High-precision 3D scanning for custom auto chassis design with Artec Eva

Product: Artec Eva
Industry: Automotive and Transportation

Jason Heard doesn’t lose a wink of sleep. Of the hundreds of high-performance chassis that he and his partner Jack Fisher have created over the years, not a single one has ever failed.

When it comes to what can go wrong on a car, especially as it’s racing across the landscape or around a track at breakneck speeds, aside from a major crash, most of what can happen isn’t life-threatening to the driver.

Whether a blown engine, an electrical system failure, or a transmission breakage, these events are rarely fatal. A chassis failure, on the other hand, is almost sure to be lethal.

That’s what makes modern high-performance chassis design such a demanding field. If the design is too lightweight, strength and safety are compromised. But if more material, or stronger ones, are used excessively, then performance is bound to suffer.

Achieving the ultimate strength-to-weight ratio in every project they bring to life is what Southern California chassis design specialists at Tekk Consulting Inc have been doing for years now.

Their pristine reputation in the industry as the guys who “just get it done” means booking clients months in advance and a steady flow of projects from private clients as well as the heavy-hitters in the industry, including several major OEMs, and others.

But it wasn’t always that way. Back in 2018, with more than a decade of chassis design under their belt, Tekk Consulting Inc had reached a point where even though the technical aspects of their work were unquestionably faultless, they were constantly in a race against the clock to complete their projects while maintaining the high standards they’re famous for.

At the time, adding more clients wasn’t possible, and that meant not being able to take on the volume of projects necessary to push to the front of the pack in the insanely competitive industry of chassis design.

So Jason and Jack sat down and scrutinized their workflow from A to Z. They began looking for ways to make it tighter and faster, without sacrificing quality even in the least. One of the first things they focused on was how they were measuring auto bodies, parts, and components.

The traditional method of using calipers, tape measures, and rulers was how they guaranteed that the dimensions were accurate beyond a doubt. But it’s a painfully slow process, slapping on hours and even days to every project.

When they ventured online, they started reading about auto customizers and shops using 3D scanning to replace manual measurement methods. It was saving them hours on each project, they read. One search led to another, and they found their way onto the Artec 3D website.

There the Artec Eva caught their eye. A lightweight handheld 3D scanner, Eva captures millions of points every second, in minutes creating high-accuracy 3D models of auto parts and countless other kinds of objects. So, they picked up the phone and reached out to their local Artec dealer, Artec Ambassador Rapid Scan 3D, to arrange an onsite demo.

Rapid Scan 3D’s Chris Strong recalled the visit, saying, “During the demo, we scanned an off-road vehicle to capture data of the roll cages along with the suspension. These are some of the essential areas that need precise measurements for designing and fitting Tekk Consulting’s custom parts. Some of the challenges of their work include undercuts, suspension that’s in the way, and surfaces that can be difficult to reach or measure. But with Artec Eva, it was obvious right away that they can easily capture all the data they need, including those surfaces that would be tedious and time-consuming to acquire via manual measurement.”

As Heard put it, “That was it. In the first 15 minutes of the demo, we knew that we’d found our answer. So we bought it then and there. Didn’t need any training, it’s that easy to use. We didn’t even take a peek at the manual. We just bought it and then spent the rest of the afternoon scanning everything around the shop. By the end of the day, we had our workflow down pat.”

Since that moment, Tekk Consulting Inc has used their Artec Eva every day, on hundreds of projects including Brad Deberti’s @ThePerformanceTruck, work for the top 10 automakers, as well as all kinds of classics, muscle cars, multiple SEMA projects, and more.

Heard explained, “If you ask anybody who’s anybody in this business, they’ll tell you this: your reputation is your lifeblood. For whatever reason, if that goes out the door, you might as well hang up your hat and call it quits. That means no cutting corners, because safety is everything, and never ever bite off more than you can chew.”

He continued, “Our Artec Eva gives us the power to do more and do it better than we ever did before. With no sacrifices in accuracy or safety. In fact, now we can digitally capture whatever autobody structures or part geometries come our way, no matter how complex. Fast and precise.”

