Alexander Payne’s new film, “Downsizing”

Every now and then we have the privilege of working on very unique and exciting projects.
In 2016, our teams at both Selftraits and Objex Unlimited 3D scanned and printed hundreds of extras, props and models to assist in the production of Alexander Payne’s new film, “Downsizing.”
This film chronicles a scientist that discovers how to shrink humans to 5 inches… Pretty much the thing we do best! 😀

Using our in-house photogrammetry solutions design and manufacture in Toronto, alongside some of Artec’s leading handheld scanners we were able to assist in this “Downsizing” process.
Watch the trailer Here:

 

 

Delivering a new life to Hernandez-Torres conjoined twins with 3D printed anatomical models

FAKING IT WITH FOSSILS

3D PRINTING FOR FOSSIL REPRODUCTION WITH 3D SYSTEMS PROJET 660

Author: Courtney Link | 3D Printing Production & Finishing Artist | BA Anthropology & Religion, Diploma – Museum Studies


INTRODUCTION

's reconstruction of Orthoceras

Figure 1: Artist’s reconstruction of Orthoceras.

In April 2016, Stephen Vickers, a 3D Survey Specialist with EllisDon Virtual Construction Services, came to Objex Unlimited with the challenge of reproducing fossils he found locally along the Etobicoke Creek in Toronto, Ontario. The area had been undergoing erosion control and had strong, varying currents and water levels, which may have led to the discovery of the fossils.

The fossils being reproduced include three Conical Nautiloids Orthoceras, a straight cephalopod, and one unknown tooth or bone. The Orthoceras Cephalopod is a long-lost ancestor of the modern day squid and octopus that lived between 250 and 480 million years ago. Orthoceras means “straight horn”, and refers to its elongated long straight shell (Figure 1). The fossils vary in colour but all have the similar long tubular indentations (Figure 2). These types of fossils have been found across the world indicating this marine cephalopod was plentiful and thriving for some time. The other fossil, of unknown origin, resembles some sort of tooth or bone (Figure 3).

The fossils were scanned by the company EllisDon, a construction company that offers virtual design and construction, using a FARO ScanArm®. This type of scanner differs from those used for typical object scanning, such as other handheld mobile scanners, like the Artec Spider or Eva. The ScanArm is a metrology probe with non-contact laser scanning sensor that provides high-precision 3D measurement and imaging used in a variety of industries. The scans were modelled using open source software MeshLab for surface reconstruction. Each scan was completed in under an hour by Vickers himself at low resolution for a speedy demo at the EllisDon office. Although the scanning was minimal, they captured enough data to create identical replicas of the face, and most sides of each fossil. Despite using state of the art scanners, EllisDon did not have their own 3D printer and found that those offered for use through public libraries were limited in their technological abilities. They brought this problem to Objex Unlimited in the hopes that the scans could be reproduced and 3D printed.

Figure 1: Tamura, Nobu. “Paleoart Portfolo.” Spinops, n.d. 05 May 2016. http://spinops.blogspot.ca/

Conical Nautiloid Orthoceras

Figure 2: Two replicas of a fossil that is believed to
belong to a Conical Nautiloid Orthoceras.

fossil believed to be a bone or tooth and the replica

Figure 3: A fossil believed to be a bone or tooth
(right) and the replica created at Objex Unlimited (left).

 

 

 

 

 

 


THE PROCESS

Figure 4: The 3D Printing Post-Production Process for Projet 660

The 3D models were printed on a 3D Systems ProJet® 660Pro ColourJet printer using VisiJet® PXL™, a sandstone-based powder. The ProJet®660Pro is a professional full-colour printer, however due to the composition of the fossils they were printed in white and hand-painted in order to capture the beautiful organic colours exhibited by the naturally occurring aggregates. One of the biggest challenges when reproducing fossils, or similar stone artifacts, is the variety of colours and textures present on one surface. Although the printers can achieve high quality color variations, they have yet to reach the perfection of precise colour variation that can be reached with hand painting.

