Category: Reverse Engineering

Restoring Data and Correcting Defective Parts with 3D Scanning

Utilized for designing, planning and documenting 3D projects, CAD or computer-aided design, plays an instrumental role in both 3D printing and 3D scanning processes. More specifically, Capture™ a powerful, integrated, industrial-grade 3D scanner and software system, enables us to scan parts without files or faulty dimensions to recover design data and correct manufacturing errors with CAD.

3D scanning mold

3D scanned mold. Original CAD files did not accompany the mold

Recently, a mold needed to be repaired to a point where the parts made on it would be acceptable for an end-use application for customers. Miller 3D was asked to help with an application that included a two part injection mold, each about 18” x 18”, but a few challenges were presented to Miller 3D  while working on this project.

The first problem was the mold was manufactured by a different company and the second was the absence of CAD models or technical drawings for the molds.

When ‘blueprints’ and supporting files are nowhere to be found, this can create a big problem, however, Miller 3D was given the opportunity to use Capture™ to restore dimensional data and make the accurate corrections to the defective molds.

Pat Harrington, an engineer at Miller 3D explains how the molds were prepared for 3D scanning, “We sprayed the mold with a light white powder spray so that our blue light scanner can capture the data points of the complex surface geometry.”

With a data capture rate of 985,000 points/scan and 0.3 sec per scan, Capture™ produces accurate scans to as little as .034 mm — an impressive, precise 3D inspection process completed by the portable device.

“We took multiple scans of the entire mold and meshed them all together into a final 3D CAD  model,” says Harrington.

3D Scanning File

Detailed view from the 3D scanned file.

Included in multiple scans are automated solid and surface extractions that are featured in PDF reports for engineering teams to analyze for adjustments and corrections. 3D printing garners most of the spotlight, but 3D scanning has the ability to solve application errors, and in return, reduce manufacturing errors, and allow our industry to design from the world around us.

Harrington highlights the importance of the new CAD model generated by Capture™, “This CAD model can be used to help diagnose the issues with the mold in its current state, as well as used as a template for design changes to the mold.”

Want to talk more about 3D manufacturing? Miller 3D will be attending the Rapid + TCT 3D Event in Pittsburgh from May 9-11 at booth 911. For more information please visit

3D Systems ProJet ™ 3000 Delivers Realistic, Functional Color Prototypes

Recently a global healthcare company backed by decades of innovation with leadership positions in hormone replacement therapy and diabetes care began to evaluate 3D printers. This company is committed to combating Diabetes through awareness, education and superior treatment options. Their goal is to arm patients with the necessary information and leadership technology and encourage them to take charge of their condition.

3D Printing Makes Thinkers Into Doers

By Kendall Joudrie, Thinking Robot Studios.

In November 2013, Natasha Hope-Simpson lost her left leg in a hit-and-run accident. As you might expect, she had to put her whole life on hold. At the same time, Natasha proved stronger than she had ever imagined. Natasha moved forward with her life through design. After reflection on the prosthetic leg she had been given, she knew it had to be different. As a graduate at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD), she sought to
make a leg that was more personal, one that fit her personality and her anatomy.

She wanted a leg that was human.

It all began in February 2014, when Natasha spoke to a class at which NSCAD Director Gregor Ash happened to be visiting. Natasha discussed her prosthetic design efforts and the challenges of creating this functional, aesthetic personal medical device.

Inspired by Natasha’s drive and ambition, Ash came to us at Thinking Robot Studios with a challenge: to team with Natasha to create a prosthetic design in time for NSCAD’s Maker Symposium within 15 days. We make a living at creating custom orthopedic implants and systems, but I remember thinking that this was going to be a challenge. How on earth were we going to pull this off?

completed prostheticscan-cad-prosthetic-web design ready for prototypingWe knew that 3D printing and scanning was the only way to do this quickly and accurately, so we immediately called Mike Fanning, CEO of NovaCad, a 3D Systems reseller. For scanning, we called Ian Weir at Canada’s Department of National Defense and Bob Garrish of Spring Loaded technology. Natasha’s team of one had, within less than a day, become a team of six. But there was still a lot to do.

In order to get the shape and size of Natasha’s prosthetic leg correct, Ian and Bob took two different scans of Natasha’s existing leg using laser and white light scanning. They processed the scans using Geomagic® Studio scanning software and converted the data into usable 3D so my business partner, Jourdan Dakov, and I could perform the engineering steps. Using the mesh scan data, we created the prosthetic‘s mechanical and structural
components in CAD.

In the meantime, Natasha was trying to work out the aesthetic side of the prosthetic leg. She wanted something as attractive as it was functional, and she had many ideas but little time to develop them. The breakthrough came when she discovered the 3D printed masks of Melissa Ng on the Internet.

“Melissa’s designs were amazing,” said Natasha. “They were perfect. I instantly fell in love.”

So I quickly contacted Melissa in New York City, and just like the rest of us, she was eager to help. “I was deeply moved by her story and was happy to donate my design to the project. I will continue collaborating with Thinking Robot over the next year as they develop a final prosthetic for Natasha,” said Melissa.

the design and engineering team with Natasha at the Maker symposium

proethstic-design-webMelissa extracted her design data into a usable format and immediately sent it over. At this point we had three days to apply the design to the mechanical parts before 3D printing was to begin. To say the least, this process was intense. We were adjusting mechanical CAD data and applying the design elements from Melissa. We knew from Mike Fanning and the 3D Systems team in Boston that we only had a few days to get them a printable file.
Yet seven days after starting the project, and after some long days and nights by our team members, we had a prototype design ready to be 3D printed. We rushed the CAD files to NovaCad .

“I immediately sent the files to the 3D Systems team in Andover, Mass., and specified the materials to be used,” said Mike. “The team there pulled out all the stops to print the components and get it shipped back to us.” The 3D Systems team printed on the ProJet 7000, a robust SLA printer that delivers highly accurate 3D parts with excellent surface smoothness.”