Heard outlined his scanning workflow with Eva:

“For parts and components, I built a little lazy Susan (turntable) that I scan the parts on. If they’re shiny at all, I use a bit of baby powder or spray-on diffuser. That adds something like 1/5000th of an inch in surface coating, so it doesn’t affect the scan quality at all.”

He continued, “Then I just scan the part, two passes for one side, two passes for the other, just to make sure I’ve gotten everything. Then for the machine parts of the component, to get the exact spacing between bolt holes, and the holes themselves, for example, I just draw those in Geomagic Design X after measuring with a micrometer. It’s super easy and crazy fast this way.”

“When we’re scanning autobodies and cabs,” Heard said, “we typically scan in one major ‘geometry pass,’ which means grabbing the big structure. After that, we’ll come back and scan chunks here or there. Then we align these with the scan from the first pass. After this we process the scans in Artec Studio.”

He explained his process in Artec Studio software: “I use the Eraser tool, which lets me easily swipe out anything I don’t want. The base of the lazy Susan, any props, etc. Depending on how much time I have, sometimes I do an auto-alignment, or do it manually, and then after everything’s aligned, I’ll do a Global Registration, etc.”

“But on big cabs and structures, I don’t do Global Registration, I just stick to Sharp Fusion, because that works perfect to keep everything together, looking as sharp as a tack.”

After that, they export the scans over to Design X/SOLIDWORKS 2020, where they start drawing the chassis.

Eva made it possible for Tekk Consulting Inc to maximize the space within the truck (@ThePerformanceTruck), “where the chassis tubes are so perfectly laying against the skin of the truck,” and it also means having extra space within the cab, so your head is far enough away from the chassis itself. As a safety factor, in Heard’s words, “That’s huge.”

In the unfortunate event that the car or truck were to roll over, you always want to have enough distance between you and the chassis. With Eva, they have been able to maximize that to the fullest. “And that’s an epic plus for us. It’s a direct result of having a perfect scan of the body of the car or truck, which then lets us design a chassis that fits it like a glove.”

Every auto customizer who’s ever needed CAD files from an OEM knows about the at-least-occasional frustration of waiting and waiting for them to arrive. To make it worse, when project deadlines are looming closer, and clients are calling you every day, that’s when patience wears thin.

As Heard put it, “If we had to wait around for CAD files before getting down to work, there’s no way we’d be able to achieve the tight deadlines we have, no way. So now we don’t have to wait. We just scan it ourselves, whether it’s a Porsche or a Toyota or a batch of parts, whatever.”

He went on, “And when we compare our scans with Eva to the CAD files that eventually show up? Wow! You wouldn’t believe how closely they match up. Every time. At first we were surprised, but after hundreds of projects, we’ve gotten used to it. Now we don’t even wait for CAD files. We just scan and get down to work. That alone has saved us days of waiting.”

As far as working with classic cars go, rarely if ever do such CAD files exist. That’s when 3D scanning can be a pivotal factor in moving forward on a project. Heard explained, “With Eva, I can scan parts or entire bodies of classics. Then that scan is mine. And it’s perfect to a T.”

He went on, speaking of the possibilities, “I can transform it however I want in Geomagic, 3D print or CNC mill it, or sell it online to one of thousands of shops around the world doing this kind of work. Shops with one, two, or three guys who are fabricators or builders that put out maybe 10 to 20 cars a year, that’s 90% of the industry right there.”

In regards to factory tolerances as part of the manufacturing process, these are also apparent when 3D scanning cabs and bodies straight from the assembly line. According to Heard, “It’s a known fact that CAD files from the OEM don’t take into account manufacturing tolerances. They just don’t.”

He elaborated, “If you’re working with an American car, you could have a 1/4” deviation, and that would be acceptable. On a really expensive foreign car, for example, it’ll be maybe 1/8”. Our scans with Eva are so much tighter than that. So when we see differences between the 3D scans and the CAD files, we take those tolerances into account.”

In terms of being able to scan more in one day than he could ever measure by hand, Heard weighed in, “To give you an example, just yesterday morning I scanned the front suspension for a brand-new Raptor, 360 degrees, everything. Then I scanned five different race seats, added in the mount geometry, and now the scans can be brought into any CAD file when we’re drawing a chassis, so these seats will be perfectly mounted.”

