Design X is editable just like the major CAD software.  You have the ability to create sketches on planes or to make life even easier, there are wizards that automatically create sketches and perform a command like an extrusion or revolve that is editable after completing the wizard.  After you have finished reverse engineering your parts within Design X, you can live transfer your new CAD data over to the above-mentioned CAD software.  Once you have imported this data into NX or Solidworks, you can again edit any of the sketches that were created within Design X but now in your software of choice!  I would love to show you how powerful this software is.  There is a reason why it is the preferred reverse engineering software in the industry.

Geomagic Control X session was next.  It also happened to be the last session of the day.  To be honest, I have only used Design X so I was looking forward to learning more about this software.  From all the demo’s that I have seen in the past from this software, it appeared really hard to use.  That is all changing with this new software release and is the reason why VJ is confident that it will compete and could exceed Polyworks as the preferred software for inspection.  The biggest thing that stuck out to me was the ability to set up a workflow for scanned data for inspection so that you can create your inspection reports.  The idea is that if you have a part that needs to be inspected for quality, you 3D scan the part and then import the CAD file.  By overlaying the scanned data over the CAD data you can show the deviation within the 2 parts and you are able to have different views in a 3D PDF to share with others the actual quality of the part.  As you are assigning your GD&T to this first inspection file, you are creating the first steps of the workflow.  There are many options for the workflow that you can create and 3D Systems has made it easy to create the workflow.  I feel that the power of this software is when you can open up the results of the first inspection report and do a split screen on your monitor to show the 100th or 1,000th part side by side and see how that part deviates from the first.

I had a great time in California at this event even though all of our time was spent at the hotel.  The streets looked nice from the window on the 11th floor.  Maybe next time we will venture out!  If anyone from 3D Systems is reading this, let’s go out to eat next time instead of eating at the hotel for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!  Although the view from the dining room was nice!

If you have any questions about 3D scanning whether it is for Inspection or for Reverse Engineering, let us know at PADT Inc.  We look forward to helping you.

Getting to Know PADT: Part Scanning and Reverse Engineering

This is the first installment in our review of all the different products and services PADT offers our customers. As we add more, they will be available here.  As always, if you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to info@padtinc.com or give us a call at 1-800-293-PADT.

Product innovation doesn’t always start with a blank sheet. Many times our customers need to begin with an accurate representation of their existing products, or a piece that theirs interfaces with, or even a competitive solutions.  That is why we offer scanning and reverse engineering services that take real world parts and convert them into an accurate and useful CAD model.

What is Part Scanning

Part scanning is a process where we use machines to measure geometry.  Before scanning someone would use rulers, calipers, and other measuring devices dating from the industrial revolution to get critical dimensions off of a part and painstakingly document what they find. That got better with Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMM) where you could accurately measure key locations on the geometry. The problem with this approach was that it only gave you data where you measured.  Fine for simple parts like a flange with bolt holes.  But not good when you have crazy free-form surfaces or many features. Another approach was to section the parts and project a shadow onto a piece of paper and trace it.  If you needed more measurements, cost went way up.

To solve this problem, people found a way to measure lots of points easily: scan the part with some sort of optical sensor and measure points on the part as you go.  Early scanning systems used lasers, measuring the beam that bounced back.  This worked well, especially for very large objects.  But was tricky on some surfaces and produced a lot of noise in the data. So researches figured out that they could project patterns of light and dark onto an object and measure how the edges of that pattern bent and warped.   This is called Structured Light Scanning, and Wikipedia has a good article giving more details on how it works. We use the “blue light” version of this process here at PADT for our optical scanning services.

The other process we use is Cross Sectional Scanning. As the name implies it scans the cross section of parts, and it does it by actually shaving off material one layer at a time and then taking a picture of the 2D cross section that is revealed.  Although you consume the part in the process, it is a very accurate and fairly affordable way to measure complex internal geometry.

What you get from both scanning approaches is what we call a point cloud.  What is a point cloud? A file with millions of points defined as an X, Y, and Z position in space that represent locations that sit on the surfaces of the object.  You can measure critical dimensions, compare different geometries, and use it as a basis to create a computer model.  The key thing to note is that PADT uses precise scanners and leading software, combined with the experience of our operators to produce an accurate and usable point cloud.

