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Working Principles of the Modern CMM: Moving Beyond Touch Probes

The coordinate system is nothing new. Created in the seventeenth century by mathematician René Descartes, professionals now use it in many manufacturing sectors, includingthe aerospace, automotive, and casting industries.

Today's traditional coordinate measuring machines (CMM) use three axes to probe an object's geometric surface. The probes gather data points used for testingprototypes for errors, designing improved productsand inspecting the measured object.

A 3D scanneralso known as a structured light scanner, works a bit differently. A 3D scanner is a device that gathers data from a dimensional object through projected light and cameras. The light projects across the object's surface, and when the light becomes distorted, the camera captures the measurements.

While both collect data and provide accurate measurements to manufacturers and engineers, 3D scanners offersignificant updates that make accurate 3D scanners a powerful addition to any modern metrology toolbox.

 

How does a CMM machine work?

The CMM uses a probe to measure the physical characteristics of a dimensional surface. The probe moves along three axes to determine an object's spatial displacement. The sensors on each ax monitor the probe's location to program the points on the surface.

 

What is a coordinate measuring machine used for?

Acoordinate measuring machine iused during product development, designing, engineering, and other processes within manufacturing.

Both CMMs and 3D scanners are often used during inspection to test the quality of manufactured objects anddetect production errors, but3D scanners also work as digitizers to create3D modelsprototypesreverse engineering, digital twins, and more.

Anothersignificant difference between a traditional CMM and a 3D scanner isthecoordinate measuring machine uses a touch probe. In contrast,scanner measures points and collects data without ever physically touching the object's surface.

Not every surface is smooth with sharp edges and clean lines, and many parts have curved edges and round or jagged parts that can be very difficult to measure precisely using only a touch probe. Coordinate measuring machines typically don't produce a digital twin with the resulting measurement data because they collect a limited amount of data points. 

The blue light technology in 3D scanners help to fill this need with full-field data collection. The blue light projected by an accurate 3D scanner collects millions of data points in a single scan. The 3D scannercompletes each scan when the camera picks up measurements by a triangulated light beam.

 

Why Should You Modernize Your Equipment?

Bluelight 3D scanning technology offers advanced features that help youupdate your processes. Upgrading your metrology technology makes your workflow more efficient. Production will increase, answers will be available faster, and you'll be ahead of the competition.

Accurate 3D scannersprovide variousbenefits, including minimizing the amount of work that goes into producing a final partWith more precise data, manufacturers can get to the heart of a production problem much earlier in the process, a significant benefit sincemodifying a digital twin model is easier and more cost-effective than creating a whole new physical part

Utilizing 3D scanners for reverse engineering alsomakes the process much more streamlined. Using just a physical object, accurate 3D scanners quickly collect the data needed to generate a digital twin that can be used as a 3D CAD model to reproduce that object.

Accurate 3D scanners provide high-quality measurement data that becomes 3D printer-ready watertight mesh to accelerate the 3D printing process. Precision points like curves and edges are easy for blue light 3D scanner to capturemaking downstream data processing more efficient. A 3D printed prototype from a digital model made from 3D measurement data is also helpful for inspections, analyses, and repeatability studies.

Finally, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulations and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) simulations can use data captured with 3D light scanners.

 

How CMM machines and structured light scanners impact different industries

For manufacturersespecially, time is money. Blue light 3D scanners have the ease of use and speed not to waste a single dollar of your time. The technology iscontinuously advancing to give users the most precise and accurate data possible.

In the aerospace industry, the combination of 3D scanners and photogrammetry measure large objects like engines, blades, and stators. Optical metrology provides the proper form and fitting of parts for commercial and defense aircraft and space crafts.

Vehicles are modernizing at an exceptionally high speed, with consumers wanting the latest technology, the sleekest design, and high-quality comfort. The automotive industry uses 3D scanning technology to keep up with these demands while making engineering more efficient and optimizing the manufacturing process.Measurement data helps digitize raw castings, first article inspections, molded part inspections, and troubleshooting during production. Optical metrology also helpsthe automotive industry design elements,including clay models, milling, benchmarking, and CFD analysis. 

The production of Consumer-Packaged Goods (CPG) also benefits from employing 3D measurement technology. Accurate data reduces iterations and eliminates variances in final products. The data collected by 3Dmeasurement technology is so precise that the goods produced in batch manufacturing have fewer differences overall. Manufacturers also find it's easier to reach or exceed market goals because 3D scanning accelerates the inspection and quality control processes.

Casting and forging manufacturers also improve the design, analysis, and production of their materials because of 3D scanning technologyEarly iterations are closer to net shape because of the precision of the collected data, and tolerance requirements are also met more accurately.

The working principles of CMM machinesarenow improved by new 3D measurement technology, and manufacturers who adopt 3D scanning early will maintain a competitive edge. As technologies continue to advance, consumers and enterprises alike will expect innovations to continue to accelerate and develop our future; and manufacturers and engineers will need to have the tools to meet these expectations while still maximizing their bottom line. If you are a manufacturer who needs to sharpen your competitive edge, reach out to Capture 3D today to discover how 3D scanning can help bring your products to market faster while increasing profits and quality

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