Tekk Consulting Inc has embraced 3D scanning with Eva so fervently that they’ve begun selling their scans online via their digital marketplace at DIYoffroad.com. Over the years they’ve been contacted by hundreds of auto customizers and chassis designers in dozens of countries around the world. And the market is only growing bigger with time.

Heard has been recommending Artec Eva to everyone he can in the industry, without pause. In his words, “I’m totally fine with sharing what we do here. Including details about the amazing tech that we’ve been using. A huge thanks to our Eva, we are where we are today, with a backlog of work and the ability to pick and choose our projects.

Jason Heard envisions a future where, “Every auto shop and designer is going to have their own 3D scanner and 3D printer. The market is already moving in this direction. That’ll mean specialists around the world creating digital assets, using them right there in their shops, or selling them online to other guys.”

He explained further, “An example of what that can look like is this: some guy in Italy takes his Eva and scans a brand new Ferrari, or a classic one, along with whatever parts he wants, fenders, bumpers, etc., and then even hours later he bundles everything together into one package, or customizes it and turns it into a wide-body kit.”

Another facet of the high-performance design work that Tekk Consulting Inc does is Finite Element Analysis (FEA) on scanned components, usually through the thin-shell approximation. This entails capturing the precise dimensions of parts and then analyzing their mechanical strength and stiffness, or how much they can bend and what that deflection looks like in CAD. This process allows them to redesign a component to address a failure point, while ensuring the component performs the same as, or better than, before.

In the past that required hand measuring these components, which often took hours, including double-checking and re-measuring.

But now with their Eva in hand, they’re precisely capturing such parts in minutes. From control arms to swivel joints, roll bars to entire suspensions and more. No re-measuring or second-guessing needed.

Heard explained why that’s so crucial, “It doesn’t matter how amazing your FEA is, if the data going in is flawed, even by just a fraction of an inch, that’s a recipe for disaster. There’s no way you’re going to accurately be able to mathematically bend and twist those components to prevent failure and increase performance. No way.”

He continued, “Our Eva has been such a game-changer for us in this. Now I’ll take a bunch of parts and scan them in before lunch. By the end of the day, we’ve done all our analysis and everything is smoothly on schedule to create the final design.”

To summarize the impact that Eva has had on their work, Heard added, “When you’re trying to build a race car and you have a phase that used to take you 14 to 16 hours in the past, and now it takes you just 2 to 3 hours, that makes a massive difference to us, and that’s not even touching on the accuracy and safety angles of what 3D scanning with Artec Eva has given us.”

Artec Eva digitizes 500 years of history from one of the world’s oldest synagogues

Product: Artec Eva
Industry: Design and Art

The Holy Torah Ark of Mantua is one of the rarest and most impressive exhibits at the Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art in Jerusalem. Designed to house the holy Torah scrolls and created by the finest craftsmen of Mantua, Italy in 1543, this unique wooden ark decorated with the original gilded carving is one of the oldest in the world. Its style echoes that of the biblical Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which is believed to have housed the Ark of the Covenant. It was designed in the shape of a building and features architectural elements such as columns and capitals.

From the time of its construction to the present day, the Mantua Ark has undergone multiple incarnations. Finally, after World War II, with a declining Jewish community, the ark was shipped to Jerusalem and placed in its present abode. Once there, it underwent extensive renovation, preservation, and restoration, all of which brought it back to its wonderful present condition.

For an ordinary visitor to the museum as well as visitors to the museum’s website, however, the ark’s special history in regards to its symbolism and features remains unknown. Its size and position prevents close inspection and even the features which are visible cannot be fully appreciated.

In 2015, the Nahon Museum initiated a project designed to tell the story of the ark, its journey, and its historic meaning in the context of Jewish Italian life. The website Mantua in Jerusalem outlines the history, life, and culture of the Mantua Jewish community and the importance the ark held to its people, generation after generation.

It was for this reason that the museum chose to embark on an ambitious endeavor – to 3D scan the ark and make it fully accessible to visitors, both in person and virtual.

