The US Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (AMRDEC) has started using 3D scanning systems to recreate high-quality object models.
The systems will replace legacy hand-held laser scanners, which are incapable of capturing minute details, and fail to scale across larger objects.
AMRDEC director James Lackey said: "Optical metrology is an important, emergent technology thrust area for AMRDEC. As the science of measurement, it represents incredible application value in terms of being able to provide highly accurate dimensional data sets and [the ability to] translate them through advanced analytic techniques to produce three dimensional electronic product data files."
"Manufacturing technology is a key part of AMRDEC activity. In partnership with other services, we will help lead the way on defining use of metrology for aviation and missile systems applications across US Department of Defence (DOD) and industry."
The research team plans to use the optical metrology systems to scan the US Coast Guard's (USCG) 41ft-long utility boat at AMRDEC's prototype integration facility.
The systems are expected to shorten production cycles and provide greater cost efficiency.
AMRDEC WDI photographic metrology technician Andrew Hall said: "We use photogrammetry and 3D scanning as two independent measurement technologies.
"The structured light system is great for high-detail scanning and the photogrammetry keeps the scan data accurate over large projects. We have scanned large and small objects, including helicopters, vehicles, aircraft and spacecraft."
Image: Structured blue light scanning uses a projector to cast blue with black lines across a surface. Photo: courtesy of H. Andrew Hall/ US Army.