Friday, February 27, 2015

Project Snapshot: Drone Scan of Francis Scott Key Memorial

Direct Dimensions partnered with Elevated Element to use a drone in conjunction with 3D scanning to digitally document the Francis Scott Key Memorial in Baltimore, MD. 


Monday, February 16, 2015

Presidents Day Round Up

In honor of Presidents Day, here is a sampling of presidential sites we've 3D scanned at Direct Dimensions.

Last Friday Direct Dimensions was on-site at George Washington's Mount Vernon to fully digital document this historical home. The 3D scans will help preservationists determine the age of building components, from nails to floor planks, allowing them to decipher what parts of the home date back to Washington himself, and what parts are more "modern" repairs or additions. You can read more about the 3D documentation of Mount Vernon here.

Over 200 feet in the air, a monumental sculpture of George Washington sits atop the first Washington Monument in Baltimore's Mount Vernon neighborhood. As part of an extensive renovation project the sculpture was digitized for documentation and restoration purposes. Two different scanning technologies were employed, the Faro Focus and a handheld Artec EVA scanner.

Perhaps the most well known presidential monument is the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.  This image is from an actual 3D laser scan of the Memorial and was performed in Dec. 2001 as a demonstration of lidar technology. You can visit our Sketchfab page and download the model for 3D printing for free!
Happy Presidents Day!


Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Prosthetic Limbs Created With 3D Scanning and Printing

While there are many medical applications for 3D scanning, some of the more significant projects we’ve seen use the technology to promote healing, dignity, and even a sense of community.  The creation of prosthetic limbs is an incredible example of how 3D scanning and 3D printing are enriching lives. On one end of the spectrum we see new limbs that can be incredibly detailed and realistic, at the other end is an amazing crowd sourcing movement that helps create simple, futuristic, robotic prostheses for those who can't afford them otherwise.

An example of the first type of prosthetic was a patient who came to our facility that had lost a hand in a tragic accident. The goal was to create a new life-like hand including the fine details of skin texture. His doctor was interested in how 3D laser scanning might augment his typical methods. The doctor came to Direct Dimensions’ lab with a plaster casting he had taken of his patient’s intact hand. We scanned this casting two different ways to ensure the highest quality of data possible: first with a laser line scanner mounted on a Faro Arm and second with a laser line scanner mounted on a motorized precision coordinate measuring machine, or CMM.The resulting data from the scans was incredibly detailed, containing millions of 3D polygons. During the modeling process, utilizing PolyWorks software, the model was also flipped to create a mirror of the plaster casting and a faithful re-creation of the clients lost hand.

The high resolution 3D digital model was used to create a 3D print at an incredibly high resolution. The prototype prosthetic hand which we delivered was so lifelike that you could even see pores and hair follicles. Using the prototype hand a finalized prosthetic in silicone was created with no loss of detail - truly an exceptional achievement,

Another example of innovative prosthetic creation is the amazing hand project powered by a community of makers with desktop 3D printers.  A group called e-NABLE facilitates the effort by crowdsourcing the design and fabrication of 3D printed ‘robot’ hands.  These plastic hands give function to those in need, particularly children, missing hands for various reasons, and usually unsuited for expensive prosthetics.  We are proud to have contributed over a dozen 3D printed hands to the project as well as authoring an illustrated instruction manual for assembly for the international e-NABLE community.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Project Snapshot: Rodin's The Thinker

In 2014 we scanned Auguste Rodin's The Thinker sculpture at the Baltimore Museum of Art. The BMA used the data for promotion at Baltimore's annual Artscape festival. The 3D model can also be used for archival purposes, research, or even the create mini "Thinkers" for the BMA's giftshop.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Making Reality Digital, Making the Digital into the Physical

 Direct Dimensions founder and President, Michael Raphael, was asked to present on the possibilities of 3D Scanning and Printing at Faro's 3D Documentation conference.