Due to its size, geometry, and the complexity of its texture, the scanning of the Mantua Ark posed certain challenges:

  • The topography of the ark – extremely complex, with numerous areas without direct visual access. In addition, the ark stands so close to museum walls it left very little room for the scanning equipment to work, as well as operating the scanner at the angles required to reach the blocked surfaces.
  • The texture. The ark was initially made of wood. However, its entire surface is coated in a gold leaf, which is smooth and shiny – one of the most hard-to-capture surfaces for any 3D scanner. When it came time to do the scanning, it was neither permitted nor practical to coat the surface with matte powder. Even if it were, it would have altered the surface quality of the ark.
  • Thirdly, while the topography of the ark is complex, the texture is very symmetrical and the pattern is repetitive, which somewhat complicated aligning and fusing the multiple scans.
  • And finally, the size of the ark (over 3 meters high) made the scanning process all the more challenging.

After assessing the complexity of the job, it became clear that the highest-quality tool is needed to digitize the ark, and the museum turned to Caliber Engineering and Computers Ltd, Artec 3D’s Gold Certified Partner in Tel Aviv. Zvi Grinberg, head of Caliber at the time, was immediately brought into the project. Being so different from the technical engineering CAD projects his company usually undertook, he recognized both the professional challenge and the unique cultural value of this project, which he volunteered to take on at no cost.

After a thorough examination of the ark, the Caliber team decided Artec Eva was the most suitable scanner for the job. Called “a monster among handheld scanners,” this structured-light 3D scanner excels at capturing medium-to-large objects with an outstanding accuracy of up to 0.1 mm and exceptional resolution, even for black and shiny surfaces, which gives it an edge over other scanning solutions on the market. Plus, it is lightweight and fast, which makes it especially helpful when capturing diverse historical pieces, sculptures, and monuments in far-from-ideal scanning environments, whether on a sunny day outside or deep within a dimly lit gallery.

To capture the ark from the ground up and give the scanning team easy access to the top of the object, special scaffolding was built in the museum. Normally used for medium-sized objects, it was a personal challenge for Eva to capture such a large object. It took 15 hours over three days for the team to complete the scanning, followed by several more to align, clean, and fuse the multiple scans together. Overall, 78 separate scans were made. The final model was over 700 MB and contained over 16 million polygons.

“Despite the ark’s large size, we’ve managed to get good results with Artec Eva right from the first attempt thanks to the texture and geometry of the ark. After the scan, we were able to finish all the work at the office using Artec Studio software, with no need to come back for additional scans and repair,” said Guy Engel, CEO of Caliber Engineering.

After the initial processing stage, the Caliber team reduced the size of the file while maintaining the quality of the original scans, and touched up the 3D model to prepare it for public display. At this point, the file was passed on from Caliber to the Department of Photographic Communication at the Hadassah Academic College in Jerusalem, to Associate Professor Moshe Caine specifically. Having extensive knowledge and experience in 3D scanning and photogrammetry solutions for cultural heritage preservation, Professor Caine polished the 3D model of the ark to the peak of perfection.

Professor Caine’s scan processing workflow went as follows:

Fine-tuning and cleaning minor defects of the mesh using Autodesk (beta) Memento Software.

Adding in a back wall and floor. Because the ark was mounted to the museum wall, it was impossible to scan the back and underside of the ark. Rather than construct a false rendition of them, it was decided to computer generate a simple wall and floor and add them to the model.

Image processing of the texture map. Despite the meticulous work during the scanning stage, small defects still remained, as well as an inaccurate color rendition of the ark. Additional photography was subsequently carried out using a DSLR Nikon camera, and the corrected surfaces were fused into the original UV map. Various methods were tested for this purpose, including:

  • Parameterization and texturing from rasters in Meshlab.
  • Exporting the map as a PSD (Photoshop) file, correcting in Photoshop, reimporting to and then exporting the corrected model.
  • Opening the OBJ file in Photoshop and working directly on the texture layer. Ultimately, a combination of the above techniques was employed until satisfactory results were achieved.
  • Color correction was carried out on the final texture map with Photoshop software, using the actual ark as the sole reference.

