Defense

May 29, 2012

New 3-D scanner makes impact at Eglin

Tags:
by Minty Knighton
Eglin AFB, Fla.

An image of an F-15 from SEEK EAGLE’s 3D scanner currently in use at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.

When the 46th Test Wing’s Air Force SEEK EAGLE Office purchased a 3-D laser scanner system six months ago, they had no idea how much of an impact this system would make.

“This is state of the art,” said Mark Hillman, lead engineer at the SEEK EAGLE. “We are breaking ground for the military.”

The approximately $150,000 Leica HDS 7000 3-D laser scanner and Rapidform reverse engineering software program was purchased to quickly build accurate digital models of Air Force aircraft and weapons for use in aircraft-weapon compatibility analyses.

“Before, we had to implement the real tests to determine how capable a system would be,” said Paul Collins, lead contract engineer for SEEK EAGLE. “Now we build models for use in simulated test environments for a good indication of the outcome, before we go into actual testing, which can save hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

After one month of trial scans, they were able to use it to quickly scan an entire aircraft.

“Four years ago, it took six people two weeks to manually collect 3-D data for the A-10 aircraft,” said Collins. “With the laser scanner, two people can collect the same amount of data in two days, a 93 percent reduction.”

Additionally, the accuracy of the laser is +/- 0.01. Using the manual method, the accuracy was at best +/- 0.03, according to Collins.

The data collection process involves positioning the scanner at various positions around the airplane. The scanner automatically sweeps a laser beam across the aircraft to generate a 3-D point cloud.

“Any areas where good data is not collected, such as shadows, are depicted as black holes in the scanner software requiring the scanner to be re-positioned for optimal results”, said Collins.

After scanning an aircraft, SEEK EAGLE engineers use Rapidform reverse engineering software and the 3-D point clouds to construct solid digital models.

“Improvements in using Rapidform to construct the solid models from the scanned data have been significant”, said Collins.

The SEEK EAGLE engineering team didn’t go into this venture lightly. They started with requirements from the entire Air Force SEEK EAGLE Office and did an in-depth comparative analysis of the viable systems before choosing their current combination of hardware and software. Overall, the scanner and software has reduced their costs by about 75 percent.

Word of the success and benefits of the system spread to others.

“Other military services have started contacting us to use the system,” said Collins. “Two weeks ago, we scanned 13 Navy aircraft in eight days.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
atk-test

ATK successfully tests Orion launch abort motor igniter

NASA and ATK successfully completed a static test of the launch abort motor igniter for the Orion crew capsule’s Launch Abort System. Conducted at ATK’s facility in Promontory, Utah, this test is the next step towa...
 
 
uav-coalition

Small UAV coalition launched to advance commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles

Leading technology companies Oct. 1 formally announced the formation of the Small UAV Coalition to help pave the way for commercial, philanthropic, and civil use of small unmanned aerial vehicles in the United States and abroad...
 
 
Navy photograph

NAWCWD manned for unmanned systems

Navy photograph A rail launch is performed during Integrator unmanned aerial vehicle testing at Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division China Lake, Calif. Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division scientists, engineers, techn...
 

 
NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich

NASA employees go ‘above and beyond’

Courtesy photograph NASA Chief Scientist Albion Bowers, Christopher Miller and Nelson Brown receive the Exception Engineering Achievement Medal at Armstrong Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The prestigious award ...
 
 
Photograph by Tom Reynolds

Engineers, test pilots enjoy Mojave tradition

Photograph by Tom Reynolds Engineer and pilot students who recently graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School from Patuxent River, Md., and the USAF Test Pilot school at Edwards AFB kept with a 17 year old tradition, enjo...
 
 
nasa-global-hawk

Global Hawk 872 return marks 100th NASA flight

  NASA Global Hawk No. 872 is pictured on the ramp after landing at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, Va., at sunrise following its 10th and final science flight Sept. 28–29 in the agency’s 2014 Hurricane and S...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>