In Gocator® firmware 5.2, the “Surface Section” tool was introduced to give users a new way to extract profiles from 3D surface scans. Profiles can then be measured using all of Gocator®’s built-in profile measurement tools. This new approach to sectioning allows users to orient their 3D surfaces and achieve consistent alignment based on Gocator’s well-established anchoring capabilities. This blog explores these concepts.
What is Surface Sectioning
The Surface Section tool in Gocator® lets you define a cross-section of a surface (i.e., a "section") from which the tool extracts a profile, to which you can then apply any profile measurement. A section can have any XY orientation on the surface, while its profile is always parallel to the Z-axis (i.e., height value).
One advantage of the Surface Section tool is that you can anchor it to some other easily-identifiable feature on the scan target (such as the center of a hole or the angle of an edge), which "shifts" the section in relation to that feature. This increases measurement repeatability as a result.
A second advantage is that the Surface Section tool can take any surface as input, such as a combined surface (using the Surface Extend or Stitch tools), a transformed surface (using the Surface Transformation tool), or a filtered/corrected surface (using the Surface Filter or Surface Vibration Correction tools). This capability is significant because it means you can use surface sectioning not only on the initial 3D scan data but also on data output by other tools.
The third benefit of the Surface Section tool is that you can use it to calculate the global X/Y coordinates of a resulting profile, which is required in order to “stitch” multiple scans (from a single sensor or from multiple sensors) into a single 3D point cloud.
Increased measurement repeatability is the key user benefit of surface sectioning. If there is a subtle shift or rotation from part to part on the production line, the Surface Section tool can compensate by simply anchoring to another feature. This allows the user to easily correct for positional variation, so any measurements performed on the resulting profile are more precise.
The Surface Section tool is now available as a built-in measurement algorithm in Gocator® firmware. To explore more of Gocator®’s “smart” onboard measurement tools, visit the interactive Firmware section of our site.
For general information on the topic of automated quality control, we invite you to read this article outlining the basics of 3D machine vision.