After scanning dozens of historical pieces, Professor Caine elaborated on his approach to the 3D scanning and processing workflow:

“One major piece of advice (for those planning to 3D scan cultural heritage) is this: work slowly and carefully. Don’t hurry. Move in as close as possible to the object. Use lots of soft light. And remember the saying: ‘Garbage in… garbage out.’ The result will only be as good as the work and care that goes into it.”

When Professor Caine finished his meticulous scan processing, the final model was uploaded for public viewing to the Nahon Museum website Mantua in Jerusalem, dedicated to the art of Mantua’s Jewish community. In addition, an onsite kiosk with a touchscreen was installed next to the ark, making it possible for museum visitors to view the magnificent historical showpiece from all angles, zoom in and out to examine every detail, and most importantly, to have immediate access via hotspots to the relevant information for various aspects of the historic artifact.

The overall response to the model has been very positive and enthusiastic. According to the museum’s personnel and Professor Caine, people particularly appreciate the ability to explore the ark up close and from all angles. This is the magic of 3D models, which 2D images or even physical objects as large as the Mantua Ark normally cannot compete with. Projects such as this are an amazing example of how 3D scanning technologies transform the way we perceive and can preserve cultural heritage.

Back in the 1500s, the citizens and members of Mantua’s Jewish community couldn’t even imagine that their descendants would one day not merely be able to see their community’s signature artifact all in one piece, even after 500 years, but also be able to explore it up close in 360 degrees without even leaving their homes.

High-precision 3D scanning to design custom chassis with Artec Eva

Product: 3DArtec Eva, Artec Studio, Geomagic Design X
Industry: Automotriz y Transporte

Of the hundreds of high-performance chassis that Jason Heard and his partner Jack Fisher have created over the years, not a single one has failed. When running outdoors or around a track at breakneck speeds, apart from a serious accident, most of what can happen does not endanger the driver’s life. Whether it’s a busted engine, an electrical system failure or a transmission break, these facts are rarely fatal. A chassis failure, on the other hand, is almost certain to be lethal. That’s what makes today’s high-performance chassis designs so demanding. If the design is too light, resistance and safety are at stake. But if more materials are used, or harder, in excess, performance will resent it. Chassis design specialists at Tekk Consulting Inc in Southern California try to achieve maximum strength-to-weight ratio on every custom chassis they build.

Their impeccable reputation in the industry allows them to book customers months in advance and a steady flow of private client projects, some very important, including large OEMs. But it wasn’t always like that. In 2018, with more than a decade of chassis design to its credit, Tekk Consulting Inc. had reached a point where, although the technical aspects of its work were perfect, they were constantly in a race against time to complete their projects while maintaining the high standards for which they are known.

At the time it was not possible to increase the number of customers, and that meant not being able to assume the volume of projects needed to take the lead in the crazy chassis design industry. So Jason and Jack completely analyzed their workflow. They started by looking for ways to do it faster and more effectively, without sacrificing quality in the slightest. One of the first things they focused on was how they were measuring the bodies, parts and components of cars. The traditional method of using gauges, tape metrics, and rules was how they ensured that dimensions were accurate. But it was a terribly slow process, which required hours and even days for each project. They began reading about car customizers and stores that use 3D scanning to replace manual measurement methods. I saved them hours on every project, they read. They soon found their site on artec’s 3D website. Artec Eva caught his eye. A lightweight handheld 3D scanner, Eva captures millions of points every second, in minutes creating high-precision 3D models of auto parts and many other types of objects. So they called their local Artec dealer to arrange an on-site demonstration.

As Heard says, “That’s how it was. In the first 15 minutes of the demonstration, we learned that we had found our answer. So we bought it at the time. I didn’t need any training, it’s that easy to use. We didn’t even read the manual. We just bought it and then spent the rest of the afternoon scanning around the store. At the end of the day, we had our workflow underway.”