Once removed from the print bed, the fossils go through a standard post-processing procedure that is typical for sandstone prints (figure 4). The object is first sanded using various tools, and depending on the texture of the object, additional sanding is often required. For these objects in particular, minimal sanding was ideal as not to remove the delicate and detailed surface textures. Next, the infiltration process occurs, ensuring each fossil is coated with cyanoacrylate, a type of glue, which strengthens the models. To add additional strength to the models for frequent handling, an additional coating of B-72 was applied.

Paraloid B-72, a thermoplastic resin, has been used successfully for significant increase in strength for sandstone parts, it also acts as a protective barrier for the raw model decreasing the risk of damage from water and oils from handling.

In this particular case, once the objects were fully infiltrated, the painting process began: using oil paints, the models were hand painted over several days. The art of painting fossils and rocks is working with washes and layers, which can be a very long process since each coat of paint should dry fully before moving on to the next one. A variety of colours were used including reds, greens, and browns. Fine details and speckling were part of the final touches followed by a clear coat. When creating models that will be handled frequently, a clear coat is absolutely essential in order to protect the model itself and keep the paint finish.


THE PURPOSE

Creating replicas of fossils or other artifacts within private and museum collections is beneficial for both the institution and the visitors. By providing replicas as part of displays or programming activities, visitors are able to physically handle objects, creating a more immersive and engaging environment. In the past hands-off policies have been strictly enforced in museums and similar institutions. Recently, there has been a trend towards increasing more hands-on activities; this past year the MET allowed visitors to touch some of the world’s most famous paintings in an attempt to increase attendance and visitor engagement. What many people don’t know is that even natural oils from human hands can cause damage to some artifacts, no matter how gentle the handling is.

When reproductions are used, not only can guests handle an array of objects freely, but the originals are at no risk of deterioration. With increasing interest in accessibility, especially in Ontario with the Accessibility Act, these sorts of objects are extremely useful for aiding individuals with disabilities, such as blindness, in having equal opportunity to enjoy exhibits and participate in programming activities.

Vickers is one of many professionals in this field seeking to engage the community on a whole new level. As many cultural professionals have begun to embrace the possibilities of 3D scanning and printing, it is evident that creating a more interactive space in our institutions is important. With models that can be handled visitors connect with the content and physical objects on a new level, not only are we being engaged visually, but now tactilely.


THE BENEFITS

3D Printed Fossils 3D Systems Objex Unlimited

One of the replicas (left) and original fossil (right).

Traditionally, museum objects, similar to the fossils, have been reproduced using molding and casting techniques, which can be invasive with the potential to cause damage to the items (figure 5). The first step of the process involves applying a removable protective coating. The artifact is then set up in plasticine and the mold is created over several days. Generally, silicone molds are made with a more rigid mother mold, often fiberglass or plaster. The replica is then cast using a resin or the desired finished material, depending on the object being reproduced, and the artifact must be cleaned following the mold-making process. The entire process can take up to a week or longer depending on the complexity of the artifact. Sometimes if an object is abstract in form, the casting process can take several attempts in order to produce a lifelike replica without imperfections.

 By utilizing 3D scanning, the entire process of artifact reproduction becomes easier and less invasive. By minimizing the handling of the object, conservators diminish the risks to the artifact and greatly reduce time spent waiting on the molding materials to cure. In addition, 3D scanning and printing is more cost-effective; the process saves both time and money, as demonstrated in Table 1. The costs for reproductions created using traditional molding and casting are based on a Junior Conservator’s fees as of December 2015. Costs include the reproduction of the 3 small sized fossils.


3D TECHNOLOGIES vs. TRADITIONAL MOLDING & CASTING METHODS

Table 1: Cost comparison between molding and casting methods of artifact reproduction versus using 3D technologies

Table 2: Cost comparison between molding and casting methods of artifact reproduction versus using 3D technologies

 

 

 


CONCLUSION

Fossils 3D printing techniques

A side by side comparison of the accuracy of using 3D technologies and hand painting.