Creating Accurate Models from Scan Data – Reverse Engineering

For most projects, getting the point cloud is just the first step. In order for our customers to redesign, update, simulate, or interface with the part we scanned, they need an accurate computer model.  Instead of millions of points, the computer model contains a more concise mathematical representation of the surface defined by the points. The simplest thing we can do is simply fit triangles through those points.  This is refered to as a faceted model because it is made up of triangular facets.  This data is used for 3D Printing, rendering, and for design in some cases.  Most often we deliver an STL file for this type of model. If a more accurate representation is needed, our engineers can convert those facets into an actual Computer Aided Design (CAD) model.  It can be just a dumb solid, or we can even make key features parametric.  The geometry can be handed over in many different formats, including IGES, Paraolids, STEP, SolidWorks, SolidEdge, NX, or CREO.

How Part Scanning with PADT Different

To be blunt, the reason why we added scanning to our capabilities was that we had always outsourced this service for our customers.  We found plenty of people with scanners, but they just scanned a part, ran the software, and provided OK data for our customers.  The problem was they were not experts in the technology behind scanning, they lacked a theoretical understanding of math behind 3D computer geometry modeling, and they were not experts in product development.  It turned out that scanning the geometry was the easy part, what our customers needed was someone who knew how to scan it right and produce useful information.  Information they didn’t have to spend time cleaning and massaging. Our engineers combine all of these skills along with a firm understanding of quality requirements, GD&T, and most of the major CAD systems.  In addition, PADT is ITAR compliant and can deal with your confidential geometry and data requirements.  The fact that PADT is a recognized expert in Additive Manufacturing is often useful as well.  We could not find a service provider that had all of the things our customers required, so we decided to do it ourselves.

Leveraging PADT’s Part Scanning and Reverse Engineering Services

Getting parts scanned by PADT is actually fairly easy.  Step one is to contact PADT and talk to our engineers so they can produce a quote.  Ideally it is best for you to bring the part or parts in to our Tempe office. If that is not feasible we will need some basic pictures of your part and key dimensions like maximum length, width, and height. They will then talk with you to understand what you actually want to accomplish by scanning.  Armed with this information they will provide a quote for scanning and any geometry creation or other activities you need completed including cost, schedule, and a list of deliverables.

In  most cases, you will ship us or drop off the part or parts, and our team will go to work.  If needed, we can also come to where the parts are located and scan them there.  The deliverables vary from job to job, and are negotiated as part of the quoting process.  In general we will provide you with an STL or CAD file with the level of accuracy and detail that you ask for. If needed, we can also provide you with the point cloud  itself.  We can also complete inspection reports and provide comparisons between datasets.

Reach out to Give it a Try or Learn More

Our team is ready and waiting to answer your questions or provide you with a quote.  You can email us at info@padtinc.com or give us a call at 480.813.4884 or 1-800-293-PADT.

Still want to learn more? Here are some links to more information:

  • Download or scanning brochure
  • A more detailed blog post on scanning from early 2017, including a “Scanning 101” section with some great background on the technology
  • The 3D Scanning Wikipedia article.  This has lots of basic information as well as more links to greater details.
  • Information on the Geomagic Capture Scanner, an easy to use, compact, and very portable blue light scanner that we use for a lot of projects.
  • Details about the ZIESS Comet optical scanner, a professional and highly accurate blue light scanner that we use for our more demanding projects.
  • An overview of Cross Sectional scanning.
  • A brief summary of the Geomagic Software we use to create useful models from point clouds. It also has links to more in-depth information.
  • An article in Additive Manufacturing magazine about how PADT used our scanners to create a replacement part for a P-51 Mustang airplane.  It includes a great video as well.

 

Part Scanning – An Update

3d-optical-scanner-1Did you know that PADT does scanning of parts?  No? You are not alone. We recently ran into several customers who were sending their scanning out of state and didn’t know that they could have it done by PADT, someone who is already a trusted partner. So we thought it would be a good time to do an update on our Scanning services and provide some additional background on what it is.