Since then, Tekk Consulting Inc has used its Artec Eva every day, in hundreds of projects including Brad Deberti’s @ThePerformanceTruck, jobs for the top 10 automakers, as well as all kinds of classics, muscle cars, multiple SEMA projects, and much more. Heard explained: “If you ask someone who works in this business, they’ll tell you this: your reputation is your life. Regardless of the reason, you don’t have to take shortcuts, because safety is everything, and never ever bite more than you might want. That means you don’t have to take shortcuts, because safety is everything, and never ever bite more than you can chew.” He continues, “Our Artec Eva gives us the power to do more and better than ever before. Without sacrificing accuracy or safety. In fact, we can now digitally capture any body structure or partial geometry presented to us, no matter how complex. Fast and accurate.”

I heard you described your scanning workflow with Eva: “For the parts and components, I built a small turntable on which I scanned the parts. If they are bright, I use some baby talcum powder or an aerosol diffuser. That adds something like 1/5000 inch to the surface lining, so it doesn’t affect the scan quality at all.” He continued: “Then I scan the piece, two passes on one side, two passes on the other, just to make sure I have it all. Then for the parts of the component machinery, to get the exact space between the bolt holes, and the holes themselves, for example, only draw them in Geomagic Design X after measuring them with a micrometer. That’s super easy and fast.” “When we’re scanning bodies and cabs,” Heard says, “we usually scan geometry broadly first. Then more slowly we’re going to scan parts of here or there. Then we align them with the scan of the first pass. After this we process the scans in Artec Studio.”

He explained his process in the Artec Studio software: “I use the Eraser tool, which allows me to easily erase everything I don’t want. The base of the turntable, any accessories, etc. Depending on how long I have, sometimes I do a self-alignment, or do it manually, and then after everything is aligned, I make a Global Record, etc.” “But in large cabins and structures, I don’t do Global Registration, I just limit myself to Sharp Fusion, because it works perfect to keep everything together and compact. After that, the scans are exported to Design X/SOLIDWORKS 2020, where they begin designing the chassis.

Eva made it possible for Tekk Consulting Inc. to maximize the space inside the truck (@ThePerformanceTruck), “where the chassis tubes are perfectly positioned against the truck deck,” which also means having extra space inside the cab, so that the head is far enough away from the chassis itself. As a safety factor, in Heard’s words, “It’s a pass.”

In the event that the car or truck is overturned, there should always be sufficient distance between the chassis and the head. With Eva, they’ve been able to maximize this. “And that for us is an incredible plus. It is the direct result of having a perfect scan of the car or truck body, which allows us to design a chassis that fits like a glove.”

Every car customizer that has ever needed CAD files from an OEM knows of the frustration, even from time to time, of waiting and waiting for them to arrive. When project deadlines approach and customers despair, that’s when patience runs out. As Heard says, “If we had to wait for CAD files before we get to work, there would be no way we could meet the tight deadlines we have, by any means. Now we don’t have to wait. We scan it ourselves, whether it’s a Porsche or a Toyota or a batch of parts, whatever.”

“And when we compare our scans with Eva with the CAD files that finally appear… wow! You wouldn’t believe how similar they are. At first we were surprised, but after hundreds of projects, we got used to it. Now we don’t even wait for CAD files. We just scan and get to work. That alone has saved us days of waiting.”

When it comes to working with classic cars, rarely, if ever, are such CAD files. That’s when 3D scanning becomes a decisive factor in the project. Heard explained: “With Eva, I can scan entire parts or chassis of classic cars.” He continued, talking about the possibilities, “I can transform it however I want into Geomagic, print it in 3D or mill it with CNC, or sell it online to companies around the world that do this kind of work. Stores with few workers who are manufacturers or builders and produce between 10 and 20 cars a year, thus operating 90% of the sector.” As for manufacturing tolerances as part of the process, these are also noticeable when scanning 3D cabs and bodies directly from the assembly line. According to Heard, “CAD files from OEMs are known to not take into account manufacturing tolerances.” He explains, “If you work with an American car, you could have a 1/4 deviation,” and that would be acceptable. In a really expensive foreign car, for example, it will be maybe 1/8″. Our scans with Eva are much more accurate than that. So when we look at the differences between 3D scans and CAD files, we consider those tolerances.”

Much more can be scanned in a day than can be measured by hand, Heard said: “For example, yesterday morning I scanned the front suspension of a new Raptor, 360 degrees, everything. Then I scanned five different race seats, added to the frame geometry, and now the scans can be taken to any CAD file when we are designing the chassis, so these seats will be perfectly mounted.”