Each of the fossil replicas was completed successfully with the data provided. In the future, a high-resolution scan of all sides of the object would be beneficial in order to recreate the entire object. At Objex Unlimited, we have had great success scanning a variety of objects, big and small, using the Artec Eva and Artec Spider scanners offered by OEM Artec 3D.

If we think back to how our reproduction process began, the scanning process, the opportunities for safe guarding collections and rare objects go beyond reproductions. Many institutions have begun to incorporate 3D scanning as a conservation and collections management tool. The scans can be used to track deterioration, document the object themselves, not to mention open up the collection to the masses by implementing digital databases.

The fossils, and replicas, part of Vickers private collection were on display at the 2016 Ontario Heritage Conference in Stratford, Ontario from May 12-14. The 3D scans of the fossils, among other objects, can be accessed online through Vickers’ Sketchfab (svickers).

 

Read more

Introducing Artec Studio 12

Artec 3D

SOURCE: Artec 3D

April 24, 2017 09:00 ET

Artec 3D Releases Artec Studio 12 Software Featuring Enhanced 3D Intelligence, Speed and Workflow

New Intelligence-Based Software Saves Post-Processing Time with 28 New Features for New and Experienced Users

PALO ALTO, CA–(Marketwired – Apr 24, 2017) – Artec 3D, a developer and manufacturer of professional 3D hardware and software, today announced the launch of Artec Studio 12, the newest version of its state-of-the-art software for professional 3D scanning and data processing. Following the footsteps of the next generation AI-based 3D scanner Artec Leo, the intelligence-based Artec Studio 12 software boasts enhanced speed, an improved user interface, and new automated features that minimize the time needed for scanning and processing. It incorporates 28 new features, 75
percent of which were based upon customer requests.

“The feedback we receive from our customers is one of the most valuable resources we possess,” said Artyom Yukhin, president and CEO of Artec 3D. “With Artec Studio 12, we took our direction from our users to create the most advanced software yet. The new features will dramatically lower the time needed for post-processing for both experienced and new customers alike, without sacrificing quality.”… Read more

3D Printed Factory Claw

Printing parts that “work” – the engineer’s desktop

3D Printing brings a whole new dimension to the world of engineers, fabrication and designers. We’ve discussed at length in previous articles the many misconceptions about the world of 3D Printing. In the following article, I’ll focus on the true value of having a 3D Printer in your workflow as an engineer or designer. Just like anything else, a 3D Printer is only one tool among many. But using the right tool for the right job will open new possibilities. It can cut costs, and most significantly, save time.

There’s a lot of hype in the consumer market right now. We all hear of big dreams of a 3D Printer of every home. But currently the technology really shines in prototype development. In particular, this is true for engineers and designers involved in new product development or the redesign of existing products. The ability to get your hands on prototype components, assemblies and complete products and review design issues, improvements and changes is quite simply, invaluable.

The speed of 3D prints

Whether you’re building a tool or fixture, designing a new product, or developing a prototype, as an engineer or designer, you need to fail often and recover quickly. As we know, creating the best possible part design usually requires multiple iterations and redesigns. Previously you would have to wait weeks or even months to see a physical version of your design. But now, 3D Printing has made it possible to get that part created the same day or the next day. This allows creators to print the design quickly, review errors or find improvements, make the changes to the file and print again within a very short time frame.

Today, you can go through 10 iterations in the same time it used 3d-systems-visijet-m3-crystal-mjp-heroto take to complete one using traditional manufacturing methods. Even if that print takes hours or days to complete, you’re still cutting your production cycle down to a fraction of the time spent using traditional methods. Rest assured, there is immense value in turning a design into an object in a timely manner.

