Open for Business...

General / 02 mars 2019

I've been away from doing anything with scanning for a while but am finally getting back around to finish what I started.

One thing I have been putting off is making my material scans available on the store here, but I finally got that finished today.

All the files have 4K maps, the designer SBS file and the source scan images and have a commercial licence. So you can use them as they are or open the graph and play with the scans to adjusts them to your liking.

If there are any questions let me know in the comments and if there is something you would like that I didn't post let me know and I'll get it up there. That goes for requests too, if there is a material you would like to see scanned let me know and if I can get my hands on it I'll scan it.

Also there should be some updates on the scanner 2.0 build in the near future so stay tuned.

Scanner 2.0 Phase 1

Making Of / 06 novembre 2018

Finally I have some real progress to share on the scanner 2.0 build. Now that I had all the pieces designed it was just finding the time to print out all the remaining parts and assemble them. Here are the parts the will makeup the octagon base of the scanner. All the light parts were supposed to be orange but I ran out so 1/2 ended up being silver.

1st step is wiring the lights. This time instead of connecting the wires directly to the bulb I used sockets. This is a little more secure and allows for easily replacing the bulbs. The lights were printed with this in mind so the sockets just need to be inserted and bolted in place.

Here all 8 lights with their sockets installed.

Now onto the mounting plates. This consists of 2 plates that sandwich the foam core panel. I went with riveting them in place as rivets are cheaper then nut&bolts and once attached they don’t need to be removed.

Here’s the final look of the front and back of the panel.

Once the plates are attached the center foam is cut out to allow for the light to be attached. The lights are then screwed to the plates. I may change this to use magnets in the future so it's simpler to assemble and break down.

All 8 panels assembled.

Ready to build the octagon. Just need to add the corner brackets to each panel and bolt them together.

And that’s it, one light octagon assembled. Without the riveting it takes about 10 min to assemble the lights and panels.

Not sure if I’ll tackle wiring next or the upper section. Wiring should be straight forward but there are 4 more lights in the upper section so may be better to wait and do all the wiring at once. Also need to decide if I’m going to add the polarizing filters to the upper lights. 

Well that’s all for now. Sorry for the long delay between posts but designing the parts to be easily replicated and that work with the constraints of 3D printing is a bit complicated. Much harder then slapping together a one off prototype with tape and hot glue 😜

I also need to figure out what to do with the scanner once it’s done. I won’t need two of them. 😗

Thanks for reading and stay tuned. Hopefully I'll be able to work on this more that I think I'm done playing with with my 3D printer. Although I did just get Red Dead Redemption 2 so that may impact things :)

PS. For what delayed me last week, I was making props for my kids Halloween costumes. My son's took the most time as he wanted a mask from PayDay2 so I downloaded a mask someone modeled online, scanned his head so I could scale it properly and printed it out. Then needed to finish it by sanding, fiberglass, glazing putty, and paint. 


Quick scanner update

Making Of / 24 octobre 2018

Finally got past a big step by finishing the design of the light pods and mounting plates. Yellow is the final prototype and the orange is the 1st production batch of mounting plates :)

Just have to print up the light pots now and the base will be ready to assemble!!!


Building the walls

Making Of / 19 septembre 2018

Here we are at take 2 of the panel design. As I mentioned in my last post the fully 3D printed panel frame wasn't going to be practical so I went with a wood frame. This was actually my original idea for the 1st scanner but making the brackets to connect them was going to be too time consuming, this was pre 3D printer though.

So I started out with a 8x4x3/4 inch board and milled it down into strips for the frame and then cut them to length. After that the slots for the panels were cut into all the strips.

The top and bottom pieces are a bit longer then the sides as they overlap the sides. They also have their ends milled to accept the brackets that hold them all together.

Here's what a panel will look like assembled. The final outer dimensions are still 12x12 inch. 

Before assembly all the frame pieces head off to the paint shop for a coat of flat black. 

Here's the 8 panels that make up the scanner painted and assembled. Also you can see how little space it takes up when disassembled for shipping to storage.