Tekk Consulting Inc. has enthusiastically adopted 3D scanning with Eva that they have started selling their scans online through their digital market in DIYoffroad.com. Over the years they have been contacted by hundreds of car customizers and chassis designers in many countries around the world. And the market just makes it grow. Heard has been recommending Artec Eva to everyone in the sector. In his words, “I totally agree to share what we do here. Including details about the amazing technology we’ve been using. Thanks to our Eva, we are where we are today, with a lot of backlog and the ability to choose our projects.” Jason Heard imagines a future in which, “Every car workshop and designer will have their own 3D scanner and printer. The market is already moving in this direction. Specialists around the world will create digital content, for use in their stores, or to sell online to other customers.”

He also tells us: “An example: an Italian takes his Eva and scans a new Ferrari, or a classic one, with the parts he wants, fenders, bumpers, etc., and hours later he put it all together in a pack, or customizes it and turns it into a wide body kit.”

Another aspect of Tekk Consulting Inc.’s high-performance design work is Finite Element Analysis (FEA) on scanned components, usually through thin layer approximation. This involves capturing the precise dimensions of the parts and then analyzing their mechanical strength and stiffness, or how much they can bend and what that deviation looks like in the CAD. This process allows them to redesign a component to solve a point of failure, while ensuring that the component works the same or better than before.

In the past that required hand-measuring these components, which often took hours, including double checking and re-measuring. But now with their Eva in hand, they’re accurately capturing those pieces in minutes. From the control axes to the swivel joints, the anti-roll bars to the entire suspensions. There is no need to re-measure or recalculate.

Heard explained why that’s so crucial, “No matter how surprising your FEA is, if the data coming in is faulty, even for a fraction of a millimeter it can be a disaster. There is no way to improve those systems if they already come with measurement errors.” “Our Eve has been a big change for us. Now I’m going to take a lot of pieces and scan them before lunch. By the end of the day, we’ll have done all the tests and everything will be ready to create the final design.” To sum up the effect Eva has had on her work, Heard adds, “When you build race cars and there was a phase that used to take you 14 to 16 hours, and now it only takes you 2 to 3 hours, it’s a huge difference, not to mention the precision and safety that Artec Eva offers us.”

Mao Zedong’s horse was turned into a 3D model, twice

Producto: Artec EVA
Industry: Design and Art

A controversial figure in the Western world, Mao Zedong stands out from the crowd of national leaders and other historical personalities for hundreds of millions of Chinese. The legacy of the founder of the People’s Republic of China is revered, thoroughly studied, and passed down from generation to generation.

A chapter in Great Helmsman’s life story was recently updated as 3D scanning technology was called upon to preserve for posterity the appearance of Chairman Mao’s favorite horse, which was taxidermied shortly after he died of old age.

What makes the horse so special?

Legend has it that the horse, nicknamed Little Blue One, saved its owner’s life during the Chinese Civil War (1927-1949). Who knows if modern China would be the way it is today if Mao’s horse had made a move at the wrong time during a military withdrawal operation called The Long March (1934-1935)

One afternoon, while Mao and his comrades were being chased by rival Kuomintang squads, Little Blue One with his owner on his back stopped under a cliff they were passing by. No one could understand why the horse simply refused to move until they heard a roar coming from afar – moments later, enemy combatants buzzed overhead. Thanks to Little Blue One, the group went unnoticed in the shadow of the cliff.

At the end of the Civil War, Mao brought his Little Blue, a horse with military merits at the time, to Beijing, where he lived his life in a special enclosure at the Beijing Zoo, until his death in 1962.

Conservation project: completed and reopened

Soon after, the Beijing Museum of Natural History ordered a taxidermy mount of the legendary stallion. After the work was done, the precious relic was taken to the Revolutionary Memorial Museum in the city of Yan’an, northwest China, where the Communist Party had its headquarters from 1935 to 1947.

As time passed, small cracks began to show up here and there, threatening to cause the entire mount to crumble, making the urgent need for restoration really pressing.

