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.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend

16T Pitch Boom reactivated to support wind tunnel tests

Air Force photograph by Rick Goodfriend The Pitch Boom at the AEDC 16-foot transonic wind tunnel (16T) was recently reactivated. This model support system is used in conjunction with a roll mechanism to provide a combined pitch...
 
 
army-detector

Scientists turn handheld JCAD into a dual-use chemical, explosives detector

Scientists at the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., proved it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks by adding the ability to detect explosive materials to the Joint Chemical Age...
 
 

SMC stands up new Advanced Systems, Development Directorate

While space officially begins at 62 miles above the Earth’s surface, for the men and women of the Air Force space begins near sea level at the Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base,Calif. SMC is where innovative ideas are matured into space systems that deliver operational capabilities to U.S. warfighters in...
 

 
Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr.

Navy’s first F-35C squadron surpasses 1,000 flight hours

Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr. An F-35C Lightning II aircraft piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Chris Tabert, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 101, flies the squadron’s first local sortie. The F-35C is the carrier va...
 
 

Salina, Kansas, recalls anniversary of shuttered base

It has been 50 years this month since the announcement that Schilling Air Force Base was closing rattled Salina residents. The Salina Journal, which carried news of the closure in its Nov. 19, 1964, editions, reported that the economic disaster then spared no part of the community – real estate, retail, civic involvement, church attendance,...
 
 
Navy photograph by Seaman Sabrina Fine

SEWIP block upgrade program evaluated for LCS

Navy photograph by Seaman Sabrina Fine Cryptologic Technician (Technical) Seaman Helen Hernandez monitors an SLQ-32 radar aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). Dwight D. Eisenhower is deplo...
 




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>