Part Scanning 101

The idea behind part scanning is that you want to take a part in the real world, and get an accurate model in a computer. To do this you somehow measure the part with a computer, getting a three dimensional representation of the parts surface.  Today, there are six basic ways to do this:


Physical Measurement (CMM)
Measure points on the part relative to some reference. This is great for measure simple geometry where you can reconstruct it by knowing key dimensions.
scanning-laser-scanningLaser Scanning
This process shines a laser on an object and measures the distance to the object. It does this thousands of times to build up a point array of the surface


scanning-structured-lightStructured Light Scanning
This process puts down a series of parallel lines, or a grid of lines, and measures how far they distort from a flat pattern. With this information it can create a massive amount of points on the objects surface.

scanning-cssCross Sectional Scanning
If you need to see inside, light based scanning does not work. In cross sectional scanning you machine away thin slices of an object and take an accurate picture of each layer as you go. This can then be turned in to an accurate representation of both the inside and outside of the object.
scanning-ct-scannerVolumetric Scanning
Another way around the fact that light can not penetrate an object is to use various types of radiation, like X-Rays, that go inside an object. Although new for industrial applications this method is growing for complex parts with internal geometry.
scanning-photometric-scanningPhotometric Scanning
If accuracy is not critical, then software can take pictures taken from dozens of views and reconstruct a 3D shape.  This is used most often for art and entertainment, but is not precise enough for engineering yet.

PADT offers Structured Light and Cross Sectional Scanning

scanning-point-cloud-surfaceAll of these methods create points in space.  The more sophisticated the software, the more automatic the process of assembling the points to define the surfaces of the full object. These points are sometimes called a “point cloud.”

The Point cloud can them be turned in to a faceted representation of the object.  For many people, this is all they need. This faceted representation can be rendered on a computer screen or 3D Printed.  It can also be used with inspection software to determine the accuracy of the part relative to its original specification as well as variations across multiple copies of the same geometry.

scanning-CAD-modelIf users need more, like a full CAD model, that can be created from the point cloud using specialized software.  PADT uses Geomagic DesignX.  This tool not only creates usable geometry, but it can export in the customer’s native CAD format.

To do accurate part scanning you need:

  1. A precision scanning device
  2. Software to take the measured data and create an accurate point cloud. This includes repair and cleanup tools.
  3. Software to convert the point cloud into a usable 3D CAD model
  4. or, Software to conduct accurate inspection on the measured geometry.

All of these tools require some training and practice to use efficiently.  It is fairly easy to get ball park computer models using consumer level tools. But to get accurate, engineering quality results the right tools and processes must be applied.

Why does Part Scanning Take so Long and Cost So Much?

When people ask for their first part scanning quote, they can often be surprised by the cost. The scanning process doesn’t look that hard. And to be honest, the amount of time you actually spend scanning most parts is pretty short.  The time is spent on the preparation, scanning hard-to-reach areas, the clean up, and then converting the data in to usable formats.

scanning-doing-the-workIf we are working with a light based scanner, we have to prepare the parts so that they reflect the light properly. Sometimes we have to cover the part with a find powder, sometimes we may even have to paint it.  What we need is for the reflection and color of the part to not interfere with the scanning.

If we are using cross sectional scanning, the part needs to be cast inside a rigid material, so the part we are scanning does not distort as we remove layers.  In addition, if the part is not a solid light or dark color, it may need to be died to provide contrast for the camera.

Both processes also require some study to determine the orientation of the part relative to the scanner and how the scanning process will take place. Once all this is worked out, the scanning often goes very fast. If there are nasty little parts that are hard to get to or that confuse the device, the engineer may have to modify things, do some special localized scanning, or even make castings that are then scanned.  As is usual with technical processes, a very small portion of the surface being scanned may take up the vast majority of the scanning time.

Once the scanning is done, the real hard work begins. Although software is much better than it was in the past, the resulting point cloud needs to be massaged and cleaned. Stray data is removed, and points from different scans need to be positioned and combined.  Then everything must be checked. If a CAD solid model is needed, then the engineer must spend considerable time dealing with complex features and transition areas. As with the scanning, the bulk of the time spent creating a CAD model is spent on a relatively small percentage of the geometry.

All of this adds up.  Plus, to be honest, things rarely go as planned and unexpected issues arise that need to be dealt with.