Before embarking on the project, the museum administration decided to make a high-precision digital copy of the support to compare its condition before and after restoration. The work was commissioned to Artec 3D Beijing Onrol Technology Co., Ltd. Gold Partner, who had the required experience in 3D digital archiving.

Choosing the right 3D scanner

Every day counted. The scan should be done in the shortest time possible. The Onrol team was given just one day to scan the horse in 3D and convert the collected data into a flawless 3D model.

Attaching targets to the object for better tracking was just out of the question. Even touching it was forbidden, not to mention the use of any hardware that could pose a risk to its condition.

It didn’t take much deliberation to choose Eva as the 3D scanning tool for the project. This portable scanner has been the device of choice for quality control and heritage preservation with companies and institutions ranging from Tesla to the British Museum.

Absolutely safe to use, Eva has a flash bulb and a set of LED lights, the same as in lamps found in any room, to project a structured light beam onto the surface of an object and detect its curves with a precision of up to 0.1 mm.

Along with the object’s shape, Eva captures the texture with a color depth of 24 bits per pixel, giving more than 16 million color variations – more than the human eye can perceive. Capturing Little Blue One in true color was vital to the project.

Scanning speed mattered no less than the quality of the scans. Eva can take up to 16 frames, or snapshots, per second. Each snapshot covers an area approximately the size of a sheet of paper from A4 to A3. This field of view is ideal for working with medium and large objects, such as horseback. When moving around the object, the user takes several snapshots with the scanner of it to 3D digitize the entire surface in a minimum time, preserving all the necessary details.

Ultimately the scanner is very light (0.9kg) and easy to handle, which was another factor that tipped the scales in Eva’s favor.

On-site 3D scanning

On the appointed day, Little Blue One’s taxidermy mount was taken to a designated workshop, where scan specialists from Onrol performed scans, one holding the scanner and the other holding a laptop to which data from the scanner was transmitted.

The team used Real-Time Fusion, a tool from Artec Studio’s 3D scanning and processing software that merges the raw data into scans on the fly. In most cases, especially if the object is large and has complex geometry, full processing is required after scanning, but thanks to real-time fusion, the user can see a preview of the final 3D model on their screen during the scan and immediately understand if the collected data is complete or if some parts of the surface have been lost. Since the possibility of a second scan session was ruled out, Artec Studio’s real-time fusion played an indispensable role.

Simplified 3D data processing

Initial processing of the raw data was done on-site, taking only a few minutes. After verifying that they had gathered all the necessary data, the Onrol team headed back to their office to process the scans into a high-resolution 3D model in Artec Studio.

Artec Studio is loaded with a number of powerful features, allowing you, for example, to automatically remove the base on which the object was scanned, or to organically repair and seal holes and gaps in your scans. The software even takes care of the brightness while scanning, adjusting it to avoid overexposure. When is it really useful? If the lighting conditions were far from ideal during the scan, you may end up with one side of the object being brighter than the other and then having to spend hours fixing that. With automatic brightness adjustment, there is nothing to worry about.

The finishing touch, the texture mapping, was done at a rapid pace, all thanks to the fact that version 14 of the software, which was used in the project, saw an 800% increase in the speed of mapping textures.

Now, the 3D model was ready, and its measurements (length, width, and height) were taken.

All objectives met

Obtaining the 3D model of Little Blue One, the museum proceeded to the restoration. After it was completed, the montage was 3D scanned with Artec Eva and measured in Artec Studio again. No critical discrepancies were found between the two 3D models of the horse, attesting to the high quality of the restoration work.

The Onrol scanning team and museum administration agreed to collaborate further to monitor the condition of the restored mount so that it can be preserved centuries ahead.

The timely three-dimensional digitization of precious artifacts is key to preserving cultural heritage and advancing research in anthropology, paleontology, and a number of related fields. If they are shared or posted online, the high-resolution 3D models of artifacts can be accessed by anyone with an interest, regardless of where they are located. 3D scanning technology is an easy way to create digital doubles of fossils and specimens at excavation sites, or museum exhibits, avoiding the need for any physical contact with the object. Ultimately, 3D models can be displayed through interactive virtual reality platforms, expanding the reach of museums both locally and around the world.