3D Digital Scanners Find Ways To Improve Products

Identification International, Inc. (i3) is an American manufacturer of forensic fingerprint-capture devices and software. Our devices are portable, rugged and certified by the FBI to the highest standards. Research, development, sales, HR, and manufacturing are all performed at our Blacksburg, Virginia, headquarters.

In 2011, i3 received a shipment of prisms that were not fitting correctly in our device’s chassis. Traditional methods used to measure the prism’s dimensional attributes failed to identify the assignable cause. We eliminated the chassis as a factor because prisms from other manufacturers fit without issue.

We had evidence that the prisms were at fault, but lacked the proper tools to identify why they did not fit correctly. Thus began the search for a new measurement tool that could enable us to accurately identify the assignable cause. We researched several 3d laser scanners ranging in price from $2995 – $50,000. 3D Digital Corp. stood out as the most attractive offering, striking a balance between accuracy, features and cost. Ultimately, we contacted 3D Digital Corp., and were forwarded to their regional VAR. Our VAR set up a demo where I could observe one of our prisms being scanned, and how the data could be imported into Geomagic Qualify. We made the decision to purchase a 3D Digital scanner package, coupled with Geomagic Qualify analysis software during the first quarter of 2012.

During the implementation phase of the 3D Digital scanner, we experienced issues with the 3D Digital VAR being unable to deliver contractual obligations. After several weeks struggling to obtain useful scan data I contacted 3D Digital and explained the issues that we were experiencing with the scanner and VAR. Satish Mysore contacted me directly, and asked very detailed questions regarding the issues that I was having with the scan data, as well as the issues that we were experiencing with the VAR. Satish worked with me directly, to resolve the issues that I was having, enabling me to obtain accurate, useful data.

Ultimately, through the implementation of the 3D Digital scanner, we found that the prisms were slightly twisted, and that this twist prevented their correct fitment. Through the use of 3d point cloud data obtained by the 3D Digital scanner, input into Geomagic Qualify software, we demonstrated to the prism manufacturer why the prisms did not fit correctly. The data enabled the manufacturer to focus on their process, eliminating the issue for future shipments.

I now use the 3D Digital scanner to audit all prisms, before they enter production. I also use the 3D Digital scanner to troubleshoot parts, and scan parts that may need to be reproduced on our 3d printer.

3D Digital laser set up at i3

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Christopher R. Robinson
Director of Operations

Good Support Helps New 3D Scanner Owner

Recently, I purchased a used 3D Digital Escan Laser 3D Scanner from a popular auction website. To my surprise, it did not come with software and there was no way to find out if the scanner worked. I asked the seller for the software, which he promised to send, but never did. Because of their policy, the auction website, payment system and their insurance claim department would not help me to get a refund. It seems that I was stuck with a useless scanner and no software to run it.

I finally contacted 3D Digital Corp and explained my situation. By that point, I was expecting to pay a large sum for support and for the software, as anyone would expect trying to obtain specific software for a used piece of high-end equipment. To my surprise I received a call directly from the company President, who was concerned about what had happened. Over the next several days, he made a series of personal calls to me to make sure he understood what exactly had happened, and assured me he would do all he could to try to and find the necessary archived files needed since this was an older scanner.

He also made me aware that because it was a used scanner he could not guarantee anything and 3D Digital Corp would not be liable which was fully expected in this situation. To be honest I thought this purchase was going to be an expensive mistake on my part. To my surprise though, several days later I was sent the working software I needed and I now have a scanner that operates perfectly! This Escan is one generation old and still gives better results then competitor scanners that I have used!

I wish to thank everyone at 3D Digital Corp for the help and understanding to make a bad situation turn out great. All of you went above and beyond what I expected! Thanks again!

Leed Gold Certified School in Florida teaches Reverse Engineering with 3D Scanner

We run a CNC and Drafting program at Suncoast High School in Florida. We pride ourselves in teaching information about up-to-date technologies. We wanted to expand our programs to include reverse engineering, so we chose to start by getting a 3D laser scanner.

We purchased the 3DD Corp Escan 3D Scanner from a reseller. We did not have too much trouble in setting it up and getting our first scans. During this first year, we were very satisfied with just scanning an object, and viewing the drawing. We gave each of our 30 students a chance to scan something. Some scanned another student’s face. At this stage, the excitement seemed to be limited to this fascination. They did learn a great deal about 3 dimensional space and how to represent that in CAD Drawing system. We wanted to teach more.

Some scanned another student's faceWe chose to continue the development of the learning experience with the scanner. We set a goal to expect that a quality scan of an object could be used to manufacture something. We wanted to make the scan into an appropriate drawing, convert and use that drawing in creating a set of CNC steps.

We attempted to contact the original reseller to help us to select software that help us with our teaching goals. Time had passed and we no longer had support. They offered to sell us a maintenance and support contract.

So we contacted the people at the 3D Digital Corp. The met us with enthusiastic support at no cost. First, they recommended affordable software that can convert the scans to create the surface models that we needed for our CNC machine. They helped us in improving our scans, to make it more useful. They provided us with a Webinar to teach us more about how to use the scanner better and the software to make all of the conversions.

These drawings can be converted for use in our CNC milling machinesWe are now teaching a more soup to nuts course in Reverse Engineering at the high school level. Our first class contained 25 eager students. We can teach our students to use their imagination. They can develop a concept from an existing 3D object and scan it. They can modify those drawings to fit their new idea. These drawings can be converted for use in our CNC milling machines and create that product idea into reality.

Students also learned more about a manufacturing process that involves tolerances and manufacturing quality. This kind of teaching provides more than a theory of manufacturing, but a real working environment that is exciting to a student.

Richard Filsinger
Drafting, CNC
Reverse Engineering Classes
Suncoast High School, Florida