Friday, 22 July 2016

F1 car scanned with Artec Eva, reverse engineered and 3D printed

It’s amazing what you can do with a combination of 3D scanning and reverse engineering solutions. This project for scaling down a full-size Formula 1 racecar, for which Artec Eva 3D scanner was used, is one of the many examples showing that 3D tech application opportunities are, indeed, limitless.

The project was initiated by a Birmingham-based tool manufacturer that tasked Artec’s British partners Central Scanning and leading supplier of CAD & CAM solutions Delcam with making a scale model of their F1 car so it can be 3D printed at a size of approximately 300 mm.

The car was 3D scanned by Central Scanning, and then the collected data was modeled in Delcam’s reverse engineering software package PowerSHAPE.

“This scan was done by us as a test to see what could be achieved using two types of scanning systems,” said Paul Smith of Central Scanning.

The main body of the car was scanned using Steinbichler Comet L3D scanners, and then the driver’s cockpit, steering wheel, wishbone suspension, rear spoiler, wing mirrors and areas that could not be easily reached with Steinbichler Comet were scanned with Artec Eva.

“We selected the Eva because of its portability and speed, plus we do not need to add markers, it easily follows the graphics,” Paul said.

The car was scanned in the owner’s reception area and workshop; both areas had good stable lighting but no direct sunlight because this would affect the data capture.

Paul has shared with us a few tips on how to scan car parts easier.

“Adding something behind the wishbone suspension units, like paper with graphics, enables the scanner to track the texture and capture the geometry of the thin wishbone,” he said.

There were some dark carbon fiber areas around the wishbones – those were sprayed very lightly. Light reflections around the spoiler areas were also sprayed lightly to ease and quicken the capture.

“We liked using Artec Eva because it needed no calibration and was quick to set up and capture in these tricky areas,” Paul said.

Most of the data was processed using standard settings and without texture during global registration to speed up the process. Artec and Steinbichler big data sets were then merged in PolyWorks.

The completed 250Mb STL model, approximately 8.5 million triangles, was then fully reverse engineered at Delcam using PowerSHAPE Pro. Complex doubly-curved regions were most suited to surface modelling, while more prismatic parts could be modelled most efficiently using solids.

As James Slater of Delcam explained, “The front and rear fins of the car were modelled as solids, created by taking sections through the mesh, extruding them and then merging the separate pieces together using simple Boolean operations. This work was actually done by a summer placement student, who had only had one week’s training before embarking on the project. Meanwhile, one of our more experienced engineers was tackling the more demanding surface construction needed for the body. The end result was a fully detailed, hybrid surface and solid model that would be virtually impossible to make using any other software. Of course, one of the most important things in any RE project is to have a high quality, accurate mesh to start with.”

The car was surfaced at full size. Once it was scaled down, some of the thinner areas, in particular the wishbones and spoilers were thickened up in PowerSHAPE. The model was then 3D printed on a Stratasys 3D printer with a print layer of 0.016 mm.

ARTEC 3D Scanners are available in Australia and New Zealand from Objective3D, a complete 3D Scanners and Printing Solutions provider. To arrange for a demo, please call 03-9785 2333 (AUS) 09-801 0380 (NZ) or submit a demo request

3D Scanner cast in starring role at leading foundry

It’s always great to get testimonials from industry pros who have enhanced their performance thanks to Artec 3D scanners. One such company is Willman Industries Inc., a Wisconsin-based full-service jobbing foundry offering design, pattern making, heat-treating and machining.

Willman were already familiar with the benefits of 3D scanners as they were looking to upgrade from an older laser scanner and Faro arm. Efficiency working with large castings up to 30,000 pounds was the benefit that sold them on the Eva, says Steve Young, the owner of Exact Metrology.

“With the larger castings, the [Artec] scanner can be taken to the casting rather than having to move the casting to where the scanning arm is,” explains Dana Green, an account manager at Exact Metrology. “That along with the large field of view allows for faster capture rates compared to that of the arm and scanner. Additionally the accuracy tolerances are well within the Eva’s capabilities.”