Through compelling visual case studies you can learn how 3D scanning helps make the physical into digital, and how that data in turn can be used to 3D print new objects. Case studies include national monuments, buildings, historic artifacts, consumer and medical applications and face and figure scanning. You can watch the presentation below.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial: The Table of Brotherhood

In 2011 Chevrolet released a short in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., entitled "The Table of Brotherhood." The spot's release coincided with the newly dedicated Memorial to Dr. King in Washington DC.

To have the short filmed and edited in time for the dedication of the memorial, however, it needed to be completed before the monument was finished. To help create the filmed memorial, a small scale maquette of the monumental sculptre was scanned and 3D modeled. The digital version of the memorial was edited into the video. Below are images from the scanning and modeling process, as well as the final video for "The Table of Brotherhood."


Thursday, December 18, 2014

3D Scanning for VFX: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Can you spot the 3D scanning data?

3D scanning brings the complex reality of the physical world accurately into the digital realm – so accurately that we don’t even notice that the effects may not have been filmed, but created digitally in the computer.



Friday, December 5, 2014

Bmore3D: Baltimore's 3D Printing & 3D Scanning Pop-up Store Returns

Custom 3D Stuff, Tinkerine Studios Ltd., ShapeShot and Direct Dimensions are collaborating to create the first retail store in the mid-Atlantic region focused on 3D scanning and 3D printing.  The Bmore3D Store is located at 10310 S. Dolfield Road, Suite #3D in Owings Mills, MD. 

New this year is the ability to create your own face in chocolate. The DittoPro 3D printer is also on sale, as well as the previous Ditto+ and Litto printers as kits. Customers can shop a curated gallery of the most unique gifts in Baltimore, designed by Baltimore 3D artists.  Items include earrings, rings, necklaces,  and an assortment of unique Baltimore-themed pieces.  All items are designed using 3D modeling software and fabricated by an assortment of 3D printers.  The DittoPro 3D printers from Tinkerine Studios will be on display in the store demonstrating 3D printing.

The store also features ShapeShot™, the world’s first fully automated 3D photo booth, featured in Time Magazine.  After being captured in 3D, customers can order their 3D-printed busts, mini-figs, game pieces, jewelry, bobbleheads and even ceramic coffee mugs customized with a scale model of their face.  Bring your family, your babies, and even your pets!  ShapeShot lets you be the face of 3D printing.

ShapeShot was developed by Direct Dimensions, the Baltimore-based engineering services firm also in the store providing 3D scanning of objects and unique full-body 3D scanning for amazing 3D printed miniature figurines.  In November, Direct Dimensions was showcased by The Smithsonian for its contributions to the groundbreaking SI x 3D project which brings museum artifacts online in 3D to the world.

The Bmore3D Store will also feature various educational and entertainment opportunities for visitors with technology discussions and demonstrations by regional 3D professionals.  These events will highlight methods of 3D design, 3D scanning, and 3D printing and other aspects of digital fabrication – fast becoming the new way for making things.  Everyone at all levels will find these sessions helpful, particularly professionals interested in implementing 3D tools in their workplace.

A schedule of activities will be posted on Bmore3D’s website featuring renowned 3D industry professionals, local artists, designers, and engineers.  Check back often for upcoming activities and meet-ups.
Custom 3D Stuff, founded by Todd Blatt in 2009, creates custom CAD designs, 3D printed jewelry, props, custom engineering prototypes, and advertising and promotional material through the use of digital fabrication.

The Bmore3D Store is located at 10310 S. Dolfield Road, Suite #3D, Owings Mills, Maryland 21227
Web:  Phone: 443-963-9456  Email:
A collaboration of:
Custom 3D Stuff at
Tinkerine Studios at
Direct Dimensions at
ShapeShot at


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

3D Scanning at the Movies: The Cobbler

If it seems like we're posting a lot of movie trailers for films we've worked on this year - we are!

We've had a ton of fun over the last few years scanning actors, sets, locations, costumes and props for many films and it is always exciting to see our 3D scans showing up in the finished product. Definitely click on over to our IMDB page for a full list of everything we've done and are doing.

And below, check out the trailer for The Cobbler, for which we completed figure and prop scanning for special effects.


Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

In honor of the holiday, check out this rather amazing zombie ShapeShot: