Microsoft Flight Simulator, one of the most beautiful games in the world, uses Artec Leo to recreate ultra-realistic aircraft

Product: Artec LEO
Industry: Aerospace and Defense

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Cockpit view in the game Flight Simulator

Fourteen years following the last release of the world-famous flight simulation game, on Aug, 18, 2020, Microsoft and Asobo Studio unveiled the newest edition of Flight Simulator.

Already number one on the best-selling PC games chart since its release, Microsoft Flight Simulator is a worldwide hit, boasting more than 1 million unique players, with 26 million flights already having been flown in this super realistic simulation.

To recreate the game environment, the graphics, and the plane cockpits to the peak of perfection, Asobo Studio needed to faithfully include every last detail. This is even more important since the majority of players are pilots, passionate airplane enthusiasts, and other expert gamers with extensive knowledge of flight simulators.

3D technologies to help with performance imperatives

Engineers from Asobo Studio, France’s leading independent game developer for PC and consoles based in Bordeaux, used 3D scanning technologies to recreate with true-to-life precision the planes’ cockpits in the game, making even the tiniest details more realistic in this new release of Microsoft Flight Simulator.Microsoft Flight Simulator

Asobo vehicle designer scanning the inside of an aircraft with Artec Leo

This is why teams from Asobo Studio had to visit various runways to digitize multiple planes, ranging from aerobatic two-seaters all the way up to jumbo jets, with every aircraft scanned meticulously.

Those scanning operations took only a few weeks, and were accomplished with the help of the handheld 3D scanner Artec Leo, a device capable of scanning 80 frames per second, and operated via a simple touchscreen. The scanner was provided by 3D Numérisation, an Artec 3D partner.

This way, Artec Leo was used to rapidly capture the colors, shapes, and precise dimensions of a Robin DR 400 aircraft, as well as many other planes.

Once the planes are scanned, the data is then processed in Artec Studio software, where the scan mesh densities are reduced and optimized to match the game engine requirements before the scans are exported for further development. Artec Studio allows the user to create, edit, and process all the 3D data at hand, whatever the size, or resolution of the object being captured. Each scanned aircraft needs around one working day of software processing in order to be ready for export.

Ease of use, ultra-realism, and time saving

Artec Leo, which is capable of scanning any type of object, was also used to digitize other parts of the aircraft, such as the landing gear and fuselage.

It is obviously much faster to scan an existing object than to recreate it from scratch using 3D modeling software. 3D scanning technologies allow users to digitally bring to life an object identical to its real-world counterpart. To show how fast the process is, scanning a plane took from half a day to one day, depending on its size. Entire cockpits and landing gear could be captured in merely an hour.Microsoft Flight Simulator

Ultra-realistic aircraft models are tested inside the simulator

“We could capture a huge amount of data in such a short time, while changing the angle of scanning very quickly,” said Nicolas Favre, Vehicle Artist at Asobo Studio. “During the digitization process, the only difficulty was to find enough distance to scan the instrument panel inside the cockpit, which is a narrow cabin. Without 3D scanning, it would have been way longer and more difficult to reproduce such a high level of precision, especially for the many knobs and buttons inside the cockpit.”

“3D scanning was crucial in regards to time savings, and let us skip some quality control checks from different aircraft manufacturers who had to give us their authorization to validate our work. With 3D scan technologies, we could go directly to the modelization phase while earning trust and credibility from the manufacturers, who could verify the accuracy of our aircraft and cockpit models in our game,” explained Gabriel Turot, Vehicle Artist at Asobo Studio.

Asobo Studio, always up-to-date with the latest technologies, considers this 3D scanning project as a “Laboratory for ideas” to eventually use on other future projects, with the objective to create even more realistic video games.

Andrey Vakulenko, Chief Business Development Officer of Artec 3D, concluded “With this approach to simulation game development, anyone can virtually step inside an aircraft cockpit that’s vividly identical to the original. It is simply stunning to experience the results delivered by Asobo Studio for creating the planes in Flight Simulator. The Artec Leo scanner is normally used for the design of actual aircraft, and ensuring quality control of their parts. It is exciting to know that now everyone can enjoy 3D models of these planes with a level of quality chiefly used by aeronautical engineers. This opens the gates for countless developers across the video game industry, but also in virtual reality and augmented reality as well.”

Reaping good harvest: Artec Leo offers innovation to improve harvesting in France

Product: Artec Leo
Industry: Industrial Machinery and Heavy Equipment

From a means of survival to an essential economic activity around the world, agriculture has continued to transform and develop throughout history. Over time, it has made incredible strides. Aided by the rapid development of technology, agricultural operations now function in a much safer, more efficient, and sophisticated way. Still, the question remains: do these developments adequately address the challenges of the global food system, and sustainability issues?

Agri Techni Concept, an innovative French company, has a good answer.Agri Techni Concept

Bringing innovation to the field, literally (Photo courtesy of Agri Techni Concept)

Addressing the needs of local farmers

The food we bite into every day comes through a complex global web of farmers, food manufacturers, retailers, and technology providers. The latter’s impact is often a determining factor in making farming methods more refined and the whole system more sustainable. Agri Techni Concept, based in Sore, a small region in southwestern France, has contributed much to getting local farming practices/routines on the modern (and greener) track. Not only does the company create specialized equipment for agriculture and forestry, they also give a second life to agricultural machinery for harvesting root vegetables across France’s southwest.

A manufacturer that aims to exceed customers’ expectations, Agri Techni Concept has always kept an eye out for new technologies that might help them create more functional, efficient, and long-lasting equipment. With this in mind, the company turned to CADvision, a leading provider of advanced and integrated 3D solutions in France. With their unique expertise in CAD and additive manufacturing, CADvision has been a long-term Artec 3D partner, helping many businesses make surefire strategic investments.

And while agriculture may not be the first industry that leaps to mind when considering the various applications of 3D scanning, the company’s scanner of choice – Artec Leo – is there to show what benefits one can reap when using it in exactly this sector.Agri Techni Concept

3D scanning agricultural machinery with Artec Leo (Photo courtesy of Agri Techni Concept)

A unique 3D device to optimize harvesting

Benjamin Leroux, founder of Agri Techni Concept, has always been one for innovation. And for a special project, he needed a special solution: the company accepted the challenge of adapting and repairing agricultural equipment that would otherwise face obsolescence. To help farmers use tried and tested machines while still improving harvests by integrating customized parts, Leroux opted for Artec Leo, the world’s first and most renowned wireless 3D scanner. For Leroux, the three main criteria that helped him make his choice were Leo’s limitless portability, autonomy, and strong capacity for high-quality data acquisition.

This one-of-a-kind tetherless device makes 3D scanning completely effortless. In fact, the whole scanning process is so intuitive and easy that you may be overwhelmed with the power it holds within (just to give you a hint – a new NVIDIA processor, 5” HD built-in display, and battery). Leo guarantees accuracy and high-quality data capture at every stage of the process, which is crucial for older machinery parts drawings for that are no longer available.

Adaptability and precision that count

What made the entire project more challenging were the particular requirements of the farmers. For example, sand carrots, the vegetable Agri Techni harvests from light soils, need to be thoroughly cleaned right in the field, to facilitate further processing in the factories. Since only specific machines would be suitable for this, Leroux and his team needed to adapt the equipment to make it more efficient.

“Artec 3D technology gave another meaning to my work, I was able to gain speed but also precision to offer more qualitative models.”

To create an integrated carrot-cleaning module, Agri Techni first met with a customer to examine the machine intended to accommodate this module. The team designed an item in the form of a rubber star system to get carrots through, in order to remove as much sand as possible, thereby cleaning them. To make sure this core module would be fully integrated into the machine, they digitized the equipment with Leo.Agri Techni Concept

Customized carrot cleaning module (Photo courtesy of Agri Techni Concept)

Farming in 3D – faster, sharper, easier

Scanning was mostly done in two to three minutes, in some cases extending to ten minutes in case the object was bigger than usual. Once scanned, the data from the objects was sent to Artec Studio for quick processing and tidying. Famous for high-precision results, the intuitive 3D software allowed to seamlessly complete the scanning process and export the 3D model into CAD software for further specific manipulations. “When the data is sent to Artec Studio, I work on the file to ensure that the rendering will be perfectly cleaned of the various imperfections noted during the scan,” Leroux explained.

“The scanner allows me above all to obtain precise measurements to have a substantial database that will be easily usable for processing in CAD software. 3D technology gave another meaning to my work, I was able to gain speed but also precision to offer more qualitative models.”Agri Techni Concept

Any machine adaptations fit perfectly thanks to 3D digitization (Photo courtesy of Agri Techni Concept)

Another example was of a customer who was keen to cut his sowing time with the help of a modified equipment. Agri Techni specialists came to the farm to inspect the machine and discuss possible options – then, they came up with a plan to install a fertilizer spreader and mount a hoe on a lifting system to minimize the number of passes for the tractor.

The machine was scanned in minute detail to make sure any adaptations would perfectly fit its shape. “Agricultural machines are often quite bulky, so it was necessary for me to have a practical and easily transportable scanner to carry out my operations directly at the farmers without any logistical constraints,” Leroux said of the process.