Since its purchase, says Randy Parker, Willman’s quality manager, the Eva has been in use practically every single day in some capacity or another. Parker estimates the Eva has been instrumental in QA on approximately 50 jobs so far, “working out well beyond expectations.”

“We’ve made numerous improvements to our process with it. Our dimensional control has improved not just from measuring the castings but from checking multiple process inputs with the Eva,” Parker says.

Dimensional control is carried out to determine if the quality of castings meets expected values by comparing the data captured with the scanner against known CAD files. This also helps with issues that can come up during the casting process such as core shift. The Eva captures data at an accuracy level well within the confines of the needs for the castings, capturing and processing the data of larger castings much quicker than a laser scanner.

“Using an arm and laser scanner could take hours to scan a large casting, add to that the processing of the large data sets and it may take a day to get results,” says Green. “With the Eva, the casting can be captured in less time and provide processed results faster, thus allowing faster feedback on the production process to maintain quality.”

According to Parker, Willman Industries have greatly expanded the primary use they bought the Eva for to include tooling analysis, pattern and mold scanning, reverse engineering and problem solving.

Problems such as uneven cooling can be encountered within casting scenarios, leading to production errors. With the faster data capture and measurement results, Parker can see errors in portions of a casting that can only be attributed to uneven cooling. This helps adjust production methods, resulting in lower production losses in time and materials.

Parker says he knew the Eva would help supply layout castings more rapidly but is amazed at the actual pace – some tasks are accomplished in 75 percent less time. He cited some castings that historically would have stretched over a period of seven to 10 days now being finished in six to 10 hours.

Parker refers to the Eva as “crazy efficient,” adding, “The rate at which you can capture data is fantastic.”

“Without a doubt the Eva has saved our company money,” says Parker. “We definitely promote it to customers as a valuable tool that will enable us to meet their castings’ requirements.”

ARTEC 3D Scanners are available in Australia and New Zealand from Objective3D, a complete 3D Scanners and Printing Solutions provider. To arrange for a demo, please call 03-9785 2333 (AUS) 09-801 0380 (NZ) or submit a demo request

Friday, 8 July 2016

3D Printing in the Deep Sea

Subsea Equipment Manufacturer 3D prints Injection Tools using Direct Digital Manufacturing

“It used to take us six to eight days to produce a 26-inch injection head through CNC machining. Now, the same part can be completed within two days.”  Keith Burch / i-Tech

From laying underwater cables and pipes to offshore oil and gas exploration, modern subsea operations involve some of the most complex systems, and are constantly challenged by changing ocean environments. Driven by government regulations and market pressure to control oil production and maintain environmentally friendly practices, subsea equipment manufacturers are actively looking for solutions to reduce development and operation costs.

i-Tech is one of the leading global providers of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and intervention tooling solutions for offshore engineering. It operates one of the world’s largest and most advanced fleets of ROVs to support major global energy companies in many flagship projects in the depths of the ocean.

Pipeline engineers and designers at i-Tech are confronted with problems caused by underwater pressure, unpredictable weather conditions and strong ocean currents in their deep-water operations. Equipment reliability is of the utmost importance to ensure that tools can be used for extended periods of time with minimal corrosion and damage. To optimize the design, performance and application of its Chemical Stick Injection Tool (CSIT), i-Tech turned to Objective3D for a 3D printing solution.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Removing Stratasys Soluble Support in Less than 60 Seconds

One thing that’s true of 3D Printing machines across the board is that some post-build processes must be done before a 3D printed part is ready to be used. The parts have been built, but support removal and/or some additional post processing is required. So the next time when you are considering a 3D printer for your business, it's important that you factor in the amount of time it will take you to remove the support material.

The video below demonstrates the ease in which support material is removed using a water jet. All done in less than 60 seconds. Imaging how much time you can save with the Stratasys support material.

Stratasys 3D Printers are available in Australia and New Zealand from Objective3D, a complete 3D Printing Solutions provider. From 3D Printers, 3D Parts, 3D Scanners including Printer Maintenance services and consumables for Stratasys 3D printers, Objective3D is the largest distributor of Stratasys 3D Printers across Australia and New Zealand, and were recently awarded the Stratasys Customer Satisfaction and Support Award for 2013 for the Asia Pacific region.