Part Scanning Services at PADT

scanning-geomagic-1Now we get to the important part of this post: hiring PADT to do your scanning.  We added this capability to support our 3D Printing customers that wanted copies of physical parts.  But as we looked at it, we found that we also had customers who needed inspection and reverse engineering of legacy parts. We studied the problem for some time and found the right tools and people to make it happen.

Our primary scanner is a Zeiss Comet L3D 5M STructured light scanner.  It used to be called a Steinbichler, till Zeiss bought them in 2015.  Although it is portable and easy to manipulate, the Comet L3D 5M is highly accurate.  It allows us to scan everything from small medical devices to the front end of acar, and to know that the resulting geometry will be accurate and usable. This is the best option for inspection and reverse engineering of high-precision parts.

scanning-padt-partsWe also have a Geomagic Capture scanner. Although less accurate it is more portable and simpler to operate. It is ideal or taking to a customer and getting geometry for reverse engineering or part copying.

If parts have internal features, and are made of plastic, we use our Cross Sectional Scanners. These high precision devices do a fantastic job and are really the best way to capture inside surfaces. Our customers love it to see how injection molded parts are coming out on well used molds.

If anything else is needed, our experts can outsource to a niche supplier.

Want to do it Yourself?

If you need to do your own scanning, no worries. PADT also sells all the tools we use inhouse to customers that need the capability internally.

Next Steps

scanning-inspection-softwareHopefully this posting has answered most of your questions and you are eager to try 3D Part Scanning.  The best place to start is to get a quote from PADT.  However, if you still have questions then feel free to contact us and fire away. We are passionate bout this capability and love talking about it.

Download our brochure here.

Either way, you can email rp@padtinc.com or call 480.813.4884 and ask to talk about Part Scanning. We also have some information on our website at www.padtinc.com/scanning.

3D Printing Users Lunched & Learned about Dealing with Scanned, Repaired, and Legacy Geometry

PADT-Geometry-Scanning-PartnersThis Thursday we had the first of seven free seminars on how to deal with geometry created with 3D scanning, how to repair faceted geometry, and how to deal with old CAD geometry.  Don’t panic, we have six more scheduled. Scroll down to see the schedule and register for upcoming versions of this seminar. The inaugural session was held in PADT’s Tempe office and engineers from several departments across the company shared the tools we use in consulting and the lessons we have learned over the years to a pack room full with customers that represented everything from the home inventor to engineers from some of Arizona’s largest aerospace and electronics companies.

badgeometry

As more and more companies do 3D printing we are finding that they struggle with imperfect geometry. Whether it was scanned, from another CAD system, or an STL (3D Printer) file from someone else, when it came time to print parts people were having difficulty getting valid geometry.  So we created a road show to go over the tools we use here to 1) get good scan geometry in the first place, 2) convert scan geometry into something useful, and 3) repair bad STL and CAD files.

Things got kicked off with a presentation on the various ways you can scan 3D geometry.  Our scanning engineer, Ademola, also demonstrated our Geomagic Capture and Steinbichler scanner on some real parts.

padt-scanning-spaceclaim-seminar-tempe-3-2015_05_14

After some food, we moved on to looking at Geomagic Design X.  This is the tool we use to convert our scan data to a fully usable and clean CAD model.  If you have tried to go from scan to CAD without this tool, you know how much work it is.  padt-scanning-spaceclaim-seminar-tempe-2015_05_14

Next we looked that the tool that we use to import, modify, and clean existing geometry: SpaceClaim.  As the presenter Tyler Smith said “No matter the source of geometry, SpaceClaim is the tool to help”

padt-scanning-spaceclaim-seminar-tempe-2-2015_05_14

We finished up with topological optimization. Where we spent most of the event talking about how to get good geometry, in this last presentation we talked about how to make the geometry better by using simulation to optimize the shape of your parts.

padt-scanning-spaceclaim-seminar-tempe-5-2015_05_14

It was a great crowd with the kind of questions you hope for when doing a seminar.  If you are in the Southwest, there is still time to attend one of these lunch & learns being held in other locations. Click on the event you want to register.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Or you can contact PADT directly to learn more about the products and services we covered, which included:

 

Press Release: Dedicated 3D Scanning Added to Round Out PADT’s Scanning Solutions

3d-optical-scanner-1

PADT has been offering 3D Scanning solutions for some time. Over time the company has added the sale of 3D Scanning hardware and software, training for 3D Scaning, and limited 3D Scanning services.  With the addition of a full time scanning engineer, PADT is now able to offer deciated scanning servcies to our customers.