Agri Techni has participated in a range of equipment adaptation projects, all of which required precision and adaptability only 3D scanning technology could offer. Whether when scanning large parts or taking precise measurements off the hard-to-reach ones, Artec Leo easily took care of the difficult parts. To provide farmers with the machines they needed, Leroux needed to adjust parts to properties and dimensions of many different objects, which would also be impossible without accurate 3D digitization.Agri Techni Concept

Highly precise parts reproduction made possible (Photo courtesy of Agri Techni Concept)

According to the French company, there was no blueprint available for most agricultural machines they had encountered in similar projects. Some essential yet timed machinery units would thus be especially challenging to recreate, as would the ones of the curved, irregular shape, such as soil-loosening machinery buckets. Artec Leo came to the rescue: it was now entirely possible to measure such parts with submillimeter precision so that the replacements fit perfectly on the machines. Even without repair or restoration plans in place for older machines, the team would be able to reproduce spare parts for them quickly and easily. Instead of excessive consumption and additional investment, farmers would get the chance to enhance the equipment they already had.

A global perspective: agriculture transformed

Regardless of their complexity, agricultural machinery parts now have a chance for a second life. In a global vision, this means that the use of 3D technology does not just optimize the equipment customization for the farmers, but enables them to save time, funds, and effort in the long run, leading to greater sustainability. Knowing this fully well, Agri Techni Concept are currently planning to extend their practices and offer 3D scanning services directly to companies who are looking to streamline their agricultural workflows.

There’s a lot on the horizon for the agricultural sector, because the history of innovation keeps unfolding. Replacing parts for machinery, manufacturing bespoke tools, scale models for farming facilities – these are just a few of the cost-effective solutions 3D scanning could offer. With 3D methods and tech evolving massively, some of the most pressing farming challenges may be solved with these advancements – like they have been this time, in the fields of France.

Building a Hellcat-powered ‘57 International Metro van with Artec Leo

Product: Artec Leo
Industry: Automotive and Transportation

Background

From the time he was five, Chad Forward knew he wanted to build things. After 15 years of working in leading automotive design studios in Australia and design consulting for custom automotive shops, he started his own restoration business, Scratch Build Co, to continue doing what he always loved – building cars.

Launched in 2012 as a side project that Forward devoted himself to on weekends, Scratch Build is now a full-time design studio and collaborative space. There, Forward and his fellow subcontractors – automotive designers, technicians, and electricians – work on creating design solutions for aftermarket creators of automotive products or custom-built cars.

“I was always attracted to people who are excited about what they try to create,” said Forward. “By observing incredible craftspeople and amazing designers in Toyota, Ford, and other design studios, I really saw the opportunity to employ those people and build a space where everyone can come and create something for the benefit of the Australian auto market.”

As the name suggests, a lot of what Forward is doing entails building things from scratch, be it a part that can’t be bought anymore, or an entire process that a client is trying to reinvent. Until 2017, his typical reverse engineering workflow would take a great deal of time, without the results to show for it. “Sometimes it would take me a whole day to measure up a chassis, getting really basic measurements, and then trying to model from that information in CAD”, added Forward. “Often, because of taking everything on so quickly, I missed something that was fairly critical. And it involved going back and forth a number of times as well.”

“Artec’s cutting-edge and truly portable Leo scanner is a massive breakthrough in the 3D scanning industry.”

When Artec released its wireless handheld 3D scanner Artec Leo that year, Forward was immediately on board. “20 years ago when I had my first custom-car business, I thought this technology would never exist in my lifetime,” he said. Forward pre-ordered the scanner through Artec’s Australian reseller, Objective3D, and, according to the team, was the first lucky customer to get it at that time.

“Artec’s cutting-edge and truly portable Leo scanner is a massive breakthrough in the 3D scanning industry, and we at Objective3D are proud to bring this technology to the Australian and New Zealand market,” said Matt Minio, Managing Director of Objective3D. “It’s especially beneficial for automotive engineers who can use it to reverse engineer parts and see how they affect the performance of a vehicle.”Scratch Build

Artec Leo enables the founder of Scratch Build to measure any part simply (Image by streetmachine.com.au)

Designed with both mobility and ease of use in mind, Artec Leo is a powerful and one-of-a-kind 3D scanner that doesn’t need a PC or laptop to work with. An extensive field of view allows the scanner to easily snap both medium to large industrial parts, or entire vehicles in 3D, with quality-assured accuracy and exceptional resolution.

Powered by automatic onboard processing, wireless connectivity, inbuilt touch screen, and battery, the scanner provides full autonomy and freedom of movement wherever the user is, be it a custom car shop, a factory floor, or a far remote location with no power access.

For Forward, it was a no-brainer: “It took me four years to convince myself I needed to spend $4,000 on a 3D printer, but it took me 15 minutes to convince myself to buy a $40K scanner.”

Getting to work

Once the scanner arrived, Forward put it straight into work, and hasn’t stopped since: anything that needs to be measured car-wise now gets scanned with Leo, onsite in the shop or out in the field, saving him and his clients precious time. He now spends those free hours on CAD modeling, designing, and prototyping car parts and components, using the data he scans as a reference.

“The freedom that this single machine has offered me is unbelievable. Regardless of the location or parts’ complexity, I’m now able to capture the data simply,” Forward added.Scratch Build

Forward uses data from Leo as a reference for CAD modeling in SOLIDWORKS and Autodesk Alias (Image by streetmachine.com.au)

The typical workflow looks like this: Forward or one of his design colleagues drives to the client and scans whatever needs to be scanned, then all the data gets transferred to one of their desktop computers, which is set up solely for processing in Artec Studio.

“I have two desktop computers: one for processing all the scanned data and the second one for the CAD modeling. I always have things going on, so I prefer to run them in parallel,” Forward explained. Depending on the part scanned, he then loads it into either SOLIDWORKS or Autodesk Alias to create a solid CAD model.Scratch Build

Artec Leo’s built-in display allows Forward to preview the results of his scan in real-time (Image by streetmachine.com.au)

Using a 3D scanner at the clients’ locations has also brought Forward new opportunities work-wise: “Every time I take Leo out somewhere, I am almost guaranteed to pick up another job from just visiting one place. One place will send me to another place, and so on,” he shared. While on site, he also collects more data than he needs to – building his own catalog of sorts, gathering valuable data from parts that can no longer be found.

The 1957’s International Metro Van

One of the biggest projects where Forward has been able to make full use of the scanner so far is the 1957 International Metro Step Van that he and his business partner from another automotive shop, Luke Williams, are on a mission to restore from the ground up by the end of 2023.

The owner of the van didn’t just want to renovate the vehicle as is, but pair its vintage exterior with the power of a sports car, featuring the supercharged 6.2L HEMI Hellcat V8 engine.

Coming standard on the Dodge Challenger SRT® Hellcat models, today’s most powerful modern American muscle cars, the V8 boasts more than 700 horsepower, which, unlike the van’s original engine, will allow the owner to freely drive his van all across the country. Apart from the engine, he also wanted to tune up the design, so the van looked less “puffy,” as well as retain all the factory electronics.Scratch Build

Original body of the 1957 Metro Van before the restoration (Image by Chad Forward)

After collecting the design and engineering requirements from the owner and making some preliminary sketches, Forward and Williams came up with a plan: since the van’s body was too worn out and rusty to restore, it would be faster to build the entire vehicle completely from scratch, using the scans of the older and modified parts as a base for modeling new parts in CAD.

Step 1. Sculpting the body

The first step: to cut up and sculpt the body. The plan was to modify an existing body – or one of its parts – to the desired shape, then 3D scan this part and use the data as a starting point for modeling an entire body in CAD.

In order to do that, Williams cut up a factory body with an angle grinder, welded it back in slightly different positions, and then used a lot of body filler and primer to create a matte surface that he was happy with.Scratch Build

The plan was to modify one of the body parts to the desired shape, and then 3D scan this part for modeling an entire body in CAD (Image by streetmachine.com.au)

Step 2. Building the chassis

In the meantime, Forward set up all the drivetrain components of the Dodge Hellcat – the engine, all the wiring, the front and rear suspension – on a base platform that he built around the chassis. He wanted to see how all the components fit together, if they met ADR (Australian Design Rules) standards, and scan them to see which new chassis parts needed to be modeled in CAD.

