automobile floor scans/scanning: advice about getting startd

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NewEnglander
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automobile floor scans/scanning: advice about getting startd

Post by NewEnglander » Tue Dec 06, 2016 12:34 pm

Hello everyone,

I'm new to this forum but not new to online forums/groups in general. I've been participating in more than a dozen automotive and engineering forums and chat groups since as far back as the 80s before the public Internet.

I have a couple decades of experience 3D modeling and somehow all these years I've never once scanned anything. So I'm completely new to 3D scanning. And as it turns out, I now have a project that may require a considerable amount of scanning.

In a nutshell, I've been asked to obtain accurate measurements and topographies for the interior floors of several dozen makes and models of cars, spanning 10 model years. The goal is to create custom-fit floor mats for the front, rear and cargo areas of these vehicles.

Here's a summary of where I'm at today...

It seems at least a couple of mat manufacturers have already gone through the effort of either measuring by hand or scanning the interiors of hundreds of vehicles. I know of at least one that showed videos of how it uses Artec equipment to obtain its design data. They're not about to share that information with competitors.

So I researched automotive databases to find out if there's a resource that sells access to the data we'd need. That was a dead-end.

I turned my attention to 3D model databases. Most don't offer interior models. And those that do on a limited basis, appear to use models built from scratch, not scans. I'd be concerned about the accuracy of the models.

It was at this point that I began investigating scanning. I made quite a few calls to the Artec, Creaform, Sense, etc scanner manufacturers to discuss our needs and their products. I learned quickly that continuous scanning doesn't come cheap. New equipment $20k+ and used equipment $5k+ And then there's the learning curve. I'm certain I'd pick it up fairly quickly, but that remains to be seen.

Fortunately, during my research about scanning I discovered this valuable forum. I'm hoping you all can point me in the right direction.

We would be open to paying for access to an existing database of accurate interior scans. It would certainly speed up our project considerably. Do you know of any organization with such a database?

If that's not an option, I'd like to lease or buy a 3D scanner and software and begin learning to use them right away. Any equipment and software recommendations for this application? Automobile floors generally have low pile carpet in a variety of colors, all of them matte. I'd prefer a system that allows me to quickly clean up and accurately scale the scans. Which options would enable me to minimize my expenditures? I already have relationships with several local dealers who are prepared to provide access to their vehicles to conduct scans. They would prefer that I not spray or apply anything to the carpets in these new vehicles. So the equipment needs to work well without leaving any trace behind.

Would you lease/rent or buy? If you'd buy, would you trust used equipment? Any tips or reources that might help me keep expenses down and speed up my learning curve would be appreciated.
Kind regards,

Joe

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Re: automobile floor scans/scanning: advice about getting st

Post by Jason Warren » Tue Dec 06, 2016 8:53 pm

Hi Joseph,
Welcome to the Laser Scanning Forum... ;)
Sounds like quite a project!
Jason Warren

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Re: automobile floor scans/scanning: advice about getting st

Post by SAttaya » Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:18 pm

Guess you know about these folks - http://www.weathertech.com/floorliner-digitalfit/
and I'm sure I've seen PU tuck bed liners advertized on TV where they seem to have
a scanner going.

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Re: automobile floor scans/scanning: advice about getting st

Post by NewEnglander » Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:44 pm

Hi SAttaya, I do know about WT....claims over 18,000 patterns and $400+ M/yr in revenue. It's an impressive operation. Not sure how many of the patterns were scanned and how many were hand measured. I'd love to have access to that library ;-)

Nice to be here Jason, thanks.
Kind regards,

Joe

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Re: automobile floor scans/scanning: advice about getting st

Post by ddustin » Thu Dec 08, 2016 12:21 am

Joseph,
1. Would you be scanning with the seats in place (I'm assuming yes due to the significant number of vehicles)?
2. What accuracy are you trying to achieve with the scans?
3. Will you be scanning in daylight or in a covered area?
4. Will you try to have a contiguous scan or the front and rear areas or would they be separate scans?
5. Will you need color data?
It sounds to me like you need a pretty short range scanner.
All of them are non-contact and the carpet surface will scan well as long as you have something to track the surface (patterns, targets etc).

Interestingly, we were contacted by a company that provided something similar and wanted us to Laser Emboss custom/personalized logo's etc into the floor mat.

Oh yeah.. welcome to the forum ;)
David
Global Director of Public Safety - Product Management

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Re: automobile floor scans/scanning: advice about getting st

Post by NewEnglander » Thu Dec 08, 2016 11:26 am

Glad to be a part of LSF now, David, thank you.

1. Would you be scanning with the seats in place (I'm assuming yes due to the significant number of vehicles)?

Yes. We'll move the seats forward/rearward as far as possible, tilt the steering column upward, and only temporarily remove existing floor mats. In trunks and cargo areas we'll just temporarily remove any mats and unattached gear.

2. What accuracy are you trying to achieve with the scans?

+/-2mm would be plenty accurate. We're most interested in the floor topology.

3. Will you be scanning in daylight or in a covered area?

During daylight, outdoors as much as possible. I'm a bit concerned about the operating temps. We're up in New England and headed into Winter. For the next few months scans would be performed outdoors in unheated spaces.

4. Will you try to have a contiguous scan or the front and rear areas or would they be separate scans?

Depending on the vehicle configuration, we may have as many as 7 separate scans per vehicle. Up to 2 scans per seat row (1 per side, or 1 continuous over the trans/shaft tunnel), and one of the cargo space.

5. Will you need color data?

No

It sounds to me like you need a pretty short range scanner.

I'm wondering if something as simple as a 3D Systems Sense would work for this application. With post scan processing using Wrap/DesignX or similar.

All of them are non-contact and the carpet surface will scan well as long as you have something to track the surface (patterns, targets etc).

This is where I'm most concerned. It seems the higher end structured light scanner perform better with fewer markers. With a low end scanner such as the Sense is it necessary to mark a surface to improve its ability to scan something as featureless as a carpeted automobile floor? And if so, is there a method to do so non-destructively?

Interestingly, we were contacted by a company that provided something similar and wanted us to Laser Emboss custom/personalized logo's etc into the floor mat.

It's too bad someone hasn't already built a comprehensive library of scanned automobile interiors going back at least 10 model years. We'd buy an access subscription to that in a heartbeat. Huge time saver. No such luck.
Kind regards,

Joe

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Re: automobile floor scans/scanning: advice about getting st

Post by NewEnglander » Thu Dec 08, 2016 6:24 pm

For a truly low buck approach I'm going to test a 3D Systems Sense and use Autodesk Remake for cleanup and scan-to-mesh conversion. Have any of you used this combination?
Kind regards,

Joe

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Re: automobile floor scans/scanning: advice about getting st

Post by ddustin » Thu Dec 08, 2016 6:38 pm

Joe,
In general, I don't recommend a low buck approach... typically it is wasted money..
For what it's worth.

David
Global Director of Public Safety - Product Management

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Re: automobile floor scans/scanning: advice about getting st

Post by TommyMaddox » Thu Dec 08, 2016 6:49 pm

^What David said holds pretty true.

Besides, if you're looking for a truly low buck approach, then the free FARO Capture and FARO Process coupled with a $50 craiglist Kinect V2 will go pretty far. Since the Kinect V2 is Time of Flight tech, you should have fewer issues with outdoor scanning and lighting. It should also achieve the accuracy envelope you're seeking at the ranges you'll be working at.

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