Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Call for Papers: CMSC

The CMS Announces Their “Call for Papers" for the 2013 CMSC in San Diego, CA
Abstract Submission Deadline:  March 15, 2013

CMSC is holding its 29th annual technical conference and exhibition in San Diego in July 2013. This technical conference focusing on portable 3D coordinate measurement metrology, provides a professional venue where ideas, concepts and theory flow freely among participants from around the world. Unlike a typical trade show, the focus at CMSC is on education through various technical presentations and workshops. The educational atmosphere encourages attendees to network and learn about the latest innovations in the field of portable 3D industrial measurement technologies and is a great opportunity to share your expertise with your colleagues.

Direct Dimensions' President, Michael Raphael, is serving in his 4th year as a member of the elected fully-volunteer Executive Committee of the CMSC. His primary duty for this year's conference is the overall organization of the CMSC Technical Presentations and Workshops.

From the CMS:
"The organization welcomes abstracts for presentations and technical papers submitted by metrology professionals from leading manufacturers, science laboratories, and academia. Suggested topics include industry best practices, scientific research and developments, and successful applications of 3D coordinate measurement systems. The CMSC is the only North American conference dedicated solely to users of portable, high-precision measurement technology used to inspect manufactured and assembled components on the factory floor." 

Please consider submitting an abstract for this excellent conference!


Call for Speakers: RAPID 2013

Application Deadline: December 17, 2012

From SME:

"Additive Manufacturing is in the Spot Light"

"3D printing is gaining greater attention! The recently created National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) will underscore the importance of this technology. Trade and business publications have picked up on it and have run numerous articles about how additive manufacturing (AM) is revolutionizing manufacturing. This has spurred an international interest in AM, 3D printing and 3D imaging in manufacturing and other industries. There’s no better time than now to share your innovative research, case study or application with an audience razor focused on AM. Become a RAPID 2013 Speaker"


Friday, November 30, 2012

MakerBot Photo Booth Powered by ShapeShot

If you are interested in 3D printing or 3D face and figure scanning then make sure to watch the below video to see the MakerBot Photo Booth (powered by our ShapeShot technology) in action.

If you look carefully you can see Direct Dimension's own Michael Raphael and Mike Agronin!


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

LiDAR News: Additive Manufacturing Brings Layers of Opportunity to 3D Scanning

3D Printing is everywhere these days: on the news, on the cover of Wired, and even in its own dedicated retail space.

But how does the new popularity of 3D printing affect our field of 3D scanning and imaging? Direct Dimensions president (and frequent LiDAR News contributor) Michael Raphael tackled this topic in one of his recent columns.  

Additive Manufacturing Brings Layers of Opportunity to 3D Scanning  

There is no question that 3D scanning is coming into its own as an industry and a profession. We are seeing news about 3D scanning grow nearly every day from not only within our own industry sources such as LiDAR News, but also in more mainstream publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The Telegraph. I did a quick Google search on “3D scanning” (which admittedly I do pretty often to keep up) and as usual found a whole bunch of interesting links, news, and stories. 

But if you think the news in our world is growing, you should Google “3D printing” and see what’s happening over in this sister field to us, also called “Additive Manufacturing,” or just “AM.” I say “sister field” because to me, our world of 3D scanning is all about digitizing things in our physical world INTO digital forms in the computer - where AM is all about taking 3D data OUT OF the digital world of the computer and bringing it into our physical world. 

 Right now the AM industry is undergoing an amazing explosion of interest, growth, news, and especially attention. Those of us involved in anything related to 3D scanning should be paying at least some attention to this news and watching at least some of what’s happening over there. I say this because I believe that growth in AM can and will affect growth in our world of 3D scanning. Why you say?

Click here to read the full article at LiDAR News.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Direct Dimensions Announces ShapeShot Public Launch in New York City

Fully Automated “3D Photo Booth” Ready for 3D Printing Installed at MakerBot Retail Store

Direct Dimensions, a world leader in 3D imaging, proudly announces the launch of ShapeShot – the world’s first end-to-end fully automated 3D photo booth experience in a retail store. Located in the recently opened MakerBot Store in New York City, ShapeShot brings the experience of a traditional photo booth snapshot into 3D and the amazing world of making personalized things with 3D printing, powered by MakerBot.