Now onto the brackets. These went though a few designs to get the size right and get the hole for the press fit nuts just the right size. The 3 white brackets were to get to this point, then I realized I had the angle of the bracket wrong, so after fixing that I tried some different colours and the red is PETG plastic instead of PLA, but I ended up just staying with white. So these brackets get added to the R&D cutting room floor.

Fresh batch of brackets coming off the assembly line :) Each bracket takes about 1hr to print so this batch take 6-7 hrs

What the bracket looks like with the hardware installed. 

And the few panels assembled. 

They assemble and break down supper fast. There is a small gap between between the panels that may/may not be a issue in the end but is nothing strip of black tap on the inside can't fix.

Now that the walls are done next is designing a fixture that will hold the lights and mount them on the panels. 

Stay tuned and thanks for Reading.

Scanner 2.0

Making Of / 05 septembre 2018

It's taken quite a while but I've finally started working on Version 2 of my scanner. Something a little more polished, modular so it can be dissembled for storage or shipping, and a design that can be assembled as a kit.

I recently picked up a 3D printer to help with this and I've been spending my time leaning the in's and out's of the printing world. Figuring out what is possible, best practices and doing test prints of super important stuff like Bender here. :)

Now that I have a good grasp of printing, the first task is to start at the beginning and figure out the eight side panels everything else is built on. To make this modular and a kit these panels need to easily attach together and break down for storage, but be a solid base. I'm also trying to keep the scanner the same size so each panel is a 12in x 12in square.

So my first thoughts were to stay with foam core for the panels as it's light, cheap, and ridged enough. So I would need to replace the solid wood frame with something else. I came up with a dovetail rail that on one side had a slot for the foam core panel and on the other a dovetail joint allowing the panels to slide together locking them in place. This involved a bunch of iterations to have a shape that could be printed well and test prints to get the tolerances just right so the joints weren't too tight or too loose. Also trying different print settings to speed and quality.

The final prints were done at 0.4mm resolution. Even though this was pretty coarse it cut the print time in 1/2 and as long as the dovetail pieces were printed vertically  the resolution was still high enough to have a good joint. If printed on their side the parts of the piece that were angled suffered from pretty bad stair stepping.

  Once I had a design that worked I printed out a small scale test and it came out pretty good.

There is one issue though, the time to print the full scale pieces would just take too long.

This scale test of eight pieces took 2hrs, and the full scan for all eight panels would take something like 5 days... just not particle. If I was injection molding the parts on a assembly line it wouldn't be a issue but I'm not so its back to the drawing board. I'm thinking of moving to 1/4 wood panels with wood frames so the panels are structurally sound and just need to be held together. Cutting wood strips on the table saw is a much faster process :) 

Stay tunes for more updates and if you got this far thanks for reading.

Testing the Replicator

Making Of / 06 août 2018

After getting the initial tests and calibration prints out of the way it was time to try replicating something by scanning it and the printing. 

The subject was a small clay piggy bank. Pictures below show the steps which were:

  1. Shoot images on my turn table, about 100 images or so.
  2. Construct mesh in RC. 
  3. Clean up mesh in Zbrush, then in MeshMixer create the hollow volume inside the mesh, then back to Zbrush to Boolean out the coin hole
  4. generate the .gcode file for printing in Simplify3D
  5. Fire up the printer and wait.
  6. Last is side by side comparison.

Quite happy how this all went and only took about 5-6 hrs. 1-2 hrs shooting and processing, 1-2 hrs cleaning and prepping (mostly because I was learning Meshmixer and Booleans in Zbrush), and 2 hrs printing.

Anyone smell burning plastic?

Work In Progress / 03 août 2018

Thought I'd post a quick update since I haven't had much to say in a while. My 3D printer arrived this week so I've been spending a lot of time studying up on the process before it got here and now setting up and fiddling with it. 

So now starts the process of re-designing my scanner for automated manufacturing in some kind of kit form :) 

1st steps are figuring out what to make the large flat side and top panels out of as I don't think printing those would be a good idea. Rest of the parts should be straight forward. More updates to come.

For now here's a timelapes of the 1st test pattern print making sure everything was set up right.