 

Complexity is free

This is a phrase you’ll hear thrown around quite a bit in the world of Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing). Traditional manufacturing processes have certain limitations. If you’re using milling or using CNC (Computer Numerical Control) to create a part, you’re removing material from the outside of your block of material and working your way inward. This means any kind of complex internal shape is usually impossible. A CNC machine cannot wrap around corners, but when you’re building from the bottom up, the 3D printer has no problem building organic, complex shapes and structures. If you’re using injection molding, you have to worry about hollow parts, drafting and maintaining wall thickness.

3D Printing doesn’t care about complexity. As long as you’re using some kind of support material system for your part – and using the right material and print method for the job – the complexity of your designs are virtually limitless. Please note that each individual printer will have it’s own limitations you’ll have to work within. However, having access to multiple printer technologies will give you a lot more freedom.

 

MarkForged Printers

Markforged offers a wide range of 3D Printers all specializing in creating parts strong enough for actual everyday use. Developed and manufactured in the United States, these are the only printers on the market that can print parts as strong as aluminum. Their printers generally use two printheads. One builds Nylon parts (or the amazing proprietary Onyx material). The other is a revolutionary new printhead that extrudes composite materials to reinforce the nylon to make solid, strong-as-aluminum 3D Prints. The composite materials used in the machine are Carbon Fibre, Fiberglass and Kevlar, and High-Strength High Temperature Fiberglass.

Mark_x_3D PrinterThe reinforced prints are up to 30 times stronger and 30 times stiffer than ABS 3D-Printed parts. Furthermore, the carbon fibre prints have a higher strength-to-weight ratio than 6061 aluminum. This enables you to create fully functional parts on the printer – rather than pieces prototyped simply for fit before being machined from metal.

Markforged offers a range of options for those looking for more than the standard plastic-jet printers in the ‘prosumer’ price range. Starting at $3499 USD with the Onyx One 3D Printer. Even at its low price point, it has a place in the professional environment. It’s an excellent addition to the Engineer or Designer’s desktop (and totally safe for office use).

The printer ships with everything you need to get started. Including cloud-based Eiger software, giving you full control over customizing your 3D Printed composite fibre model. If you need more materials, you can opt for the Onyx Pro, which has the ability to reinforce with Fiberglass, or the Mark Two, which can print the full range of materials available. Additionally there’s the Mark X, which can print everything the Mark Two can print. However, it has a much larger build size and has a built in scanner to check the part for deficiencies during the print cycle.

Not sure if this printer fits your needs? Give us a call!

If you have any questions, want to see the printers in action, or are looking to order, please don’t hesitate to contact Objex Unlimited 3D Print Studio. You can also read more about the Markforged printers at www.objexunlimited.com

ProJet MJP 2500W

3D Systems Introduces New Printers and Materials Focused on Accelerating 3D Production

3D Systems is again pushing the envelope with new products to their lineup that support the usage of 3D Printers for end-manufactured parts. With new capabilities to accelerate additive manufacturing, the new products and materials were introduced to support the growing demand for investment casting, jewelry and dental markets, while extending its leadership in precision metal production for healthcare and aerospace.

The brand new ProJet MJP 2500W

In addition to the previous lineup of the ProJet MJP 2500 and the ProJet MJP 2500Plus, 3D Systems has the a wax printer to the lineup: the ProJet MJP 2500W. The brand new wax printing system, along with the new VisiJet® M2 CAST RealWax™ material, is designed from the ground up for applications in jewelry and industrial casting. The new wax system combines the precision of the successful MJP 2500 platform with a next-generation 100% real wax material to deliver precise, durable, high-resolution patterns.

New materials for the ProJet MJP 2500

Along with the new wax material for the ProJet MJP 2500 series, they have also introduced new VisiJet materials for the MJP 2500 platform with rigid properties for applications such as snap-fit assemblies. The advancements include a breakthrough dental model material in rigid tan (VisiJet M2R-TN), the most optimal colour for dental models to deliver superior visual contrast and precision. Other new materials include rigid black (VisiJet M2R-BK), rigid white (VisiJet M2R-WT) and rigid clear (VisiJet M2R-CL).