The launch of ShapeShot in this first retail location follows several years of development by Direct Dimensions for automating the 3D portrait process complete to 3D printing and other 3D apps. Previously only available for short periods at trade events such as SME’s RAPID Conference, people can now visit the MakerBot Store, the first 3D Printer MakerBot Store in the United States, take their ShapeShot 3D snapshot, and purchase 3D prints with their own face made on the amazing MakerBot® ReplicatorTM2 Desktop 3D Printer. ShapeShots can then be seen online at, or on the Android and Blackberry mobile apps (iOS coming soon!), or at MakerBot’s Thingiverse website

Makerbot Printed 3D Face
“Launching ShapeShot in the MakerBot Store in Manhattan is a perfect mash-up. Now for the first time,
customers can use affordable 3D printing to make something really personal – themselves! And designers and entrepreneurs can leverage these two super-hot technologies: 3D imaging and 3D printing - to create and offer personalized collectibles and other apps to consumers around the world. We are building a whole new digital ecosystem, based on 3D imaging, for creative makers,” said Michael Raphael, CEO and founder of Direct Dimensions, and creator of ShapeShot. “This is the first 3D app platform like this.”

ShapeShot 3D Face Gallery
In addition to the face-based 3D printed items available from MakerBot at the MakerBot Store featuring
ShapeShot, customers also get access to their digital 3D face data online at both the Thingiverse file sharing
community created by MakerBot, as well as the newly launched ShapeShot Market Place website. At customers can log in to view themselves in high-def color and purchase a variety of 3D face-based physical products and virtual apps. Initial products include amazing personalized jewelry such as a bracelet bead with your face, your mug on a mug, a 4-inch bronze bust, and a statue of you as revolutionary hero, among other things with many more apps coming soon.

ShapeShot is featured at the MakerBot Retail Store with Location and Hours:
The MakerBot Store
298 Mulberry St.
New York, NY 10012
Open: Mon-Sat 12 PM-7 PM; Sun 12 PM-6 PM

Founded in 1995, Direct Dimensions, Inc. has steadily grown to become a world leader in the application of 3D imaging across the widest range of applications and industries including aerospace, automotive, architecture, art/museum, medical, entertainment VFX, and historic preservation. Direct Dimensions provides uniquely specialized 3D imaging services and products for accurately capturing and modeling the reality of anything from jewelry to people to vehicles to buildings into various 3D digital formats.

MakerBot is a global leader in 3D printing technology.

Please visit our Direct Dimensions focused sites for additional information and complete contact information
at, our YouTube Channel, our DDI Blog, our IMDb page, and our Twitter feed.
And please visit our ShapeShot website for more on 3D snapshots of your face in 3D!


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day 2012: 3D Scanning for Political Animations

As this long election season draws to a close, we're reminded of a very cool project we worked on during the 2008 election cycle.

Direct Dimensions worked with famed cartoonist KAL (of The Economist) and Digital Steamworks to help create animated versions of KAL's renowned political cartoons.

DDI technicians laser scanned KAL’s hand-sculpted clay busts of Clinton, Obama and George W. Bush with a FaroArm-based laser line scanner to capture every element of the clay likeness. From there, PolyWorks software was used to digitally model the data into high-resolution polygonal mesh models. Those models were then given to an animation team and used to create the political video satires.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Using 3D Technology to Restore Destroyed Monument

Check out this preview of a documentary of the digital restoration of the Richmond Monument at Monument Church in Richmond, VA. Direct Dimensions used 3D laser scanning to document and then digitally repair the destroyed monument. The final 3D model was used to restore the monument that had been damaged by environmental factors.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

LiDAR News Profiles 3D Industry Pioneer Michael Raphael

In the October issue of LiDAR News editor Gene Roe introduced a new column, 3D Industry Pioneers. And who did he choose to feature as his first pioneer? None other than our very own CEO, Michael Raphael.

From the profile:

I really did not have any trouble deciding who would be my first interview. Although there are many worthy candidates, I chose Michael Raphael the founder of Direct Dimensions. Michael was one of the early supporters of the LiDAR News blog and from my perspective he has as much experience in the 3D dimensional measurement business as anyone. I say it that way because Michael has such a breadth of knowledge, both in the metrology and medium/long range 3D scanning worlds. 

Click here to read the rest of the profile and learn more about Michael Raphael, the 3D Industry and Direct Dimensions.