Step 3. 3D scanning

Then it was time for Forward to scan the primed front left corner of the van, as well as the chassis and other internal components, using his Artec Leo. All the scanning just took a few minutes; he then uploaded all the data to Artec Studio for processing and creating an .STL file.Scratch Build

Forward scanning the van with Artec Leo (Image by streetmachine.com.au)Scratch Build

3D scan of a modified body, captured with Artec LeoScratch Build

3D scan of a rear suspension

Step 4. Modeling the van’s body

Next: To model the body surface. For that, Forward imported the scan data from Artec Studio into Autodesk Alias, computer-aided industrial design software for automotive exteriors, and used this data as the blueprint to create the sketches of a future body surface.Scratch Build

Forward uses Autodesk Alias software to create car body surfaces from the sketches that he makes over the top of the scanned data (Image by streetmachine.com.au)Scratch Build

3D scan (light blue) and CAD data (blue) in Alias software

Step 5. Modeling the chassis

For modeling the chassis and all the other engineering parts, Forward uses SOLIDWORKS. Following the same workflow, he uploaded the scan data captured with Leo into SW and modeled the new parts around it. Having accurate 3D replicas of the internal components allows Forward to use them as precise references during his design process, and also have a clearer understanding of what issues he may run into. As he progresses through his design, he scans more components, and adds them to the software as reference models.Scratch Build

Forward uses the scan of the chassis to be modeled as a platform to create a CAD model in SOLIDWORKS

Step 6. Laser cutting & welding the new components

After the SOLIDWORKS stage, Forward sent all the CAD components for laser cutting, and then welding to the chassis.Scratch Build

Laser-cut flat parts loosely tapped together before final welding to the chassis (Image by streetmachine.com.au)

After welding all the chassis components, the whole internal build was sent to an auto electrician to get the chassis up and running with all the Hellcat’s original components. As this was taking place, Forward was preparing to cut up the body surface modeled from the scan data (in Step 4) to build an auto body buck that could then be used for fabricating the panels and test fitting.Scratch Build

The final design of the new body style that Forward will use to create the body buck

The team expects to finish all the body work in the next 12 months, having given themselves another few months to work on the interior, painting, and other smaller tasks by the end of 2023. Once complete, Forward hopes this project will become a good platform to educate other studios and clients.

“Metro Van is a great example of how I think all cars should be recreated,” said Forward. “Although our process takes time, it will take way longer to restore the old car as is, than to build it from scratch backed by the data from a 3D scanner. Being able to capture information in 3D, reverse engineer and make components based around what I’ve captured – that is what I fundamentally set up this business for.”

“As soon as HD Mode was available, it absolutely blew my mind – it’s like I bought a new scanner.”

Since Forward has switched to 3D scanning, he has never looked back. Being able to create exact digital copies of automotive parts instead of measuring them by hand has been a massive game-changer in the way he works, the accuracy of the data he collects, and his overall productivity.

And it’s only getting better. “I have always been amazed with the workflow and the continued upgrade of everything that Artec has done to stay ahead of the curve,” he said. “Every time the product re-opens, it’s like a whole new level of excitement for me. The difference between Artec Studio 15 and 16 is absolutely massive – as soon as HD Mode was available, it absolutely blew my mind, it’s like I bought a new scanner.”

How Sherrill Furniture supercharges their CGI workflow with Artec Leo

Product: ArtecLeo
Industry: Consumer Products and Retail

In the world of custom luxury furniture, clients expect to see what they’re about to order, especially when a virtually unlimited number of combinations of fabrics, leathers, finishes, colors, hardware, and accessories can dramatically change the look and feel of any upholstery or casegoods furniture piece. If not in person, then at least in a printed catalog or online.

But with the traditional method of using photography to create images for product listings, this is no easy feat.Sherrill Furniture

Pairing 3D-scanned custom furniture in a CGI-rendered room scene. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

Each individually customized piece must first be manufactured and then captured from multiple angles in a dedicated photo shoot, otherwise the client is simply told to “imagine” what their new furniture will look like when it gets delivered. And from a customer’s point of view, it’s a risky thing to be such a pioneer.

Only the best

For Sherrill Furniture of Hickory, North Carolina, this wasn’t good enough. Ever since opening their doors in 1945, their goal has been maximum customer satisfaction, not just in terms of the highest-quality materials and craftsmanship, but also meeting and exceeding their clients’ expectations every step of the way.Sherrill Furniture

3D-scanned Sherrill Furniture custom chair in a CGI-rendered living room scene. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

As such, they searched for a way to show their clients worldwide exactly what the furniture of their dreams was going to look like, even before it’s ever made. And with thousands of unique pieces available, plus dozens of custom furniture programs from across the company’s nine brands, whatever solution they adopted would also need to be fast and flexible.

Sherrill Furniture VP of Marketing Dax Allen and his team’s research led them to 3D scanning as part of a dedicated scan-to-CGI imaging pipeline, one that would allow them to create dozens of fully customizable 3D models for product listings week after week, year in, year out.Sherrill Furniture

3D-scanned Sherrill Furniture custom chairs in a CGI-rendered room scene. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

At the same time, this would also streamline their content creation workflow, removing any existing bottlenecks while preventing new ones from ever arising.

With these requirements in mind, they contacted the 3D scanning experts at Artec Ambassador Digitize Designs and spoke with Sales Engineer Bo Helmrich, who immediately recommended the Artec Leo to them.

A fully portable, handheld 3D scanner with a built-in touchscreen and computer, which delivers submillimeter-precise color 3D scans, the Artec Leo excels at capturing medium-sized objects, particularly in places where maneuverability is a must, such as the crowded showrooms where Sherrill Furniture’s design team needs to scan.

“Once I realized how quickly Leo captures data, I started moving faster, and Leo has no problem keeping up with me.”

Handheld, hi-tech solutions

After purchasing their Leo, Allen and his team worked closely with Helmrich in coming up with an efficient workflow for capturing furniture pieces and processing the scans in Artec Studio software.Sherrill Furniture

Sherrill Furniture’s Noah Carney scanning a chair with Artec Leo. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

In the words of Design Engineer Tanner Pittmon, “Bo helped me work out the best way to scan whatever kinds of pieces I need to capture, from small chairs all the way up to full-sized sectionals, which means working from left to right, while capturing some of the upper and lower parts of the piece along the way.”

He continued, “With Leo, we don’t need to use any targets or markers at all, and the only problem I had initially was that I was scanning too slowly and too much data was building up. Once I realized how quickly Leo captures data, I started moving faster, and Leo has no problem keeping up with me.”Sherrill Furniture

Original Sherrill Furniture wood-frame chairs awaiting 3D scanning with Artec Leo. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

If there’s ever some aspect or detail that wasn’t captured in its entirety, “I can confirm this right away on Leo’s touchscreen while I’m scanning,” Pittmon said, adding, “And then with one wave of the scanner, that’s it, I have everything.”

“Having Leo means never having to return to the showroom for a repeat scan.”

Leo’s ability to make gap-free scans of even complex, naturally shaped furniture is crucial to the workflow. If there were any gaps in the scans when the CGI team receives them, they wouldn’t be able to realistically wrap the virtual upholstery to the model, and the quality would suffer.

That’s one reason why each individual component is scanned separately, and then brought together in Artec Studio later on before sending them to the CGI team. This means every cushion and pillow and other element is scanned by itself, thus ensuring full 360-degree coverage from top to bottom.

Marketing Coordinator Noah Carney said, “With Leo, we don’t have to wait until we’re starting to process the scans to understand whether we missed some detail that’s important for the CGI team to do their work.”Sherrill Furniture

Artec Studio screenshot of the wood-frame chair scan. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

Carney explained, “When we visit our showroom, we’ll be capturing 20 pieces or more in one afternoon, and then we’ll head back to the office for processing the scans. Having Leo means never having to return to the showroom for a repeat scan.”Sherrill Furniture

CGI render of the wood-frame chair with customized visualization. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

A customized craft

Once the scans are uploaded in Artec Studio software, they’re processed and turned into 3D models, which takes just a few minutes of aligning the various scans for each piece, and cleaning up any non-essential data present.Sherrill Furniture

Processing Leo scans of a chair in Artec Studio software. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

Following this, the 3D models are sent over to the CGI team, who import them into ZBrush. There, they focus on refining the geometry in preparation for the next step, which takes place in 3D Studio Max. That’s the stage where they add in seams and UV and other model changes not done in ZBrush.Sherrill Furniture

CGI render of Sherrill Furniture’s Dundee Natural chair, from Artec Leo scans. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

The final results of their work are vividly lifelike 3D models of each piece, which can be zoomed in on, inspected up close, and modified at the click of the mouse to change the upholstery from Acapella Red to Zussman Seafoam green, or anything in between.Sherrill Furniture

CGI render of Sherrill Furniture’s Sauvage Saddle chair, from Artec Leo scans. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

And various finishes, color schemes, and accessories can be instantly selected and visualized, showing the client exactly what the company’s master craftsmen will be bringing to life and shipping out in the days ahead.Sherrill Furniture

CGI render of Sherrill Furniture custom sofa, from Artec Leo scans. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

Pittmon said, “One little trick that we do with Leo for keeping the realism high is when we’re scanning a sofa, for example, we’ll scan both the right and left sides. Many companies out there will take a shortcut and just mirror one side to the other, but we never do that.”Sherrill Furniture

Artec Studio screenshot showing Leo scans of Sherrill Furniture custom sofa set. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

He continued, “Because in bench made furniture there are tiny, unique differences between the two sides that will register when you look closely: wrinkles, folds, even the way the light plays upon the surface of the fabric, and without this realism, the model will just look fake.”Sherrill Furniture

CGI render of the same custom sofa set, visualized with different upholstery and style. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

Pittmon has also used Leo in a scan-to-CAD capacity with SOLIDWORKS, to reverse engineer furniture. One such project involved a classic chair that had no design drawings to accompany it. Less than a day later, and the Sherrill Furniture manufacturing team can now reproduce it anytime in a range of variations, on demand.Sherrill Furniture

Reverse engineering with Artec Leo: CGI renders of the original classic chair (L) and the final customized version (R). (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

Explaining this project, Pittmon said, “If you take a look at these two chairs, the one on the right doesn’t even exist. From the Leo scans, the CGI team created a 3D model, extending the back higher. They can also stretch out the width of the chair into a love seat or even a complete sofa.”Sherrill Furniture

Artec Leo scan of the original classic chair, in Artec Studio software. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

He continued, “These customized versions of the chair don’t need to be physically created right now. We’re building them virtually. And then, later on, manufacturing can respond to that need.”

