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Thread: "New" 3D Scanner from NEXTENGINE

  1. #61
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    I guess you can call it cheap as long as you have a 1 GHz or better PC with 1 mb RAM or better and then you need a digital camera that connects via Firewire, then you need an overhead projector (every house and/or small business has one of those. I'm trying to figure out what you get for the $275.00.

    I think the Nextengine scanner is complete less the PC. And if you spring for the Solidworks 2007 Office Suite you can do just about anything with it.


    Quote Originally Posted by diarmaid View Post
    You guys might be interested in this 3D scanner. Its much cheaper but I dont know anything about it.
    http://www.camtronics-cnc.com/




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    Default machining stl's

    Just to clear things up a bit for anyone wanting to machine polygon (stl, obj, 3ds, etc.)meshes. My name is Jay Delbeke, and I do 3D design and CAD/CAM for Stargate SG1 and Atlantis. YOU CAN MACHINE STL'S. I've been doing it for years in foam, plastics and metal, at remarkable resolutions. Inevitably, all Nurbs and solid models are calculated by "highend" cam programs as polygons. The tolerances you choose dictate how small the calculated facets will be on curvature. As far as I caqn tell, there is only one real cam solution for stl/polygon models. Visual Mill is the CAM software you must have if you want to cut scans. No, you dont need to make closed solids to machine a shape. Even a one sided scan shell open on the bottom can be put into VM and toolpaths generated in moments. It's relatively verry cheap, and super easy to learn if you have a good understanding of CAD/CAM. You can build suport geometry right in the program, as well as regions and circles/arcs for hole machining etc.
    The first problem you will incounter with high triangle scan meshes is manipulation and separation of geometry. For most people there is no easy solution because polygon modeling is a whole career field unto its self, but there are tools that are free that can do it. Look up Wings 3D, its a free polygon modeling program made by professional poly modelers. Easy to use.
    You often have to cut areas off and lay them flat for machining then reasemble. I am including a picture of A full body I scaned, cut into 3 " slabs, and layed flat to be machined on a Shop Bot with a 4" gantry!!!! And it came out perfect. Now that's a feat, if you know anything about a Shop Bot.

    In some cases, you may know how to do multiple opperation cuts. You can create a tool path of one side of an object, save it, flip it over on it's center and toolpath the back. You now have 2 toolpaths. Cut one side, flip the stock over, cut the other side and most of your model will be free of the stock. Using a CNC mill like a haas, with vices and clamps, this is easy. On a CNC router table its a bit more tricky, and you need to make registration marks or pegs in the stock and table bed to flip acurately. I routinely do 2-4 sided cuts on cheap CNC router tables that are aligned perfectly, but it's an art.
    If there is lots of interest in these techniques, i may write a tutorial with pics.

    Ayway, the point is there is more than one way to skin a cat. machining models (almost) right out of the scanner is possible and routinely done.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -layout-jpg  


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    Jay,

    Thank you for the post! I'd be interested in reading any tutorial that you write.
    My mom wants a waterfall in her back yard that looks like the stargate. When I get my first CNC machine built, I was thinking about watching the episodes on my laptop, and doing screen captures; then generating tool paths from there... Do you have any better suggestions? (I wouldn't be violating any copywrite stuff, right? because I'd be making it for personal use, and not to market and make money off of someone else's intellectual property?)
    That seems like it would be quite a fun job! I would really be interested in learning more about what you do.

    -Jim



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    Jay,
    Great information. A tutorial with pics would be terrific - I might even pay money for it.

    Cheers.



  5. #65

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    Put me down as one that would also like to see the tuts. I have been doing this slicing type machining in foam, but it is hard to do. Any info to help in the process would be appreciated.

    Mike

    No greater love can a man have than this, that he give his life for a friend.


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    Jay, I'll agree. You have a knack for writing. Where have ya been. Oh, prolly working!

    Keep the advice coming...JRouche

    (Note: The opinions expressed in this post are my own and are not necessarily those of CNCzone and its management)


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    Default busy

    Ya, Stargate is closing down for the season, so I'm really busy right now. Putting together promo material to find work for the gang over the winter. We like to move from production to production as a team.

    Anyway, decided to order a Nextengine scanner. I'll give a review from the perspective of someone who has used many scanners before. May be a few months to avive though.