Monday, October 22, 2012

3D Scanning and Printing Help Emerging Artist Create Realistic Sculpture

The staff at Direct Dimensions is passionate about a lot of things: movies, music, video games, history and art, just to name a few of our favorite topics and pastimes. We consider ourselves extremely lucky that we often have the opportunity to work on projects that correspond to our passions and we get very excited when we have the opportunity to use our 3D scanning tools to lend a helping hand in fields that we love.

One such opportunity arrived recently when emerging artist Josh Kline posted to the Parsons School of Design website looking for someone with 3D scanning and modeling abilities to help him with his new piece for an upcoming exhibition at MoMA’s PS1. Mr. Kline embraces new technologies (like 3D scanning and printing) to make a statement in his sculptural work.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Case Study: Reverse Engineering Molds

Reverse Engineering Helps Save the Planet: 3D Measurement Firm Creates CAD for Green Kitchen Products

Industrial designers and consumer product companies have long understood the value of digital data for their design and manufacturing processes. However, the organic shapes so common in our everyday products present workflow challenges even for the best CAD platforms. Consequently designers have turned to 3D scanning and reverse engineering technologies for help. Today 3D scan data is used for part & tool inspection, product redesign and analysis, rapid prototyping, packaging design, and even virtual models for marketing and consumer testing.

Recently the marketplace has been changing as consumers demand more eco-friendly products. Industry surveys indicate that the interest in green products continues to grow, even in the current economy. While this is great for the planet, it is also good news for 3D scanning companies who are seeing a growing thread of business evolve as consumer goods firms redesign existing products to utilize new environmentally friendly materials and manufacturing processes.

Read More . . .


Friday, October 12, 2012

DDI at RMI 3D Printing seminar & Bmore Historic 2012

Today we are two great events:

RMI of Maryland is hosting (and Direct Dimensions is sponsoring) Rapid Tech Leaders + Learners – How Manufacturers are Using 3D Printers + Rapid Technologies - a great opportunity to learn about Rapid Manufacturing in Maryland.

We're also attending Bmore Historic 2012, a " participant-led unconference on public history, historic preservation and community development in the Baltimore region and across the state of Maryland." We're excited to share the work we've been doing 3D scanning buildings for historic preservation, like the Druid Hill Arch preservation project

and the Clipper Mill Tractor Building.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Case Study: 9/11 Memorial of Maryland

The 9/11 Memorial of Maryland is unique among other state memorials in its design. The Memorial, designed by Ziger/Snead, incorporates three steel beams from the World Trade Center, three limestone blocks from the west wall of the Pentagon and three black granite pieces representing the Flight 93 site in Shanksville, PA.While all states were offered 9/11 artifacts to create their memorials, the Maryland memorial leaves the beams in their original state rather than incorporating them into a new structure or piece of art.

One of the first steps in creating the design was documenting the existing condition of the beams. Due to the extensive damage it would be nearly impossible to document them using traditional methods. It was also important that whatever process was used to record the measurements not come into contact with these historically important pieces.

These two factors lead the team at Ziger/Snead to Direct Dimensions to learn about how cutting edge 3D laser scanning and 3D imaging could be used to capture the beams for the purposes of planning and design. Of course, Direct Dimensions' President Michael Raphael and the DDI team of engineers were excited to tackle such a unique 3D scan while also helping a worthy cause.

The Direct Dimensions team ultimately utilized two different scanners to capture the massive and complex steel beams. The Surphaser HSX Spherical Laser scanner and the new handheld Mantis Vision F5 scanner were used to digitally capture the complex artifacts in just a few hours. Both of these scanners were able to capture the exact measurements of the beams without ever touching them.

The data acquired from the scan, in the form of large point clouds, was digitally modeled and delivered to the designers. According to Ziger/Snead the 3D model can be used in a variety of ways including using it for 3D printing a scale model of the beams, using the 3D models for placement on the project site and construction questions, and using it for the design of structural supports and fasteners.

The monument is located in Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

You can visit the 9/11 Memorial of Maryland project page to learn more about the creation of the memorial.


Friday, September 7, 2012

Project Snapshot: Scanning a Gold Medal Winning Swimmer

Direct Dimensions' own Andrew Camardella uses the incredible Mantis Vision F5 handheld scanner to 3D scan and document Olympic Gold Medal winning (and world record breaking) swimmer Dana Vollmer.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Case Study: Reservoir 3 Restoration

Documenting the Existing Condition of Reservoir 3 in Jersey City, NJ
Laser Scanner Captures Historic Structures for Architectural Renovation

Constructed from 1871-1874, Jersey City’s Reservoir Number Three is important both for its historical structures and waterworks as well as for its status as the site of a burgeoning modern urban eco-system.

