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Digitizing objects



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Old April 18th, 2011, 22:08   #1
krap101's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Roscoe, IL USA
Digitizing objects

Hey guys,

I'm working on a project, and I'm sure some of you are in the field. Over the summer I want to save up the money for a 4 axis (3d+lathe), and I'm hoping to be able to make my own replacement parts. I'm wondering if there is a simple/easy way to digitize parts so I can export them to a CNC? There are a few ways that I'm thinking of.

#1: use a micrometer/calipers and measure EVERYTHING, then model it
#2: make a 3d scanner, and scale them to 1:1
#3: make a 3d scanner that can measure distances
#4: use one of those wands that measure points on an object, and then use some cadding software to create a surface out of the points.

Or, since I will probably have the means to, and since digitizing it might be just as hard, I could just try to design my own parts... lol
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Old April 18th, 2011, 22:20   #2
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The only CNC lathes that I've seen that fit your description cost in the area of $250,000 +
Granted those were in an fab shop for oilfield equip. There could be smaller units but I'm sure it's still cheaper to buy replacement parts from a retailer.
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Old April 18th, 2011, 22:37   #3
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I hope you have money. A lot.

Also, depends on the part and the tolerances needed. Of these choices. I would tend to say the micrometer/caliper is the best as -no offence inteded, but since you're talking about making a 3D scanner, I don't think you' (or anyone without some serious tool) wll be able to achieve sufficient accuracy for CAD use...

Last edited by Conker; April 18th, 2011 at 22:40..
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Old April 18th, 2011, 22:47   #4
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Hope you are aware that you can't simply ask a program to "digitalize" a part. Unless you have a 3d scanner. I know that some company's (PWC, Bombardier, etc..) have 3d scanners made by FARO. If you can't put your hands on that kind of scanners then you will have to draw it by yourself with a 3D program (Inventor, Solid work, Catia, etc...) by using manual mesuring tools. When you have a 3D drawing you can now start your program for your kind of lathe depending on the program that runs it(Mazatrol, Fanuc, Heidenhein, etc...) using a program like Mastercam, Catia, etc...

Also, like said before, a 3D lathe is very expensive...


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Old April 19th, 2011, 00:26   #5
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Measure using a digital caliper and use a simple CAD program, I use Rhino myself. Cant really get any simpler, Rhino is super simple to use.
IMO there are no airsoft parts that require 3d scanners. 3d scanners would be useful for complex shapes such as car bodies and the like where measuring by hand is nearly impossible.

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Old April 19th, 2011, 03:33   #6
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I'm looking at a 4 axis hobby cnc for around $5-6k. I am pretty good at cadding (inventor), and have a good amount of experience with a 3 axis cnc. Tolerance is <.015mm and it can mill steel aluminum etc.

For the 3d scanner, I've seen some 3d scanners on youtube, and I assumed they were reasonably accurate. The problem I was seeing was whether they were accurate enough, and whether it were possible to get anything more than relative sizes from the drawing that poops out.

Currently I'm using cut2d/cut3d along with mach3 currently, but I'm going to need a new cam software (assuming I go for the 4th axis)
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Old April 19th, 2011, 07:39   #7
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if the part doesn't have complex curves it is probably easier to remodel it completely in the software rather than to scan it.
Plus the resulting scan will need some cleaning, better work straight from a clean model, unless you want to reproduce a sculpture...
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Old April 19th, 2011, 17:04   #8
Join Date: Feb 2009
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The hobby mills that say they can mill aluminum can do shallow parts but nothing like milling out an AR-15 receiver or pistol frame from a block of aluminum. If you are thinking of something like the CNC Masters' Baron, which is just above the price range you listed, that has been used for slides and frames before but it takes a long time and many passes to mill out solid bock.
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