Handheld laser scanner

  • 17-Jan-2011 04:20 EST

Engineers and machinists at several U.S. Air Force bases are using NVision's HandHeld laser scanner to reverse-engineer complex aircraft parts, which are then machined to high levels of accuracy and installed, maintaining USAF planes in peak working condition. Reverse engineering is often required for aircraft that were originally designed without CAD systems and for which even blueprints can be difficult to obtain. The device is portable and can capture 3-D geometry from objects ranging from the exterior of an aircraft to extremely small parts such as an angle-of-attack sensor. The device is attached to a mechanical arm that moves about the object, freeing the user to capture data rapidly and with high resolution. The mechanical arm keeps track of the scanner's location so all data is collected within the same coordinate system. As a part is inspected, the scanner generates a point cloud consisting of millions of points, each with x, y, z coordinates and i, j, k vectors. Integrated software is used to convert the point cloud to an STL polygon, and an optional tripod provides complete portability in the field. Intuitive software allows real-time rendering, full-model editing, polygon reduction, and data output to standard 3-D packages.

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