By Beth Stackpole
The combination of 3D scan data and 3D CAD modeling has long been the recipe for successful reverse engineering, however, the capabilities have traditionally been serviced by separate and oftentimes, non-integrated technologies.
Geomagic, a major player in the quality inspection and metrology software arena, is seeking to change that equation with Spark, the newest addition to its product line. Unlike traditional CAD programs, which have modeling capabilities, but lack the tools to process 3D scan data into usable 3D geometry, Geomagic Spark couples a live 3D scanning interface and robust 3D point and mesh editing capabilities along with a full-blown CAD modeling package.
Specifically, Geomagic Spark integrates Geomagic’s scanning technology with SpaceClaim, a popular 3D direct modeling platform–the goal being to allow users to create accurate and manufacturable solid model and assemblies using a combination of 3D scan data and 3D CAD data in the same application. The two companies, which have been collaborating since the launch of the SpaceClaim integration in the 2012 release of Geomagic Studio, saw opportunity in partnering around a fully-integrated application that would alter the way users design with 3D scan data.
“It’s not intimidating the first time you use it,” says Kevin Scofield, senior product manager at Geomagic. “It has simple controls. You don’t get lost. We were able to add a new ribbon inside of SpaceClaim that has new ‘Capture’ tools.”
|Clockwise from top left: 1) Scan data of a vise in Geomagic Spark s capture window. 2) Automated creation of polygon mesh data from the scan data. 3) Vice assembly as a solid model created directly from the mesh data into each related part. 4) A 2D detail sheet created directly from the solid assembly using Geomagic Spark. Images courtesy of Geomagic.|
Here’s how the integrated package works: Designers scan directly into Geomagic Spark or load an existing point cloud or polygon mesh and then choose from a range of automated tools to convert and edit data into a polygon mesh. Once the mesh is created, Geomagic Spark’s solid modeling tools "based on SpaceClaim’s smart and predictive user interface "allow users to create solid geometry from the mesh and compare the solid model to the mesh to identify areas of deviation.
Scofield says there were a number of reasons why Geomagic chose to partner with SpaceClaim, including similar company cultures, size and an East Coast location.
"What really sealed the deal was once they were able to load meshes natively–that was the ‘aha’ moment,” he says. “Once we saw that, we knew if we were able to add some of our tools, we’d have a winning combination. Other tools we looked at can load meshes, but you can’t interact with it as much.”
The partnership agreement was completed nine months ago, after the original "Go to SpaceClaim" function in Geomagic Studio 2012 was released last year. After this successful initial development process, Geomagic reports that customer demand for a more integrated version of both 3D scan and direct modeling functionality encouraged the two teams to look at a closer relationship. The companies have agreed to a multi-year agreement where SpaceClaim is embedded into the new Geomagic Spark product.
"Geomagic Spark, the seamless fusion of Geomagic and SpaceClaim technology, is a product that ushers in a completely new way to scan and design parts in 3D," said Chris Randles, president and CEO, SpaceClaim in a press release. "The fact that this exciting and revolutionary new product was completed in such a short time is testament to how well both companies collaborated to bring together their respective technologies, share ideas, and create exciting new capabilities. We look forward to continuing to work with Geomagic, as Spark wins new customers and introduces them to SpaceClaim’s unique and innovative 3D direct modeling environment."
Geomagic Spark will be available at the end of January 2013.
Below is a promotional video from Geomagic that illustrates Geomagic Spark’s functionality.
For more information, visit Geomagic.
Sources: Interviews with company representatives, press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.