Whenever design drawings don’t exist for a piece, Pittmon can quickly construct a CAD model of the virtual chair or sofa using SOLIDWORKS and send it on directly to the product development team at the furniture factory.Sherrill Furniture

Design drawings for the customized version of the chair, created by the Sherrill Furniture CGI team. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

Finding new solutions

Allen spoke about the contrast between old and new: “Early on, we conducted a side-by-side comparison of traditional photography vs our new 3D CGI pipeline with Leo,” he said. While the 3D approach does initially cost more and take longer to complete overall, it does allow them to leverage the 3D model with multiple fabrics, finishes, and more.

“[Using 3D scanning] is at least 30X more efficient on a cost-per-visual-asset basis than traditional photography. And, we’ve actually improved the visual quality vs photography,” he continued. “It’s an amazing result.”Sherrill Furniture

CGI-rendered 3D models of the original classic chair (L) and the customized version with extended back (R), from Artec Leo scans. (Photo: Sherrill Furniture)

He added, “An example of this came up during the testing, when our team realized that a sofa hadn’t been photographed. The photography team had to cancel the shoot and make plans to re-shoot in 4 weeks when the sofa would be ready.”

“In contrast, the CGI team took the 3D model of the chair that was made from Leo scans, matched the sofa frame to it, and used that to digitally create 100% accurate visuals for the sofa in a 2-hour window from start to finish.”

Allen and his team continue to refine their workflow as they look for any edge that will further accelerate the pipeline while never sacrificing even a millimeter on quality.

“It’s the largest object we ever scanned!” Artec 3D scans gigantic gas engine in Luxembourg

Product: Artec Leo
Industry: Industrial Machinery and Heavy Equipment

Modern, professional-grade 3D scanners can capture all kinds of objects – from tiny things such as a screw or a human tooth to much larger and more complex objects including vehicles, rooms, or even entire buildings. You can use them from the comfort of your own desk, or take them to remote, faraway places – even those with no electrical outlets or internet connections.

It hasn’t always been this way, though. Until very recently, 3D scanners could only be used indoors, under certain lighting conditions, with a steady power source and powerful computer. They were often bulky and heavy, making them difficult, if not impossible, to maneuver while scanning. Most significantly, such scanners could only capture objects of limited sizes – something that could fit on your desk like a sculpture bust, or a flower pot. Anything larger was either too difficult, too time-consuming, or simply impossible to scan.

This was the situation the team at the Luxembourg Science Center found themselves in back in 2016 when they decided to digitize one of Luxembourg’s national monuments called “Groussgasmaschinn” – the world’s largest blast furnace gas engine. To find the best possible way to capture an object as big as this, they reached out to the 3D scanning experts at Artec 3D headquarters in Luxembourg.

Gas Engine #11

Built in 1938 by Ehrhardt & Sehmer, the Groussgasmaschinn is the largest gas engine ever built

Built in 1938 by German manufacturing company Ehrhardt & Sehmer by order of a Franco-Belgian consortium called “Hauts-fourneaux et Aciéries de Differdange, St-Ingbert & Rumelange” (HADIR), the Groussgasmaschinn is so large it could contain an entire tennis court, and then some. It is 26 meters long, 10.5 meters wide, and 6.5 meters high, weighs 1,100 tons, and was able to produce 11,000 horsepower, or up to 7000 kilowatts. It has four cylinders, each of which had a capacity of 3,000 liters, and an 11-meter and 150-ton flywheel, which rotated at 94 RPM. The engine was operated by 12 workers per shift, and during its lifetime (1942-1979) produced more than 6,000 kW of power from blast furnace gas (a waste product generated by the combustion of coke fuel in blast furnaces).

The Groussgasmaschinn in the Differdange Gas Plant in 1940. Photo courtesy of the Luxembourg Science Center

Located in Differdange, Luxembourg’s industrial town 27 kilometers southwest of Luxembourg City, in a former steel production plant currently owned by world-leading steel and mining company ArcelorMittal, this 1,100-ton industrial masterpiece stands as the last witness of a once booming, now bygone era of the Luxembourg steel industry.

It was one of 14 other gas machines of various sizes and horsepower installed in the Differdange Gas Engine Plant between 1896 and the 1940s, with the Groussgasmaschinn being the largest. The engine was installed and put into full operation in May 1942, two years after the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg was occupied by Germany during World War II. Despite the Nazi occupation, there were no service interruptions, bombardments, or explosives planted in the vicinity of the Gas Plant throughout the entirety of the war. And at the end of the war, the gas engine was left intact.

The engine was not only the largest ever built, but probably one of the last ones as well, due to the emergence of more efficient and readily available steam turbines. After its shutdown in 1979, the Groussgasmaschinn remained abandoned for nearly 30 years. It came back from the brink of oblivion in 2007 when Luxembourg’s Ministry of Culture designated it as a National Monument worthy of preservation and restoration. Thanks to the support of the Groussgasmaschinn Association (further evolved into the Luxembourg Science Center) and a privately held firm called “GGM11” that served as the project’s sponsor, restoration work began five years later, in 2012, and is still ongoing.

It was during this time that the Center developed the idea not simply to restore the gigantic engine back to its best shape, but also to digitally preserve it for future generations. In 2016 they reached out to Artec 3D in Luxembourg, but even the best of the scanning technology available at the time wasn’t able to capture something this huge. Fast forward a few years, and with new 3D scanning options developed and available, Artec was ready to scan an object as massive as this.

“We’ve been meaning to scan this engine for a very long time, and we’re glad that the technology is finally here to help us do it. There is no other gas engine like this one, and it’s crucial to capture it in its current state,” said Nicolas Didier, President and General Manager of the Luxembourg Science Center.

“This data can not only help us with the restoration process by being able to recreate some missing parts and elements out of 3D scans, it also is a great way to showcase GGM11 to our remote visitors as well as demonstrate the potential of such innovative technologies as 3D scanning, which we’re planning to introduce and teach at the Center later this year.”

Scanning Big

“It’s the largest object we ever scanned! And much bigger than I expected,” said Vadim Zaremba, Deployment and Technical Support Engineer at Artec 3D, when he first visited the Gas Plant to assess the scope of future work in November 2020. After examining the gas engine and passing all the required security procedures in early 2021, Vadim returned to the Gas Plant with his colleague, Technical Support Specialist Raul Monteiro, and all the necessary gear.

As in most cases, the size and complexity of the object determines the scanners to be used. Artec Ray was chosen as the primary scanner for capturing the entire engine, due to its ability to scan large objects from a distance with submillimeter accuracy, while the Artec Leo, a wireless, portable 3D scanner, was chosen as a second device, specifically for capturing high levels of detail from the smaller parts and sections of the engine.

“GGM11 is not only the largest object we ever scanned, but it’s also a very complex one,” added Zaremba. “It has many cavities and hard-to-reach places, that’s why having two scanners that could capture both the entire machine and its smaller parts in high definition (and with two people operating them) was essential.”

The size and complexity of the object determined the scanners to be used: Artec Ray and Artec Leo

The plan was, first, to scan the engine with Ray from as many angles as possible, to capture the entire object, and then go back and scan any missing, smaller, hard-to-reach sections with Leo. Because Ray was scanning at maximum resolution (point density), to save some time, the team decided to split up. Zaremba was positioning Ray at various locations, at one particular angle, 5 to 15 meters away from the engine, while Monteiro was scanning smaller sections of the engine (which weren’t in Ray’s field of view) with Leo. Then Zaremba moved on to the next spot, and Monteiro followed behind, along the same route.

While Ray silently scans the engine, Zaremba steps away for a minute or two of scanning smaller sections up close with Leo

One of the most challenging tasks was that of scanning the engine from above. To accomplish this, the team had to climb a special bridge built in the 1940s-1950s, which features a cabin hanging 10 meters above the floor, as this was the ideal spot for scanning the engine from multiple angles. This was easier said than done. The bridge was old and unstable, and under the weight of two people plus a 3D scanner, such a foundation was not conducive to creating high-quality scans. To ensure that the scan data was flawless, Zaremba and Monteiro had to remain completely still for several minutes while the scanner did its job.

Overall, it took the team four working days to complete the project, with three-to-four-hour shifts of active scanning every day. The engine was scanned from 18 different angles with Artec Ray, and these were later combined in Artec Studio with 67 more scans made with Artec Leo. The final size of the project came to 186 GB in total, with 170 GB of Leo scans and 16 GB of Ray scans.