New ProJet CJP 260Plus (and upgrade program for ProJet 260C)

In full-colour 3D printing, 3D Systems unveiled the ProJet CJP 260Plus for anatomical modelling in healthcare and concept modelling for accelerated product development.  The ProJet CJP 260Plus is the company’s most compact printer for fast and affordable full-colour 3D printing, and offers full CMY colour in a closed-loop powder loading, removal and recycling system.

In conjunction with the introduction, the company is offering a program for current owners of 3D Systems’ ProJet CJP 260C to upgrade to the ProJet CJP 260Plus.

 

Why Businesses Need to Get Ready for 3D Printing

3d-printing-technology

We’d like to thank Andy Bell for contributing this guest blog post!

3D printing has finally become an integral part of society and the manufacturing industry. Several years ago, 3D printing was just an idea, but it was a powerful idea. The thought of being able to print whatever you want in many sizes was exciting. People weren’t sure how that would work considering that it’s never been done before. The whole concept of 3D printing is astonishing: Pick a design, edit it and print it! You can even make your designs in 3D modeling computer programs which are great for people who want to have unique items around them. However, 3D printers aren’t cheap. My school’s 3D printer cost around $5.000 which is not affordable for regular people. However, some cheap, home variants cost around ~$500.

So how can businesses benefit from 3D printers? Well, imagine being able to 3D print anything you want and use it as promotional material. This is exactly how you can use 3D printers to your advantage. Let’s expand a bit.

Fast-growing market

When you look at the industry objectively, you’ll notice that 3D printing has made quite an advancement. Thanks to the way it works and the many possibilities that 3D printing offers, the market for it keep growing. And it’s growing extremely fast! Many businesses are now turning towards 3D printing to take care of specific needs. For example, game companies have started utilizing the flexibility of 3D printing to offer collector’s items to fans. You can find special editions of some games that contain a 3D printed item. In the end, this sort of thing is good for the industry as 3D printing will keep getting more and more popular and useful. Also, if you have an increased production of 3D printers, you also have lower prices for them.

Most affordable and easiest way to get started

In all honesty, you might want to consider starting small. Wasting a lot of money for a big, powerful printer can cause an effect opposite of what you wanted. Start out small! Smaller printers are fairly cheap when your business doesn’t have a lot of capital, and you’ll be able to pay off the cost relatively soon. Alternatively, you can rely on a 3D Print Service Bereau to get into the game, and see if 3D Printing works for you. Once you purchase the printer, don’t rush into it. Carefully learn how it works and what its capabilities are. Any wrong move may cause damage to the printer or yourself. Once it’s all set up, plan exactly what you want to print, how many times, and for what purpose. When you have the answer to all of these questions, you’ll be ready to start printing!

3D print promotional goods for creative advertising campaigns

This is where the power of 3D printing becomes most useful when it comes to businesses. With a 3D printer, you’ll be able to create amazing and creative advertising campaigns that will surely lead to customers becoming more interested in your business. You can gain this effect no matter what you come up with, as long as it’s creative, it’s helpful and useful! Think of how many things you’ll be able to make that are directly related to your business. No one likes lazy advertisements that make absolutely no sense, and lately, we haven’t been seeing a lot of good ones. Be different and consider 3D printing!

3D modeling and design service

Consider the following: You have a relatively large customer base. One day, a customer writes you an E-mail asking if you could 3D print something for them. You don’t specialize in 3D printing, and your business isn’t centred around it, but you still have a 3D printer for advertising. However, you are able to use this printer and charge a very small fee to the customer for 3D printing something they want. Hence, you make the customer happy, and you earn a bit more money. This is the reason why 3D printing is so popular! It’s versatile and can be used in many different situations.

