Monday, November 2, 2015

3D Scanning for VFX

We've been 3D scanning airplanes for twenty years but last fall we were able to use our two decades of experience for a slightly different deliverable: to help create incredibly realistic airplane vfx for the new Steven Spielberg film, Bridge of Spies. Direct Dimensions' team scanned a plane, props, costume and actor for the production.

You can see some vfx shots in the below trailer or in the theaters:


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

3D "House of Dreams"

Baltimore Arts Realty Corp. broke ground this week on a new maker-space for the city, Open Works.

MD Rep Elijah Cummings celebrated the ground breaking of this "House of Dreams" with a speech that included a hat tip to our very own Michael Raphael. We are thankful and lucky to be part of this amazing maker/tech community in Baltimore.  Incredible organizations and spaces, like Open Works, are happening all the time in Charm City and we hope to continue to take part.

Direct Dimensions' President Michael Raphael shows 3D printed scan data to Representative Cummings.


Monday, August 31, 2015

Virtual Shipwreck Reconstruction

3D data of ship timbers
When repairing a bridge over the Nanticoke River, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) discovered what appeared to be a remarkably intact 18th century shipwreck in the water.

From the Maryland Department of Transportation: “The inadvertent discovery of this shipwreck is an amazing opportunity to study early maritime history. It reminds us how Marylanders used to move goods and people across the region. It’s not every day we get to touch a shipwreck built more than 200 years ago,” said Dr. Julie Schablitsky, SHA Chief Archaeologist.  

But how best to document such fragile, and historically important materials? 3D scanning of the timbers will allow archaeologists from the SHA to digitally reconstruct this important discovery.

Direct Dimensions' scanner documenting large timber
 You can learn more about 3D documentation of cultural heritage sites here


Friday, August 21, 2015

3D Animation of Pterosaur Entertains and Educations at Toledo Zoo

In 2009 Julia Molnar, a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University brought us a set of bone castings from a well preserved pterosaur skeleton. For her masters thesis project, Ms. Molnar was studying the way in which pterosaurs would have taken flight. Very little is known about their launch sequence, and how such an enormous creature could vault into the sky without dragging its giant wings along the ground.

To discern how this might be possible, Ms. Molnar needed the following: to digitize the cast pieces, assemble correctly into a complete skeleton, and help formulate the 3D motion sequence for the ancient creature within the computer.The final result was a 3D animation showing the proposed sequence.

We often say that you should scan everything because you never know when you'll need the 3D data and the pterosaur skeleton animation is a perfect example of that.

Several years after we completed the project the Toledo Zoo added a pterosaur section to their reptile exhibit and they were looking for some way to show how the giant creatures would have flown. The launch sequence video was a perfect fit for their exhibit and the video is now being shown to the nearly million visitors that the zoo has each year.


Monday, July 27, 2015

USIBD Digital Reality Symposium 2015

We've been using 3D laser scanning to document as-built conditions for AEC for a long time and think that this technology is a perfect fit for AEC.

Applications for 3D scanning include mechanical documentation of an existing MEP conditions - regardless of how crowded the existing space, models compatible with REVIT and Navisworks, comprehensive 3D documentation of As-Builts into BIM-ready CAD for Pre-Construction Job assessment, structural analysis, spatial relationships, facility layout,virtual fly-throughs and 3D prints.

We are encouraging interested folks to attend the USIBD Digital Reality Symposium 2015 this fall in Las Vegas to learn more about 3D Scanning and 3D printing for AEC.

We'll be there speaking about 3D printing. Learn more about the symposium here.


Monday, July 20, 2015

The Rosetta Stone: Creating a Digital Replica

In 1798 Napoleon sent a large corps of scientists and scholars to accompany his troops in Egypt. Intended to establish his Enlightenment cred, these scholars sent back various reports to France. On July 19, 1799, one of those experts sent a letter detailing an ancient stone that contained writing in three languages:  undecipherable Egyptian Hieroglyphics, Demotic, and ancient Greek. That find, the Rosetta Stone, was the key to understanding ancient Egyptian writing and an entire civilization.

In an early 19th century form of competitive crowdsourcing, many casts and lithographs of the stone were made and a diverse field of scholars used them to spend the next twenty years deciphering the unknown Egyptian languages.

Direct Dimensions joined that community of scholars, lithographers and cast makers when we 3D scanned one of the original casts of the Rosetta Stone to make a digital replica (without touching the precious original artifact).

The final 3D model is a 21st century digital copy that is 3d printable and will allow scholars and Egyptophiles to continue to analyze (or even own) an exact copy of the original.

Read more about the 3D scanning of the Rosetta Stone on our website.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

How to Print a Brain

When the creators of the "Your Brain" exhibit at The Franklin Institute tried to make a 3D print of a brain model they were turned away by every 3D printing company they approached. The companies all said the intricate 3D model would be impossible to print.

Then they came to Direct Dimensions.

Having been in business for twenty years, we are always excited to solve "impossible" problems. As experts of 3D model creation we went back to the beginning and approached the problem from a data perspective.

According to Direct Dimensions' Art Director, Harry Abramson: "Fortunately Dr. Voss provided an amazing data set for us to start with. In order to print this at large scale, each of the thousands of strand models would have to be fused to create a single brain model that could then be sliced into printable parts that fit in the build envelope. The whole model would then need engineering and design modifications to ensure that it could be assembled precisely and support itself on its custom mount.
To collaborate on the printing we contacted our friends at American Precision Prototyping. “We went over the size constraints of the build envelope, the volume of the object and our lead time, and very quickly I had a price and APP's guarantee that they could build the brain as long as we could prepare the files,” said Abramson. “What we lacked in budget, we made up with having a long lead time, so the project was a go!” 
The final, giant brain print is the centerpiece of the exhibit.
From APP's story on the project: "It has really become one of the iconic pieces of the exhibit. Its sheer aesthetic beauty takes your breath away and transforms the exhibit space," said Dr. Das. "The fact that it comes from real data adds a level of authenticity to the science that we are presenting. But even if you don't quite understand what it shows, it captures a sense of delicate complexity that evokes a sense of wonder about the brain."
You can read more about this incredible example of 3D printing on the Weill Cornell site or on American Precision Prototyping's page.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Scanning at the Movies: Terminator: Genisys

See some of our latest 3D scanning on the big screen this week when Terminator: Genisys arrives in the theaters.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Project Snapshot: Turbines in India

Turbine measurements in the middle of the night, in India, during monsoon season? No problem!


Monday, May 25, 2015

Project Snapshot: Memorial Day

3D scanning and modeling Tomb of the Unknowns to facilitate eventual repair or replacement of crack.
3D face scan for the Wounded Warrior sculpture project, Spirit of Survival
Using 3D printing to create a prototype "Battlefield Cross" memorial sculpture.

3D Scanning the Marine Corps War Memorial