Powerful processing

Processing an object as big as this was a challenge in itself. To make sure all the data was processed correctly, Artec 3D Tech Support Engineer Dmitry Potoskuev split up the process into several batches:

He started with Ray data first. He cleaned up the data by removing all the unnecessary objects that the scanner picked while scanning the engine (using the Eraser tool), such as parts of the Gas Plant building, windows, walls, and various other equipment around the GGM11.

Then he focused on unifying the flywheel and other parts data across all 18 scans by erasing specific data from some frames using the Eraser tool. This was necessary because several scans were done on different days, and the position of the flywheel and a few other parts changed a few times when the engine was turned on by GGM11 staff for demonstrations. This could result in some mismatches if those scans were simply merged together as is.

Following that, all Ray scans went through Global Registration to be registered between each other. Then each of 18 scans were processed into meshes using the “Ray scan triangulation” algorithm with Polygon edge length (max) at 10 mm. This was done to filter all the surfaces with a large distance between the vertices, and as a result, to get a more detailed and clean surface afterwards. After that, all the 18 triangulated meshes were processed using Sharp Fusion algorithm to create a single mesh aka “skeleton” of the engine’s model.

The next step was to add all the details captured with Leo. Because of the size of all the data (170 GB), Potoskuev broke the process down into several steps.

First, he duplicated and locked the original Ray mesh. The duplicated copy was simplified to 5-10 million polygons and locked too. This was done to fasten the further registration process. Next, he uploaded all Leo scans (divided into 17 groups during scanning) to the duplicated Ray project, and each of them was registered with the separately simplified Ray project for higher-quality alignment of data.

After all the Leo scans were registered, Potoskuev selected the original Ray mesh and 4-5 raw registered Leo scans, and applied the Sharp Fusion algorithm to create a new mesh. He repeated the process until all the Leo scans were processed with the original Ray mesh into a final mesh of the gas engine.

The final mesh consisted of around 350 million polygons, which were then reduced to 10 million polygons for further post-processing, using such features as Hole Filling tools, the Smooth Brush, and Bridges. The total processing time for the largest gas engine ever built? All done within two weeks, or 80 hours of actual time.

Speaking about some of the challenges he faced while working on the model, Potoskuev said, “Time was definitely the greatest challenge. This project was so big, not only did scanning and processing take a long time, but transferring the data from the scanners to the computer, and then into Artec Studio, could take up to as much as 5-6 hours…just for transferring! We’re talking about almost 200 gigabytes of data – it’s the largest and most time-consuming object we’ve processed, for sure.”

But as with the best things, patience pays off. “I’ve never worked on a project as massive as this,” said Potoskuev. “It’s amazing that with the 3D scanning technology we have today, something so vast and inaccessible has been digitized right down to its finest details.”

From 1940s all the way to 2020s, the Groussgasmaschinn got a second breath thanks to the power of 3D scanning technologies

The final result

While this massive task is now complete, the engine’s story is far from over.

“With this gigantic engine 3D scanned, we can use this data to restore some missing parts and preserve it in its current state, so even if it loses its shape with time, we can still go back to this 3D model and show it to our future visitors, and use it for restoration purposes,” said Nicolas Didier, President and General Manager of the Luxembourg Science Center.

“We hope to finish the renovation of the engine by 2027-28 and make it an integral part of the Science Center, one of the interactive stations that our visitors can not only see, but interact with as well. And with the two Leos that we purchased earlier this year for our Future Skills program, our students and staff will be able to 3D scan it on their own!”

3D scanning for traffic accident reconstruction: How Origin Forensics uses Artec Leo

Product: Artec Leo
Industry: Automotive and Transportation

Every time forensic accident reconstruction expert Jarrod Carter, Ph.D., steps up to a twisted wreck, he sees a book of stories waiting to be told: how fast was the car moving when it slammed into the bridge? How many seconds before impact did the driver hit the brakes? Was everyone inside wearing their seat belts? And how well did the car’s safety features protect its occupants?

When Carter and his team at Origin Forensics are called upon to help tell the story behind a wreck, they collect a wide variety of data, including 3D site models from drone photos and tripod-based laser scanners, police reports, scene photos or videos from police or others, surveillance footage, stop-light camera video, dash cam video, and event data recorder (EDR, a.k.a. the car’s “black box”) data.

These varied sources offer up a broad spectrum of details from the seconds leading up to and including the crash: brake usage, accelerator application, steering wheel angle, lateral/longitudinal acceleration, roll rate, engine RPMs, gear positions, and more.

A recent addition to their storytelling toolbox is the Artec Leo.

Origin uses the Leo, a wireless handheld 3D scanner unlike any other, to tell the story behind the twisted metal that is a wrecked vehicle. Based on experience, they have found that the Leo can faithfully generate a digital twin of a vehicle’s exterior or interior in under an hour, from bumper to bumper, with submillimeter accuracy.

Artec Studio software screenshot showing the Leo scan of the 2014 Dodge Charger

In the past, as part of their push to create digital twins of wrecked vehicles, they used a tripod‑mounted 3D laser scanner. The scanning process entailed physically repositioning the scanner numerous times around the vehicle, at multiple elevations, inside and out, to record as much detail as possible.

And, even with all the repositioning, the detail, while tremendously better than the plumb bob and tape measure method Carter used at the beginning of his career, was still lacking in the qualities necessary to create a convincing digital twin.

Another significant problem with the tripod-based laser scanner workflow was time. Each scan with a tripod-based scanner takes several minutes, not including the time associated with repositioning. A detailed scan of a vehicle could easily take an hour and, in some cases, as much as two or three hours.

A brief window of time to scan the entire vehicle

When Carter and his team get down to work, they generally have a window of four to eight hours of access to a vehicle, and scanning is not their only agenda item. And, as a rule, they treat their time with the vehicle as though it is the last time they, or anyone, will ever see it. So, any time savings afforded during the scanning phase provides extra breathing room to ensure that the inspection is as complete as possible.

“This (the issue of time) is one of the main reasons I kept my eye out for a better solution than our tripod‑based laser scanner. I was looking for speed and flexibility, which Leo gives us, especially since it has no cables or attached computer to slow you down. I no longer feel as though the rest of the inspection is being rushed so that I can make sufficient time to scan the vehicle,” Carter said.

Jarrod Carter Ph.D., scanning a Dodge Minivan with Artec Leo (at Insurance Auto Auction in Puyallup, WA)

“Because the vehicle is at the very center of our work, it is important to spend enough time gathering the data needed for its digital twin, even when that took us a lot longer than it does today. Now, with Leo, we collect the data for the vehicle’s digital twin so much faster. And I can use the touchscreen on the back to check the quality of the 3D mesh it’s making, the texture being captured, to make sure I have what I need before I leave,” said Carter.

If I missed some aspect of the vehicle or didn’t get the detail I wanted in an area, I can easily rescan the bit I’m interested in with a wave of the scanner. It’s not like in the past with our tripod-based laser scanning workflow, where we’d have to wait till we got back to the office and started processing the data before we realized that some texture or geometry was captured less than ideally. With Leo, when we walk away from the vehicle, we’re confident it’s all there.”

The crucial need for extensive, true-to-life textures

As it relates to the texture data, Carter expressed high praise for the Leo’s capability, “What we weren’t expecting with Leo was the fidelity of the texture information it captures. The color and surface details appear photorealistic, or very nearly so. And the texture is not isolated to the individual points in the point cloud, like with a tripod-based scanner.”

“Instead, the texture fills the spaces between those points. A side benefit of filling in the gaps comes when you examine the vehicle from perspectives you didn’t consider when you were at the inspection. Now I’m not limited by the photos I took at the inspection. I can generate, on demand, what look like inspection photos of different aspects of the vehicle.”

Carter continued, “With Leo, we get highly accurate scans that provide more than enough geometry data for any analysis we need to conduct. And then you add in the photo texture to make it real. I remember the first time I zoomed in on the model of a vehicle we captured with our Leo. It was phenomenal. It looked exactly like the vehicle, which is what you want with a digital twin. We weren’t able to generate such high-fidelity models in the past. Not even close.”

Artec Studio screenshot showing the Leo scan of the Dodge Minivan

Having a digital twin of the vehicle that’s lifelike down to the smallest detail has become an expectation for Carter and his team since they started using their Leo. “When we sit down to go through the Leo scans in Artec Studio, it’s like being right there alongside the vehicle exactly as it looked during the inspection. We can visualize the evidence from any perspective we want, and we can measure it with exceptional accuracy,” Carter said.

Inspecting vehicle damage in Artec Studio

Carter explained one way they use the data from their Leo, “Once we compile the scans of a damaged vehicle, we align any undamaged portions of that vehicle with a 3D model or scan dataset of a similar undamaged vehicle. The comparison of damaged to undamaged allows us to determine the extent of crush on the damaged vehicle, which then provides a springboard for determining the direction and magnitude of collision forces, as well as how much energy was absorbed in the collision.”

“We can estimate change-in-velocity (delta-V) from absorbed energy and impact speed with enough other evidence. Additionally, we can use the comparison between the damaged and undamaged vehicles alongside our collision analysis to assist other experts who are trying to determine how the occupants were injured, and still other experts who are assessing the potential that some aspect of the vehicle’s design or manufacturing caused or enhanced those injuries.”