Ademola Falada joins our team from Minnesota where he worked for a scanner manufacturer, CGI, for two years after graduating with an engineering degree from the University of Minnesota.  He brings extensive knowledge of scanning equipment and the scanning process.  Since joining PADT in the late summer, he has been providing limited services to our existing customers as he builds up our scanning capability and puts everything needed to provide a world class service in place.  He will be assisted by engineers and technicians that have been providing scanning on a part time basis in the past.

cross-sectional-scanning      

By offering optical and cross sectional scanning, PADT can provide a more accurate solution to a broader range of customers.  

Read the press release on this expanded service below

.Geomagic-Capture

You can also review our scanning services on our website

Or simply email us at rp@padtinc.com or call 480.813.4884 and our team will be more than happy to explain what we can do and provide you with a quote. 

 geomagic-qualify-probe-screenshot 

Press Release:

Dedicated 3D Scanning Added to Round Out PADT’s Scanning Solutions 

PADT now has a full time engineer and equipment dedicated to providing 3D Scanning services to customers.  Coupled with the sales and support of 3D scanners and software, PADT can now offer a complete solution to its growing number of scanning customers. 

Tempe, AZ – January 8, 2015 – Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT, Inc.), the Southwest’s largest provider of simulation, product development, and rapid prototyping services and products, is pleased to announce the addition of complete 3D part scanning to our services offering.  Based on growing customer requests, PADT has invested in equipment, software, and personnel to provide a dedicated resource in this area.  The company has been providing scanning as a service for many years, but on a part time basis when staff was free and customers could not find another resource.  PADT’s 3D Printing sales team has also been selling scanners and scanning software for over three years.  Bringing someone on board to focus on this critical need in product development was the next logical step.



3D Scanning is used by engineers to take a part in the real world and measure it accurately in order to get a model of the part on a computer.  This is done using a variety of technologies including lasers, patterned light, and high resolution pictures. The technology is used in product development to capture geometry of existing parts to reproduce (reverse engineering) them or design parts that attach or interact with them. It can also be used to inspect manufactured parts.



Ademola Falada joins our team from Minnesota where he worked for a scanner manufacturer, CGI, for two years after graduating with an engineering degree from the University of Minnesota.  He brings extensive knowledge of scanning equipment and the scanning process.  Since joining PADT in the late summer, he has been providing limited services to our existing customers as he builds up our scanning capability and puts everything needed to provide a world class service in place.  He will be assisted by engineers and technicians that have been providing scanning on a part time basis in the past.



“We are now ready to open our doors wide to customers who need accurate, timely, and useful scanning of their parts.” Commented Rey Chu, one of PADT’s owners and the Principal responsible for the company’s manufacturing services. “We never felt that we could deliver the level of service that customers expect from PADT until we had enough equipment and a dedicated engineer. We are there now.”



The scanning lab consists of two CGI Cross Sectional Scanners for high fidelity scanning of complex plastic parts with internal features, a Geomagic Capture blue light scanner, and a Steinbichler high resolution blue light scanner currently under evaluation. This combination of equipment is matched with the full suite of Geomagic scanning software to provide inspection data, cleaned point clouds, tessellated solids (STL), or usable CAD models. 



Customers who are interested in having parts scanned, or who want to learn more about the service, can contact the team at 480.813.4884 or scanning@padtinc.com 



Phoenix Analysis and Design Technologies, Inc. (PADT) is an engineering service company that focuses on helping customers who develop physical products by providing Numerical Simulation, Product Development, and Rapid Prototyping products and services. PADT’s worldwide reputation for technical excellence and an experienced staff is based on its proven record of building long term win-win partnerships with vendors and customers. Since its establishment in 1994, companies have relied on PADT because “We Make Innovation Work.“  With over 75 employees, PADT services customers from its headquarters at the Arizona State University Research Park in Tempe, Arizona, its Littleton, Colorado office, Albuquerque, New Mexico office, and Murray, Utah office, as well as through staff members located around the country. More information on PADT can be found at www.PADTINC.com.