-Andy Bell @ www.toronto3dprinting.com

Objex Unlimited 2016 Year-End Review!

First and foremost, on behalf of the entire Objex Unlimited team, we want to take this opportunity to thank you! 

We know without our supporters, customers, clients, and partners… we wouldn’t be here today. Thank you for making everything we do possible, and helping us to grow to better serve 3D Technologies to the Toronto area, and across Canada.

From all of us at Objex Unlimited, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

With 2016 coming to a close, it’s time to take a look at some of the amazing creations made possible by 3D Printing.


The Selftraits Booth at Ideacity! Along with a 3D Printing-centered talk by Steve Cory

Lots of Fossils, Paintings and Art made by Objex Unlimited’s very own Courtney Link and Kira Embree!

President Steve Cory showing off his badass new ride

Who could forget “the big finger”?

Objex Unlimited President, Steve Cory, Talks 3D Printing with Amber Mac

hubs.ly/H01LgFz0

Spotted creeping on a perch near you… the Objex Unlimited Lizard Army.

We saw Brendon McNaughton bring his art to life with the help  Objex Unlimited’s 3D Print capabilities

We saw the release of the amazingly powerful yet cost effective ProJet MJP 2500

Markforged Announces the New Mark X

Selftraits at the Canadian National Exhibition 2016!

Check out lot’s more “Front Page” Stories on our Objex Unlimited Blog!

Here’s to another great year in 2017!

About Objex Unlimited

Objex Unlimited 3D Printing Studio is a 3D solutions provider and 3D product reseller specializing in 3D Printing, 3D Scanning, 3D Design and 3D Services. We’re leading the 3D printing revolution to explore, develop, and commercialize new applications in 3D. Leveraging unparalleled expertise in 3D technologies, we work with you personally to find a product or solution that will save you time, effort, and money. We will bring your ideas and designs to life by creating working parts, beautiful full-colour models, and rapid prototypes.  Authorized resellers of 3D Systems, Artec, Markforged, Formlabs, Afinia and LMI Technologies.

Markforged Announces Onyx – Their most advanced material yet

Markforged announced today the immediate release of Onyx–the most advanced material for Markforged yet–available to all Mark Two Enterprise users. The Onyx material is made up of chopped carbon, and is the first alternative to the base Nylon material. Before all users needed to print with Nylon and reinforce with one of the four fiber materials (Carbon Fiber, Kevlar, Fiberglass, and High-Strength High Temperature Fiberglass). Now users have the choice to print in either Nylon or Onyx and reinforce either with continuous fiber filament (CFF).

The new Nylon material delivers high-performance, finished parts:

  • Embedded carbon enhances performance: Dispersed micro-fibers drive excellent rigidity, dimensional stability, and environmental resistance in parts for rugged use.
  • Cut post-processing out of your process: Onyx parts can be used right off the build plate.
  • Remarkable surface quality: Onyx delivers a stunning matte black finish.

“After hundreds of broken beams and countless reformulations, we’ve created a new material that raises the standard for strength and accuracy,” remarked Markforged’s Chief Scientist Tony Gozdz, “Onyx has more than three times the stiffness of ordinary nylons, and with a heat deflection temperature of 145C, Onyx is perfectly suited for vehicles, machinery, and automation equipment.”

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Onyx’s dispersed micro-fiber is fully compatible with Markforged’s suite of continuous carbon, Kevlar, and glass fibers – both Onyx nylon and Markforged Standard nylon can achieve part strength comparable with metal.

Here’s what people have been saying:

Revolutionary Material

“Now, all of a sudden, you can get great engineering materials, with the properties that you would want in finished products, and that’s really going to be a game changer,” said Carl Bass, Autodesk Chief Executive (and well-known workshop addict). Mr. Bass was the first person to get his hands on Onyx, and immediately put it to use developing parts for his autonomous go-kart.