From 3D scan to biomechanical injury analysis

Origin Forensics also uses the data from Leo for biomechanical injury analysis. Here Carter and his team translate the outer crash event to the events involving the occupants inside the vehicle. A key aspect of the analysis focuses on determining how the occupants were interacting with the interior features of the car from the moment of impact onwards.

In Carter’s words, “We match up the occupant’s injuries to the elements of the passenger compartment that caused them, and determine whether any of the safety features there failed to perform as expected, whether that’s airbags, seat belts, or something else that was designed to mitigate injury. Could something have been designed or manufactured differently to prevent those injuries? We analyze every possible scenario, from beginning to end.”

Carter and Rothwell reviewing Leo scan data of the 2014 Dodge Charger in Artec Studio

During initial consultations with a client, in-person or over the web, Carter can share his screen and bring up the digital twin his team generated with their Leo, pointing out and explaining any relevant details.

Inspecting the Charger’s crush deformation patterns using Artec Studio’s surface distance mapping feature

As Carter explained, “Navigating around such a detailed 3D model provides a valuable adjunct to any 2D photos of the vehicle, which are frozen in time from the chosen perspective. Often the client will be curious about a specific aspect of the vehicle and we can take them right there and show it to them as though we were standing next to the vehicle or looking at a photo taken from that particular perspective.”

Using Leo scans for comprehensive vehicle damage reports

Following initial consultations with a client, there may be a need to submit a written report or to testify in deposition or trial. Generating exhibits that help the report reader or jury member understand the nature and extent of the damage sustained by an involved vehicle, or vehicles, is frequently an integral part of the process. And the 3D models generated from Leo scans provide the assets needed to create compelling visual exhibits.

Forensic Technician Kyle Rothwell, Origin Forensics’ in-house expert on Leo, described how he processes the Leo scans in Artec Studio software: “After importing our Leo scans, first I run Global Registration on a group of scans, then Outlier Removal on each of the groups, after which I align them.”

Rothwell processing the Leo scans of the 2014 Dodge Charger

“Then I clean up any stray geometry data, such as bits of glass, dirt, asphalt, etc. Once the raw data is registered, aligned, and cleaned up, I orient the scans to set the ground plane and rotate the object so that the right side view = the right side of the vehicle.”

Rothwell continued, “Then I run a Sharp Fusion, followed by a Fast Mesh Simplification. For a vehicle, a mesh density of about 2 million to 5 million triangles is appropriate for what we need. From there, I will apply the texture information for export and select the reduced glare. I normally use an 8K texture map to retain the smaller details. Then the model is ready for export, usually in .OBJ format with .PNG texture.”

3D digital twins of vehicles: even better than the real thing

Even though the majority of the cases that Carter and his team handle are settled out of court, or dismissed, and therefore never go to trial, if they do, their Leo has given them the ability to do what they always dreamed of: to put a true-to-life, virtual representation of the vehicle right in front of the jury.

“It’s even better than being up close with the vehicle itself, since with the digital twin, I can zoom in, rotate it however I want, and show everyone any part of the damage from any angle or magnification they’d like. And all of this evidence is fresh from the accident, so it represents what I saw during my inspection,” said Carter.

Preparing for inspection in Artec Studio: merging the Charger scan with an exemplar 3D model of the same vehicle

“In the not-too-distant future,” Carter hinted, “it may be commonplace that juries will have their own monitor or be wearing VR goggles when such exhibits are presented, which would make the impact of the Leo scan data all the more unforgettable. We could take them on a guided tour around or inside a vehicle, calling their attention to key aspects on demand.”

“In the past, we would have to bring the actual car to the courthouse and take the jury out to see it, which is an expensive operation with no guarantee the court will even allow it. With the data we generate from our Leo, now we can bring the car to the courtroom and let the jurors walk around it virtually.”

Using Artec Studio’s surface distance mapping to visually inspect the crashed Charger’s damage

So, what led Carter to the Artec Leo? While searching online and comparing all the handheld 3D scanners available on the market, Carter found the YouTube channel of Artec Ambassador Digitize Designs. From there, he reached out and spoke with Bo Helmrich, the company’s 3D Scanning Expert, who introduced him to the Artec Leo by sending videos of the scanning process and example data from a vehicle scan.

To show them how effectively the Leo would meet their needs, for the demo, Helmrich scanned the entire exterior of his Toyota Highlander with Leo, which took 32 minutes from start to finish. 90 minutes later and the scans were processed and ready to go. Carter remembered his first impressions of the 3D model he received:

“I was just blown away by the geometric detail, as well as the textures I was looking at because they’re massively important in the work we do. Now, without the quality of the underlying 3D data being so high, the textures wouldn’t be nearly as effective. Because both the textures and the 3D data contextualize each other.”

Carter explained further, “If for any reason the polygonal mesh is out of whack, distorted, or warped, even in the least, no amount of amazing texture is going to save that. Fortunately, Leo delivers brilliant results in both categories. We saw it then and we see it in every single project we use it for today.”

Learning to use the Leo, from unboxing to scanning in minutes

After purchasing their Leo, Carter and his team were given remote training on how to use the scanner and Artec Studio software. Rothwell commented on his experience with this:

“Learning how to use our Leo on smaller objects like a Pelican case was a joy. Right out of the box, Leo was ready to go and generating detailed models in just a few minutes. Scanning larger objects was a bit more challenging at first, so I found a different approach.”

He elaborated, “I learned that it worked best when I broke down the project into smaller chunks, which meant scanning each vehicle in sections and then loading them one by one in Artec Studio. Now we have consistent and accurate results every time.”

When asked about the difference in their work that Leo has made, Rothwell said, “When I think back to how we were scanning before our Leo came onboard, there really is no comparison.”

Forensic Technician Kyle Rothwell scanning a vehicle with Artec Leo

He continued, “The Leo is on an entirely different level. Operationally, it’s the feedback you get while scanning (real-time review), the ability to capture fine details, and the quality of color texture information that absolutely set the Leo apart.”

With their extensive engineering backgrounds and reconstruction experience, Carter and his team are regularly called to work on accidents that require a deep level of understanding of the physics involved in a crash. Further, they frequently extend their analysis to evaluating the injuries sustained by a vehicle’s occupants.

That’s the reason why big names such as Chrysler, Ford Motors, Honda, Jeep, Nissan, Progressive, Safeco, Toyota, and other companies and agencies across the United States regularly turn to Origin Forensics. Their in-depth investigations, detailed reports, and honest consultations bring existing clients back, and drive frequent referrals to new clients.

Origin Forensics’ guiding motto is “Veritas, Fidelitas, Claritas” (Truth, Faithfulness, Clarity). Their motto defines their mission, which is to discover the truth, while faithfully representing the evidence using the latest and best technologies, and then presenting their findings to clients, judges, and juries with the utmost clarity.

Carter explained why Leo is essential to their mission, “I want to push the boundaries of what’s possible in forensic accident reconstruction, and that requires me to always be on the lookout for the best technologies, so we can provide exceptional services and solutions for our clients. That’s why I chose the Artec Leo. It gives us that edge beyond anything else on the market.”

Driving in the field with Artec Leo: An adventure and no diesel

Product: Artec Leo
Industry: Automtive

The sixth largest country in the world, Australia is spread over a whopping 2.9 million square miles. With a population of just over 25 million people, about 85% of Australia’s population lives near its long coastline, leaving plenty of open land in the center. This makes for some of Australia’s great adventures: traversing the interior of the country, or cruising along its beautiful coastline.

With all the off-road driving options available across an island so large it’s not just a country but a continent, an SUV seems like a perfect fit for the great Australian adventure; an old classic Land Rover is more comfortable here than anywhere else. But with the current fight against climate change and the push for environmentally friendly alternatives, the Land Rover has a big hurdle: the large amount of diesel it consumes and the emissions it produces.

“I’ve always loved exploring, touring and 4×4 driving, and Australia is great for getting out in the country,” says Dave Budge, General Manager of Jaunt Motors. “But I felt a bit guilty about consuming a lot of diesel in a place that has clean air and wonderful surroundings. A large part of Australia is only accessible by four-wheel drive.”

Not just to reduce carbon emissions, there are plenty of reasons to develop a new way to explore the Australian bush. “You want to listen to the birds and the wind – there’s an element that gets lost when you’re in a car because of the sound of a diesel engine,” says Budge. “I started thinking about what kind of electric vehicle I could buy.”

The start of a new company began to take shape with the following key: “Electric four wheel drive, Australians are buying almost exclusively four wheel drive, and yet there is no electric drive for 4X4s on the market.”

“Australia has some of the worst levels of transport emissions per capita in the world, and it’s not just because we drive long distances – we have very inefficient and old vehicles, and the laws don’t require regular emissions checks like they do in most of the world. countries,” Budge tells us.

But this also offers us an opportunity: “We have old cars that generate emissions. On the other hand, these old cars can be converted into electric vehicles.”

In 2018 they teamed up with Jaunt co-founder Marteen Burger and combined their knowledge and talents – Budge as designer and creative director, Burger as producer and production manager – and began to put together a plan.

“The time was right, people have been converting cars for 10 or 15 years,” says Budge. “We were at a point where it wasn’t an engineering issue – we knew it could be done – it was more of a design and user interface issue.”