Scanning Helps Pediatric Heart Surgeon Make Implant Choices

heart-assist-deviceThe week we had the opportunity to help a surgeon make better decisions for their pediatric heart patient.  Dr Stephen Paphal from the Phoenix Children’s Heart Center had a young patient that needed a ventricular assist device. He could implant a device that they knew would fit in the patient, but they also had an alternative, larger device that performs better. The question they needed to answer was: will the larger device fit in the patient?

This surgeon’s team has previously done work using mechanical engineering technology to help them make better decisions, you may have read about their use of 3D Printing to evaluate different treatment options.  They often work with computer models of patients and devices n collaboration with spinal surgeon Dr. Sandro LaRocca in New Jersey, so they had almost all the tools they needed to help this patient.

For this case, they had a computer model of the smaller assist device, and a computer model of the patient’s heart area that they extracted from a CAT scan. Using those two models and visualization software they were able to insert the device model into the body model to verify that the smaller device would fit.

The issue they faced was that they had no computer model for the larger device.  Creating a model the traditional way would take to long. So they called PADT and asked if we could scan the actual object and give them a computer model that they could use.

Just in Time Scanning

One of PADT’s engineer, Johnathon Wright, took the device to our Geomagic Capture blue light scanner to extract a surface model from the real part.  In this image you can see the device being scanned:

heart-assist-scan-on-tableBecause the device is reflective, we covered it with a white powder to get a better scan. That is all the preparation needed.  The part was placed on a very sophisticated rotational displacement device (a $10 Lazy Susan from WalMart) and the scanner is turned on.  The  little reflective dots you can see on the Lazy Susan are used by the scanning software to determine the position of the objects relative to the scanner.

In this image you can see what the part looks like to the scanner:heart-assist-blue-light-scan-1A rectangular pattern of blue light is projected on to the part being scanned, and the included software measures the distortion in the grid to calculate the shape of the object. As you rotate the object (or the scanner) more data is gathered and an accurate point cloud of the external surface is created.

Here is what the point cloud looks like when the scan is completed:

heart-assist-scan-data

In about an hour, Johnathon was able to go from “can you do this” to a water-tight solid that the Doctor could use with his computer model of the patient to see if this larger, better part fit in the patient’s chest.

Here is what the whole setup looks like:

heart-assist-scan-2

Johnathon used Geomagic’s scanning tools running on a PADT CUBE computer that is specifically optimized for scanning to make the process faster and more accurate. In the past, a task like this would have required an expensive and temperamental laser scanner, a dedicated lab, and probably four to eight hours of engineering time to clean up the resulting scan data. As you can see, the device sits on a desktop and requires very little infrastructure or special equipment.

Disruptive Technology

Any day we can help a physician strive for a better surgical outcome is a good day. Beyond that this is also a great example of how three important aspects of the technology enabled us to deliver useful information quickly, making desktop scanning a disruptive technology.

The first key technology is the blue-light scanning itself.  A form of structure-light 3D scanning, this approach uses a blue light because it contrasts the object better. The breakthrough with this technology is that it does not require expensive lasers or complex optics.  Faster computing allows for the complex algorithms used to be quickly and accurately applied.  The approach does not require any special equipment beyond the scanner itself. This results in an affordable device that is easily deployed and operated.  How easy, the 3D motion capture device on the Microsoft Xbox Kinect is a structure-light 3D scanner – using infrared light instead of blue.

Modern software used to convert the scan data into useful information is the second technology deployed for this solution.  In the past the process of calculating the points on a scanned surface, cleaning up spurious data, and converting it to a form that could be easily used was tedious and difficult.  The Geomagic software suite has a modern, intuitive user interface that sits on top of very sophisticated tools that automate many of the steps that used to take us hours to carry out.

The final key technology that makes desktop scanning so disruptive is one that we take for grated today: standards. We were able to produce an STL file from the scan data and the Doctor’s team was able to read that directly in to their visualization software. It is a simple thing, but without standard file formats, transferring so much data would also involve translators which introduce errors and time.

Engineering Better Outcomes

Here at PADT we truly enjoy applying technology developed in the Aerospace or electronics space to other industries, especially medical applications.  This is another great example of how useful engineering tools can be, improving someones life directly.