Industrial Strength

“The new material from Markforged is a critical component of our design process. This material allows us to turn a prototype into a functional part in hours. While the majority of conventional polymers cannot survive as a production part in our manufacturing environment, this new material is thriving. Markforged has developed a material that takes additive manufacturing one step further,” said Rodney Everett, Automation Technician at Dixon Valve Company, a worldwide leader in couplings and fittings.

1448-wf-44d80544-45ad-4bc7-b4ef-a71cdf017453-26

Finished Products

“It’s a stiffer material, the edges are true…parts look better and they fit together better. I think we’re going to never look back with this new material… it’s helping us make parts that are direct sale to market,” declared Alan Rencher of Media Blackout, a specialist in customized professional video equipment.

Battle Tested

“This material is fantastic… my team and I are impressed,” said Jamison Go of fighting robot Team SawBlaze. “The dragon head functions as a protective cover and aesthetic. We expect this part to take a lot of abuse, which attests to the confidence we have in this material.”

Team SawBlaze and Team Overhaul, each sporting Onyx and other Markforged reinforced parts in their massive combat robots, will be appearing in televised competition.

Onyx is available on Markforged’s Mark Two Enterprise Kit. The Enterprise Kit includes:

  • A wear-resistant print head that enables the 3D printing of advanced new materials such as Onyx and High-Strength, High-Temperature Fiberglass
  • Software features such as single sign-on, two-factor authentication, and an organizational admin portal
  • Early access to future materials

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About Markforged

Markforged’s mission is to bring high strength 3D printing to everyday engineering. Offering the world’s only 3D printing systems capable of automatically reinforcing engineering plastics to aluminum levels of performance and beyond, Markforged enables every business to easily manufacture parts with structural strength right on the desktop. The Mark Two 3D Printer empowers professional users to affordably create workhorse 3D parts that solve real problems, as well as realize reinforced structures never before possible. Markforged technologies are delivered with thoughtful, powerful software designed for collaboration, sharing, and scaling. For more information, visit https://www.Markforged.com (https://www.markforged.com/).

About Objex Unlimited

Objex Unlimited 3D Printing Studio is a 3D solutions provider and 3D product reseller specializing in 3D Printing, 3D Scanning, 3D Design and 3D Services. We’re leading the 3D printing revolution to explore, develop, and commercialize new applications in 3D. Leveraging unparalleled expertise in 3D technologies, we work with you personally to find a product or solution that will save you time, effort, and money. We will bring your ideas and designs to life by creating working parts, beautiful full-colour models, and rapid prototypes.  Authorized resellers of 3D Systems, Artec, Markforged and LMI Technologies.

3D Scanning Basics – A Primer for Turning Real Objects into Digital Files

This article was initially published in the July 2015 Issue of Graphic Arts Magazine.

Whatever your application may be, the one thing you will always need for ANY 3D print is a functional 3D design file. You can design the file from scratch using CAD (or any of the various 3D design software programs), but you’ll quickly discover that this process is labourious and requires a very advanced set of skills. One of the best ways to kick-start your design process is to utilize 3D scanning technologies. Additionally, there are a variety of applications where you can utilize 3D scans for modelling and visualizing in the digital realm. This column will cover some of the 3D Scanning Basics you need while entering this world.

3D scanning uses a device that analyzes a real-world object or environment to collect data on its shape, texture and (in some cases) colour. Certain devices are handheld and hover around the object to obtain a collection of snapshots that are stitched together to create a full three-dimensional model. Other devices affix the scanner to a tripod and use a turntable to rotate the object. Some devices are in the form of a chamber or booth, with the object or person positioned in the center as they’re scanned from multiple angles. Finally, there are scanners that can be attached to an aircraft or vehicle to capture entire landscapes. No matter what form a 3D scanner takes, it will give you a huge leg up on developing your design.

LMI 3D HDI Scan

Why use 3D Scanning?