“For a project like this, there is a lot of planning and multiple design phases involved, as every line, every section is taken into account…” explains Myers. “Adjusting the components, guaranteeing the separations and working on the distribution is always a challenge, which requires precise measurements and plans.”

Artec Leo and Ray join forces to fabricate replacement 15-meter pipe in an offshore vessel

Product: Artec Leo, Geomagic Design X
Industry: Industrial Machinery and Heavy Equipment

At first, the task sounds straightforward enough: To replace a pipe. Add to that the fact that said pipe is 15 meters high, in an offshore vessel and surrounded by other pipes and equipment in a room 18 meters high and 10 meters long and three meters wide, and the complexity of the task starts to show.

The challenge facing Singapore’s Asian Sealand Offshore and Marine (ASOM) who had been tasked with this responsibility onboard the vessel, was how to execute the repair in such a confined and congested space. The nature of the room meant that there would be limited access, and a risk of causing damage to other vital equipment. The procedure needed to be fail-safe.

To get this complex task started, ASOM and Artec 3D’s Gold Certified Partner Shonan Design combined their engineering expertise and technology to resolve this critical problem. Another factor to consider was that all scanning needed to take place entirely on-site. (Spoiler Alert: The handheld Artec Leo’s on-screen real-time display would soon come in very handy.)

“The first step was using Artec Ray, a long-range LiDAR scanner, to capture the geometry of the room and an adjacent room to determine the space and sequencing of the removal and the replacement maneuver,” says Shonan Design’s Chief Application Engineer Lee Siow Hoe.

Able to scan from distances up to 110 meters away, Artec Ray is the fastest and most accurate 3D scanner. It is designed for submillimeter distance precision, which makes it perfect for large objects and long distances. Ray’s laser technology works excellently with ship propellers, airplanes, and buildings. With best-in-class angular accuracy, the data Ray captures is cleaner than other scanners, and its noise levels are kept to a minimum. Besides quick scans, this also makes processing faster and easier.

Artec Ray was set up in nine different locations on the few available flat surfaces around the room, such as staircase landings. For the Ray scan, the tight spaces in the room prevented placement of enough manual targets. To make targets effective, visibility is key and acute angles are discouraged – this was no problem for Ray, which is able to scan and align without targets.

“No checkerboard or sphere targets were used for the Ray scans registration,” Lee explains. “A one-click registration in Artec Studio 14 was enough to auto-align all the Ray scans, based on surface geometries within each scan. This simplified the job greatly.”

The restricted space provided a challenge in the creation of a complete 3D map, but the work was only just beginning. On top of the full Ray scan, a high-quality 3D scan from Artec Leo was needed. The Leo scan would also be able to ‘zoom in’ and capture the details necessary for fabricating the replacement pipe, and to scan any obstructed areas.

Because the pipe is vertical, and given the layout of the room, there weren’t many places to stand with handheld scanners. Instead, two brave team members qualified in rope access techniques were trained in scanning and safety, harnessed with lengths of rope, and were soon rappelling down the vertical pipe spool – rope in one hand, Leo in the other.

If this sounds like a job for seasoned scanners with years of experience, think again: The two rapellers were recently trained in using Artec Leo. The training proved to be straightforward, a tribute to the user-friendly design of the Leo.

“Leo scanners are fast, and with automated alignment, it was easy to resume scanning from where we left off,” a member of the ASOM scanning team said.

If ever there were tasks made for Artec Leo, this would be among them: With onboard automatic processing, the men scanning were able to see the scans being created in real time even without a computer present. Leo’s touchscreen panel also allows the user to zoom in and see if everything has been properly captured – and if it hadn’t, to revisit any areas that the user might have missed. This feature proves especially useful for first-time users in an unfamiliar setting.

The practical training given to the ASOM employees involved practicing on whatever they could adopt as suitable targets – the staircase and common pipe areas, for example. “Familiarity with the equipment was crucial for the job to be successful given the challenges posed”, says ASOM Director Simon Ng.

With a highly accurate scan of the entire room provided by Artec Ray and a focused, detailed scan of the pipe available via Artec Leo, the team had everything they needed. Superimposing data from the Leo scan on the Ray scan, a final global registration ensured that the Leo data fit perfectly with the Ray data.

“The Leo raw data was aligned and processed using the Ray pipe scan as a backbone, so that the entire 15 meter length of the Leo scan had minimum accumulation of error,” Lee says.

With the 15-meter pipe scan processed, the next step was to translate the digital 3D scan data into an accurate 2D isometric drawing to fabricate a replacement.

This was achieved using the Pipe Wizard feature in Geomagic Design X, and some modifications to the original design to facilitate installation were made and incorporated into the 2D drawing.

The scanning project was completed in two days with an onboard team of four people during which the FPSO continued to operate.

“The combination of the handheld Artec Leo and the standalone unit Artec Ray made a very big difference. We managed to capture all the necessary details this way,” says Ng.

“From the detailed planning and execution, I believe we managed to get fantastic results from the scanning and modeling,” Lee adds.

Artec Leo helps Vorteq create the world’s fastest cycling skinsuits

Product: Artec Leo
Industry: Design and Art

In high-performance cycling, speed is everything. And even if you’re racing on an indoor track with controlled conditions, you’re going to be battling wind resistance and drag every turn of the pedals. With up to 90% of a cyclist’s energy output being spent to overcome air resistance, reducing drag is paramount. In terms of professional riders and serious hobbyists, there’s comparatively little to be gained from spending what could easily be ten thousand dollars and up on a more aerodynamic bike. With the rider’s body being responsible for roughly 80% of the drag, and their bike the remaining 20%, it makes far more sense to focus on the rider, their biomechanics in various riding positions, their training, and especially, their clothing.

Vorteq is making use of a full-sized, sports-dedicated wind tunnel, a custom fabric wind tunnel, and the latest in 3D scanning technology to create custom skinsuits for cyclists. A skinsuit is essentially the most aerodynamic piece of clothing a rider can wear, reducing their level of drag down below that of being naked. A quality skinsuit should also be comfortable, lightweight, breathable, and made specifically for the athlete wearing it. Otherwise they’re bound to fit improperly and wrinkle up, and in the world of aerodynamics, every wrinkle adds to performance-killing drag. As well, many fabrics “open up” when overstretched, introducing greater drag across their surfaces, so fabrics and seams should be chosen carefully for specific areas of the body, with each skinsuit designed and manufactured to have the exact amount of fabric tension for that particular rider’s anatomy, to achieve optimum airflow and the least wind resistance. Considering how body shapes and sizes of cyclists can differ so dramatically, such a customized fit simply isn’t possible with an off-the-shelf, small-medium-large type of skinsuit.

Vorteq’s parent company, TotalSim, has deep experience from working closely with professional cyclists, Olympic cycling teams, Tour de France riders, and other top cyclists over the past 10 years. This has made it possible for Vorteq to create what they believe to be the fastest skinsuits available today. To engineer their skinsuits beyond what was ever possible in the past, Vorteq has invested in excess of $500,000 in R&D, while testing more than 45,000 different material, tension, and speed combinations in the specialized wind tunnels at Silverstone Sports Engineering Hub (SSEH). The end result is every athlete receives their own skinsuit, created with custom patterns and fabrics, each designed for maximum performance.

Despite Vorteq’s lengthy work exclusively with Olympic teams and other elite athletes, as of January 1st, 2020, their custom skinsuits are available to serious riders of all levels of experience. This means that any cyclist, not just the pros, now has the chance to get a custom Vorteq skinsuit, and when they’re sprinting towards the finish line, they’ll be wearing the same level of skinsuit technology as if they were one of Vorteq’s Olympic clients.

To create these custom skinsuits, the use of a 3D scanner is a crucial element for digitally capturing a rider’s exact anatomy, and in the hours that follow those few minutes of scanning, all the sizes, patterns, and types of fabric will be meticulously selected in the computational draping system and then assembled by Vorteq’s skinsuit team.

In the past, TotalSim was using an arm-based scanner for scanning race cars, bicycles, and other objects, but when it came to using the scanner for capturing people, they ran into significant difficulties and weren’t able to proceed any further with their old technology.

That’s when Vorteq turned to Artec Ambassador Central Scanning, specialists in all aspects of 3D scanning. During an onsite visit and consultation, the experts at Central Scanning recommended the Artec Leo, a revolutionary handheld 3D scanner with a built-in touchscreen and up to 80 fps capture rate, as well as being an entirely cable-free scanner that excels at capturing medium-sized objects such as people in mere minutes. TotalSim had used two Artec scanners in the past for their CFD and metrology work, Artec Eva and Artec Spider, so they were already familiar with Artec’s high level of scanning technology.

When Sam Quilter and his colleagues at Vorteq saw how fast and accurately Leo captured the exact anatomy of a cyclist, they knew they had found the right tool for the job. In the hours after taking delivery of their new Leo, they began creating their digital capture workflow, which Quilter described as follows:

“The rider comes into the wind tunnel with their bike, mounts it in place on the platform, hops on, and in just 5 to 6 minutes with Leo, I capture the rider in two positions in precise, high-resolution color 3D. And then I need just another minute to capture their shoe, on all sides,” Quilter said. “Basically this means that in ten minutes I can be totally done with that rider and they can go elsewhere. I’ve got everything I need to design an anatomically-accurate, fast-as-a-bullet Vorteq skinsuit. No chance of a rescan needed. Not once.”

