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:
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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.
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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:
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.