On the most basic level, 3D scanning is a quick and effective way to capture the geometry of an existing object, which will aid in the design of new items and fixtures, applying an extension or new part to an existing geometry, or in reverse engineering applications. If you’re designing a part to be used for some pre-existing device (for example a vehicle, tool or machine), you can quickly capture the dimensions and measurements of a physical object and be confident your parts will fit together on the first try. You can enhance or change an existing part you’ve created, or digitize parts that were built before CAD software became widely used. You’ll see 3D scanning in the field of biometrics, obtaining 3D data for the design of prosthetics and implants, and increasingly used in the field of graphics and VFX, providing digital assets in the creation of 3D animations. 3D scanning is also being used more and more as a means of historical preservation. In fact, many objects from our past which are starting to show the effects of time can be digitally stored and maintained, or replicated through 3D printing. There’s an endless list of possibilities for 3D scanning and new ones are popping up every day.

3D Scanning Technologies

As you’ll soon realize, as with many things in the realm of 3D, there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to 3D scanners. So it’s best to figure out your particular needs and choose a scanner that suits your specific application.

Structured Light Scanning. These 3D scanners project a pattern of lights onto an object. The scanner then reads the reflections in the light to analyze curves and bends in the surface of the object. These scanners are flexible to use, good for many applications and safe on human eyes. These are generally a lower cost, but are not optimal on reflective or refractive surfaces.

Laser Scanning. These 3D scanners function similar to Structured Light, except they use lasers instead of a blanket of light. These can be great for precise engineering applications and capturing fine details, but are unsafe for human eyes. Thus they need to be used in a controlled environment.

Photogrammetry. This method uses multiple cameras to capture the object from different angles along with an algorithm that triangulates common points to analyze depth and create a 3D model. It gives you the best colour detail, however is not the most accurate for making precise measurements.

Objex Unlimited President and Founder Steve Cory inside the Selftraits Photogrammetry 3D Scanning Booth

Objex Unlimited President and Founder Steve Cory inside the Selftraits Photogrammetry 3D Scanning Booth

Also worth mentioning are MRI/CAT scans which are used in medical applications to scan inside an individual’s body. And CMM machines – though technically not 3D scanning – use a physical probe to get precise dimensions of an object.

The Artec Eva 3D Scanner

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One of the 3D scanners we often recommend is the Artec Eva handheld Structured Light Scanner. While it won’t be the optimal scanner for every situation, it is certainly one of the most versatile and easy-to-use scanners on the market and is priced very competitively. The Eva doesn’t require markers or calibration. It captures objects quickly in high resolution and vibrant colour at up to 16 frames per second. These frames are aligned automatically in real time, which make scanning easy and fast. Please contact us at Objex Unlimited for a demonstration, or to answer any questions.

 

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Matt BeloMatthew Belo is a Brand Manager and 3D Solution Specialist Working for Objex Unlimited Inc., Canada’s most diverse 3D Printing Solutions Provider. With a background in Marketing and Sales, Matthew has immersed himself in all things 3D. He focuses on looking for real opportunities that leverage 3D technologies while working to dispel myths and misconceptions associated with the equipment. Graduating from University of Waterloo, Matthew focused his studies on Rhetoric and Professional writing as well as Business and Marketing. Matt loves to discuss topics and issues related to Additive Manufacturing and will gladly answer questions, hear your opinions, and talk shop! He can be reached at matt@objexunlimited.com, or at 416-233-7165.

 

About Objex Unlimited

Objex Unlimited 3D Printing Studio is a 3D solutions provider and 3D product reseller specializing in 3D Printing, 3D Scanning, 3D Design and 3D Services. We’re leading the 3D printing revolution to explore, develop, and commercialize new applications in 3D. Leveraging unparalleled expertise in 3D technologies, we work with you personally to find a product or solution that will save you time, effort, and money. We will bring your ideas and designs to life by creating working parts, beautiful full-colour models, and rapid prototypes.  Authorized resellers of 3D Systems, Artec, Markforged and LMI Technologies.