Quilter continued, “We usually scan cyclists in their underwear, to get as much detail of the body as possible, so that when we design the skinsuits, they lay down perfectly over that cyclist’s anatomy in a way that just isn’t attainable if we’re designing from a scan that includes some overlying fabric blocking exact anatomical structures from view.”

“When we’re making our skinsuits, we’re working directly from the Leo scans, so it’s not measurements we’re taking, it’s the exact physical data that’s being used, and the difference is crucial. Because if you’re taking physical measurements and then entering them into a CAD system, or a computational draping system like ours, something is going to be lost in the transition. And that something can easily result in imprecise dimensions being used to create a skinsuit, which is entirely unacceptable to us. Even one tiny mismeasurement could result in a wrinkle here or there, or fabric being overstretched. So, for us, how Leo gives us the exact physical data of the athlete to work with makes all the difference.

Quilter summarized the process, “From the time an athlete walks in the door and we start scanning with Leo, then using Artec Studio to post-process the scans, followed by 3D modeling work in Geomagic Wrap, and finally exporting the 3D model for use in making a skinsuit, we are looking at about 2 hours total, which absolutely wasn’t possible in the past, not even close. And as far as the total production time for a skinsuit that’s ready to race, currently we’re at 2 days, but that gap is narrowing, and we’re shooting for a 24-hour turnaround time, which we’re sure to hit before too long.”

Quilter explained his post-processing workflow in Artec Studio, “Leo makes it easy for me. Not many steps are needed in Artec Studio at all. I basically read the Leo data in, double-check everything visually, then use the Eraser tool for a few clicks to remove any occasional, unwanted bits. I normally keep the bike in the scan, since it’s a great reference point to get XYZ positioning as well as the angle, and then I go into Global Registration, where I just use the default settings because they work brilliantly as is. Normally I don’t need to do Outlier Removal, because the data is already clean enough for a person. Then I do a Smooth Fusion, and after a few other minor changes, I export it as an STL file for use in Geomagic Wrap.”

“In Geomagic Wrap, I use the Decimate tool to get the triangle count down further, and if I’m getting rid of any wrinkles, which shouldn’t be in the scan, but on a very rare occasion might be, I use the Relax command, and then I move on to the Smooth commands, which let me cut out any imperfections, because sometimes athletes twitch their fingers during the scanning, and we need to fix that. After we’ve done all we need to do, we export it as an OBJ file for use in our computational draping software,” Quilter said.

Vorteq’s newest offering is that of using their Leo to create scans for 3D printing anatomically-precise mannequins of athletes. These mannequins are then used to create new skinsuits for the athletes without them having to visit the Vorteq office. Let’s say, for example, that a cyclist is training on the other side of the world and needs a skinsuit specifically for an upcoming long-distance time trial that’s mostly on the flats but also includes a long downhill phase. By having a 3D mannequin of the athlete, Vorteq can create a custom skinsuit for them, test multiple fabrics and patterns in its wind tunnels, and craft the new skinsuit in the hours that follow, then express deliver it to them on the other side of the world, or anywhere. At present, the custom mannequin process takes just under 2 days, but that number is decreasing with each passing week. The target turnaround time is 24 hours from 3D scan to completion for creating a new 3D-printed mannequin.

Quilter spoke about the why behind 3D-printed mannequins, “A full-sized mannequin lets us do wind tunnel tests on fabrics in isolation on just an arm, for example, to see how various fabrics and patterns affect drag reduction. That’s where the marginal gains really add up. Because with a live rider in the wind tunnel, there’s going to be the wiggle factor to deal with, where the rider is moving around, even ever so slightly, and that’s going to affect results. With a live rider, you can never have the exact measurement possible with a perfectly still mannequin, where the only factor that’s changed is the fabric that’s been put on.”

“Mannequins don’t get tired, and they’re always perfectly still, which allows us to know exactly what kinds of changes our fabrics and designs are causing in terms of drag and performance.”

TotalSim also provides biomechanical consultation and training for cyclists and teams, advising athletes on which body positions, equipment adjustments, riding habits, and clothing will either enhance or diminish their power, drag, endurance, and more.

“Our mission is to help serious athletes, many of whom are already at the top of their game or near, find those many ‘tiny’ gains that when you add them all together, can really give an athlete the kind of edge that helps them surge over the top and on to victory,” Quilter said.

In addition to Vorteq’s skinsuits and TotalSim’s biomechanical consulting and training services, they also provide scanning services to a range of clients, including cycling teams. Their Leo has played a pivotal role in their ability to 3D scan anywhere their projects lead them, whether in-house, around the UK, or overseas.

As Quilter explained, “In contrast to our previous scanners, Leo gives us that flexibility to just pick up and go virtually anywhere in the world to do scanning, without requiring extra hardware, just the Leo itself. This kind of freedom is tremendous when you’re going offsite to random locations that aren’t exactly laboratories in regards to their conditions.”

How to boost the performance of an F3 race car with Artec Leo

Product: Artec Leo
Industry: Automotive and Transportation

A race car, such as the Dallara F399/01, is the product of decades of engineering advancements. Motors, frames, and materials have all progressed tremendously in order to comply with the technical regulations of motorsports while ramping up performance. In fact, the remarkable breakthroughs already made over the years in race car engineering make it appear as if there’s not much room left for further improvement. At least not without investing a fair amount of financial resources and time. Considering this, what options are possible if someone wants to gain a technical edge over the competition? John Hughes, a postgraduate engineering student at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD), offered up a simple answer: Aerodynamics.

“Every little detail, every little gain you get, is better than nothing. At the moment, we have managed to gain roughly 10 miles an hour in straight line speed, compared to where we started off with the car. Just through aerodynamic development.”

John has been working on the Dallara’s front wing as part of his master’s degree project with another aerodynamics student together with the two owners of the car. Their objective is to get better performance out of the vehicle, currently running in the British Sprint Championship, a prestigious 16 events per season championship held at venues across the United Kingdom. Between events, John and his team have small windows of time for working on the car at the University motor shop, located right next to Swansea’s harbor.

For a while, the team used manual measuring tools to obtain the dimensions of the F3, but the results lacked precision in addition to being time-consuming. They naturally came to the conclusion that they needed a reliable way to get better measurements faster. This is where the idea of 3D scanning technologies entered into their field of view. At first, they tried basic methods of 3D scanning to get a CAD model they could work on, but it still wasn’t precise enough. As soon as they learned about professional 3D scanning solutions, they contacted UK-based Artec 3D Ambassadors Central Scanning, hoping they could provide the results needed. Seeing preliminary scans done with the brand new 3D scanner Artec Leo, John knew he had made the right call. “From looking at what has been captured, the amount of detail, compared to what I’ve seen previously, is second to none. It’s incredible, for what I’ve actually seen produced before,” he said.

Nick Godfrey and Tom White from Central Scanning had preliminarily analyzed the task at hand, and concluded that the Artec Leo would be the best tool for the job. “Leo is capable of capturing medium to large objects very quickly. It doesn’t require any preparation beforehand, and the scanning can be done directly on-site” said Nick. “The scanner is entirely autonomous, which means there are no cables or computers attached to it that limit your movements. We can capture virtually everything more easily than with any other 3D scanning solution.

Leo comes equipped with its own battery, a touch screen that shows the scanning in real time, and saves the data on a memory card that can be subsequently transferred to a computer. Tom scanned the Dallara in the UWTSD motor shop, without the need for any superfluous gear. All in all, the scan of the whole car took less than 2 hours. The scan data was treated on Artec Studio in a day, and a complete CAD model was sent to John a few days later.

It is important to note that in the field of aerodynamics, millimetric changes in the design can go a long way. The Artec Leo boasts an impressive data capture rate of 3 million points per second, with real-time 3D processing displayed directly on its screen. By having the geometry of the entire car digitally scanned with utmost precision, John can run a better computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation on Ansys, analyzing all the options for fine-tuning the aerodynamic profile of the car from the most realistic 3D model.

“I usually start off by trying to optimize the current component as best as I can without altering the geometry of individual components. For example, the current front wing has multiple elements, such as flaps and winglets. I would study if moving the position of the flaps would enhance the overall performance of the wing,” explained John. “This process can take months to get right. However, it can be sped up with the use of Design of Experiment (DoE) software. Once the original geometry has been optimized, I can then go on and start to develop the original geometry by studying CFD results. Using this method saves on manufacturing time and cost, as I’m trying to maintain as much of the original front wing as possible.”

After the analysis and the design work, the modified parts were sent to Fibre-Lyte, a carbon fiber manufacturer specialized in high-performance sports. With the help of a 3D milling machine, they are able to create cost effective one-off parts that can be repeated, or scaled up, if higher volumes are required.

The manufactured parts have been installed on the race car, and John already began noticing the difference: “We have seen gains in straight line and cornering speeds since modifications began. I created a number of bargeboard design iterations, with each one showing performance improvements. The simulation results show good promise in enhanced performance.”

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