HP Z 3D Scanner Testing

General / 13 juillet 2018

A little while ago I was contacted by HP to see if I was interested in being part of their beta testing group for the new HP Z 3D scanner. The Scanner sits on top of your monitor similar to a webcam but faces down to your desk below which becomes your capture area. Check out the their video to see how it works

The setup is pretty painless, just plug it in like a webcam and install the software to get up and running. Being experienced with traditional photogrammetry workflows and my recent surface scanning projects i was interested in seeing how this would work, and it worked pretty much as advertised. The meshes below took about 5-10 min each to scan start to finish, way faster then shooting a series of images and then processing.

What you gain in speed you lose some in resolution which is understandable. The meshes aren't as detailed as something as I would generate out of Photoscan but the software has Allegorithmic's B2M integrated to generate normal and roughness maps. For the texturing it has a 14mp camera where it will capture images of the object and map them automatically. 

I have to play with it more but overall I'd say it works pretty good. Some objects work better than other and concave meshes seem to work best, this is the same for photogrammetry in general. I was surprised how well it handled thin objects with undercuts (See Sandal below) for constructing the mesh, sometimes though it has a hard time with the texturing of the thin edges. But if you take these meshes as just a starting points to edit your mesh your off to a pretty good start. 

All the meshes below are the raw scans and maps rendered in Marmoset. I've included a Marmoset viewer for each so you can see the mesh, maps, and look around the objects. 

The football worked really well, almost perfect. 

The dog toy also worked really well considering how thin it is. Some of the textures on the thin edges has some issues though.

The Gnome also came out practically perfect. I use this statue as a control test in most of my work. You can see what it looks like when processing in photoscan Pretty similar except in PS I was also baked AO maps from the model.

The shoe also did pretty good and handled the thin edges well. The texturing had a hard time in a few spots but not bad overall.

I was surprised how well the Sandal mesh generated as it picked up the full strap above and below. The texturing had some issues though, could have been something I did, but the bottom texture came out pretty good.

That's it for now, I'll update with new scans as they come. 

Also I'd like to thank HP for reaching out to me to see if I wanted to play with their new toy :)

Installing Polarizers

General / 09 juillet 2018

Today I got around to installing the polarizing film on the new lights in the scanner. It’s a slightly modified version of the idea I had earlier where the filters would flip foraward and back over he light.

After I cut out the four blanks I needed to cut out the centers. For this I’m using a Dremel with a rasp bit so I can carve out the curved design.

Here the final shape that will be covered by the film.

Just test fitting to make sure the panel will clear the light. The film will be on the outside of the panel so the light will slightly recess into the panel when engaged.

Next is the axles that the panels will rotate around. These are just Shish kebab sticks that I cut down with the dremel and glued to the panels.

The sticks are slightly longer then the panel so the ends can be attached to the scanner and with the sticks glued on they add structural support to the bottom of the panel.

Next was attaching the polarizing film. I had to mark the films direction so I could make sure they were all facing the right way during the installation.

Here’s what a finished panel looks like. The film is just taped onto the panel and you can see the flat magnet at the end of the panel. I’m using the magnets to hold the panels in there open/closed stated.

And this is a completed light. The 2 foam core pieces on the ends of the panel have slots cut into them for the axel to sit in allowing them to freely rotate in. Also a small platform was added at the end of the light to hold the magnet that keeps the panel engaged, there is also a magnet on the outer wall the holds the panel open.

Here’s the other lights showing the panels in the open and closed states.

Same as above image but with the lights on.

So that’s all for the lights, they are all ready to start scanning shinny things. 

This weekend I was working on some other construction projects around my house so I decided to cut out a base for the scanner while I had the tools out. This will eventually house the underlighting for capturing transparency and some kind of device to stretch fabrics flat.

That’s it for this update. I’ll try to post some new test scans this week and stay tuned for updates on the base integration.

Thanks for reading.

Allegorithmic Blog

Making Of / 09 juillet 2018

I recent realized that back when I had a article posted on Allegorithmic's blog about the scanner I built and my process using the Photometric Stereo scanning nodes added to Substance designer, I never linked to in in my blog.

So I'll just leave this here :)