Desktop 3D Scanning with Geomagic Capture


Geomagic-Capture

If you have been following PADT closely for a while, you know that we have been working hard to find good scanning solutions for our customers since we started the company twenty years ago.  For many years we recommended professional inspection service providers that used traditional CMM devices to reverse engineer or inspect parts, we just didn’t have a good scanning solution in-house.

A few years back we found a great solution for many of our customers when we started using and selling Cross Sectional Scanners (CSS) from CGI. This technology works great with plastic parts and is highly accurate, especially for parts with internal features. However we still needed a solution for metal parts and parts that you can’t chop up when you inspect them.

sean-head-laser-scanSo we kept looking at scanners, we tried a variety of hand-held laser scanners.  We even made it on the local news using it on a local news anchor to scan his head. But we could not get the ease of use and accuracy we wanted for engineering.

Then Geomagic introduced the Geomagic Capture system and we gave it a try.  We feel that we now have a desktop scanning solution that we can recommend to customers and we have proven we can do engineering services work with. So we now sell the Geomagic Capture scanning system and provide non-destructive 3D scanning as a service.

Here is a great introductory video that shows the system and how it works:

Not a Laser

The big difference with this system is that it is not a laser scanner. It actually is a blue Structured-Light scanner.  Basically it projects a pattern of lines onto an object, and measure how the lines deviate from being straight. That deviation gives a very accurate measurement of the location of points on the surface of the object.  No laser, no reflective dots, no problems with stray data.  
geomagic-capture-scanner

In our testing the system seems to work on a variety of surface types and shapes.  If the object is reflective or too dark, you simply cover it with a chalky powder and everything is good.  Not using lasers, the device is also relatively small and compact.

A System: Hardware and Software

One of the reasons why we like this particular scanner over others is that it is a solution that contains both hardware and software. In fact, the scanner technology itself has been around for some time. What makes this scanner our choice is that Geomagic, experts in dealing with the output from scanners, developed the software that gathers and massages the data coming from the scanner. This makes a huge difference in ease of use.

Our engineers are still learning all the ins-and-outs on the system, but they were able to do productive work with it almost right out of the box.  The software steps you through the process and give really nice visual feedback while you are setting up a scan. This avoid the need to scan, review, fix something, try again, check… round and round.  And once you have good point data, you have the full suite of Geomagic tools to convert it into an STL file or into a usable CAD model.

When you purchase the Geomagic Capture system you have your choice of:

  • Geomagic Capture for SolidWorks
    Add-in software for SolidWorks, that presents the Geomagic tools you need in the SolidWorks interface you are used to working with.
  • Geomagic Capture for SpaceClaim
    Add-in software for SpaceClaim, combining best-in-class scanning, facet, and point cloud tools with a robust direct solid modeler, all in the same interface.
  • Geomagic Capture for Design X
    Powerful and comprehensive advanced reverse engineering that allows you to create feature-based CAD models directly from your scan data.
  • Geomagic Capture for Design Direct
    A bundle that includes SpaceClaim and the Geomagic Capture plug-in as a complete solution for those that do not have a CAD system that supports working with point data. This package is best if you have a CAD package other than SolidWorks or SpaceClaim.

Specifications 

Here are the specifications for the system:

Specification Value
Scan Speed 0.3 sec per scan
Field of View (Diagonal)/Near End – Far End 172 – 260 mm
6.77 – 10.24 in
Field of View (X-Y)/Near End – Far End 123×120 – 192×175 mm
4.84×4.72 – 7.56×6.89 in
Clearance Distance 300 mm
11.81 in
Depth of Field 180 mm
7.09 in
Resolution Average Points 985,000 per scan
Average Polygons 1.97 million per scan
Point to Point Distance 0.162 mm
0.000638 in
(at center of volume)
Accuracy / Near End – Far End 60 – 118 microns
Calibration Pre-calibrated

geomagic-capture-brochureYou can also download the brochure here.

Try it on Your Part

The best way to see if this is the right scanner for you is to contact PADT and have us do a scanning job for you.  As always with PADT we will not just do the work, but we will show you what we did and help you to see what your best solution is.