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    well I went ahead and ordered the nextengine scanner. I thought that if it wasnt usefull I could send it back and get a full refund less shipping and handling. I recieved it about a month ago. It was nicely packed and professional looking. It comes with a copy of the sofware on a cd but its advisable to download the latest version through their internet site becuase they update it quite a bit. The laser itself is very good. Its fast and accurate. It scans with no surface spikes or holes within its designated field of view. I couldnt be happier with the data it collects. The laser itself is truly a breakthrough for the price. However my experiences with the software have been way less than pleasing. Over the past month I have spent at least a 100 hours working with the scan data and the program. So Im not jumping the gun on my evaluation.
    For small objects the sofware complements the scanner pretty well. (by small I mean the size of a remote control) You can do a single 360 scan and then align the top and bottom to the 360 scan family pretty easy and accurately. After you do that you will have to trim by hand the individual scans to eliminate as much overlap as possible. This can be frustrating because there is no undo button like in rhino, unless you let it save your work after every little thing you do. To save after every little thing is not really an option in the real world because each save will take about 2 minutes and you may preform 30 saves just to trim it up correctly. If its not trimmed up real well you will often get holes in your final model after blending it together. And blending can take anywhere from 20 minuts to an hour. Where the program really breaks down is when you try to do a 360 scan of anything larger than a remote control. because of numerous bugs (which their support readily admits to) It is nearly impossible to get a larger model together. By larger I mean about the size of gallon milk jug. There are a lot of different bugs I could talk about that I have run into over the last month, currupting saved data, realigning already aligned models, refusing to align models. bending aligned models, random program shut downs, blend failures, unexplained holes in almost all the blended models. I wont go on needless to say they are time consuming and can become extremely frustrating. I think it says it all to say that I have not been able to get a large model together despite over 100 hours of work, And its not because of the laser but because of the program it comes with. another thing that will prevent one from making a larger model with this program is the ineficient use of system resources. I have a
    Pentium 4 2.8 gh
    2 gig ram
    bfg geforce 7800 gs oc vid card... The largest vid card available for agp slots
    when trying to assemble three 360 deg scans of 8 faces each I will get around 1 frame every three seconds. The result is that doing anything with that large of a model will take 10 times longer than it should just in waiting for your vid card and processor to work. Ps ( I tried two different vid cards with the same result ) Just to give perspective three scan families of 8 scans each in micro mode will eat around 750 megs to 1 gig of ram so if you wanted to do something like a full guitar you better have 4 to 5 gigs in your system. But I can guarantee you you will not be able to scan and align that much data without running into a bug that will force you to start all over again.
    So all that being said what is the scanner good for? Well it does well with very small models Like 4 inches tall. You can do a full 360 scan and most likely get it together. It also does well with a single scan or up to 4 or 5 scans of a planer surface. In other words if you wanted to scan in 3d reliefs with this scanner (as long as they arent to big ) you can get it done pretty easy. Beyond that Its a crap shoot if your gonna be able to work around the bugs and system resource problems to get a larger model together.
    One good thing about the software is that they are working to make it better. Upgrades come out every couple of weeks so far ( although I havent seen any real improvement of the main issues that the software has) I think if they keep at it you may have a program that would be usable for medium size models in a year or so. Who knows maybe sooner... or maybe later.



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    Unhappy send it back?

    so are you going to send it back?
    I just ordered one. Got a better computer and I hope I get better results.



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    Thanks for the info Senor J. it's always nice to read an honest but fair review of something.

    One question about the scanner, how does it do with shinny or reflective surfaces? I was thinking about buy it to scan coins but I've read that laser scanners don't to well on reflective surfaces.

    As for the software, it almost sounds like the software wasn't ready for release at the same time as the scanners release.

    Take it easy.
    Jay (www.cncjay.com)


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    Hey Senor J,

    I'm a software engineer from NextEngine, and saw your post about the rendering speed. The 7800 is a sweet card, and does 500 million triangles per second. So, it should fly!

    We have a bunch here, and are able to work with very large models fluidly. ScanStudio uses special techniques to handle large volumes of data quickly, and its rendering engine compares very favorably with other 3D programs.

    I'm thinking there's something with your driver where its not fully using the card. Maybe another card on the motherboard isn't disabled and is interfering. If you'd like to get to the bottom of it, let me know your handle on the NextWiki and I'll work through it with you.

    Great forum guys. Thanks for all the interest in our scanner!

    -Pete

    PS. For dighsx's question on scanning coins - you can scan them if you powder or paint them. If you lightly powder, you can still see the texture of the coin well. And when we've painted them, we've noticed that we get finer 3D detail.



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    well what I can say about handling large models in scan studios from experience is that you will always run into a bug. for example no more than a couple of minutes ago I was trying to run a blend on a moderately sized model. That was the 5th attempt at blending and without fail I run into a bug of some sort along the way. To put the bug problem in perspective over the last month I have had probably 70 bug reports to send in. It asks for what I was doing when the bug was detected. I dont always respond because it gets old. The software honestly should be considered a beta version under testing. But like i said before the laser itself is great and exceeds my expectations. So as far as buying it if I had to do over again I would hold off on purchasing it 6 months / 1 year in the hopes that the software issues would be resolved. If you guys can do that at nextengine it will be a steal of a deal. But right now whenever Im using this thing, for any thing more than just a coulple of simple scans, Im banging my head agianst the table.



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