Reservoir 3 Background

Utilized as a source of potable water for both Jersey City and originally Ellis Island for over a hundred years, Reservoir 3 was shut down in the 1980s in favor of a newer facility. Drained in the 1990s, it began to fall into disrepair. Left alone for another ten years and the reservoir refilled naturally and plants and wildlife began to grow. By the early 2000s a mini eco-system containing many plant and animal species not common to such urban areas had evolved. The Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance was formed in 2002 to protect this rare urban environment from “destruction and misuse.”

Having saved the threatened Reservoir 3 from the destructive forces of decay and neglect, the Preservation Alliance had to fight a new threat. Local business and community groups, realizing the value of 14 “unused” acres pushed for the demolition of the Reservoir 3 and its subsequent redevelopment.

Thanks largely due to the perseverance and community organization of the Jersey City Reservoir Preservation Alliance, February 16, 2007, Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy declared that the Reservoir would be preserved as an “urban oasis.” Over the next two years a plan was created for a city park that would preserve both the historical structures from the original waterworks and the reservoir dependant eco-system in a way that the surrounding community could enjoy for years to come.
An Experienced Preservation Team

In 2009 Jersey City awarded John Milner Associates the contract for the creation of the public park. John Milner Associates is a D.C.-based historic preservation firm; they have facilitated extensive historical restoration and re-development in cities like Baltimore, Washington DC, Boston, and others.

John Milner Associates planned a three stage approach to the Reservoir 3 project. The first stage includes historical research about key components of the site’s history to help form a plan for the historical preservation. The second phase consists of a thorough examination of the existing state of Reservoir 3, including all of its land and structures. The final phase is the actual historical preservation and park construction.

Having worked with Direct Dimensions in the past, the team at John Milner Associates knew that there were certain documentation challenges that could be solved using 3D laser scanning technologies.

 The Reservoir 3 site contained three important structures: two large stone gate houses in a Romanesque style, and a tall brick screen house. The long term plan for the park is to repurpose the site and these structures for educational purposes by maintaining the original mechanical elements. To do this, John Milner Associates required an accurate dimensional plan of the as-built buildings in order to create the new development plans.

3D Scanning for Preservation

In November 2009, Direct Dimensions team members Glenn Woodburn and Dan Haga visited Reservoir 3 in Jersey City with a FARO LS Laser Scanner, a long-range spherical 3D scanner that can digitize vast open spaces with precision very quickly. Over the course of a single day, they performed 25 scans of the three buildings from different positions, each scan requiring about 10 minutes.

The scanner, mounted on a portable tripod similar to a camera, collected raw data in the form of a dense 3D ‘point cloud’ of millions of coordinates of the elements of each structure. In the end, these 3D laser images formed a high-definition survey of the three structures.

Upon returning to the Direct Dimensions facility in Owings Mills, the raw data scans were loaded into PolyWorks software and then coordinated and aligned together to form a single point cloud of each of the structures. After the scans were aligned in PolyWorks, they were brought into Rhino using the Pointools plug-in to create engineered geometry-based models.

From the 3D models, Direct Dimensions produced multiple 2D “as-built” architectural drawings from the laser scan data to accurately document each building’s exact measurements. These traditional architectural drawings provide the as-built blueprint for the designers and engineers at John Milner Associates to efficiently redevelop the space for educational purposes while maintaining the sites’ actual historical, structural elements


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

3D Scanning Monumental Sculpture

In the latest issue of LiDAR news Direct Dimensions President Michael Raphael told the story of how we helped the Walters Art Museum replicate sculptures.

But replication is just one of several uses for 3D scanning in the world of art, other uses include:

  • Digital Archiving of Monuments Art or Artifacts
  • Digital Restoration
  • Research and Analysis for Museums and Universities 
  • Measurement for Installation or Storage
Make sure to check out the below presentation to see how we used 3D scanning to help relocate the famous "Awakening" sculpture to its new home in the National Harbor.


Direct Dimensions in LiDAR News: 3D Imaging Provides Just the Touch for Museums

Direct Dimensions President Michael Raphael is a regular contributor to LiDAR News.

His most recent contribution tells the story of a very cool project we worked on where our team helped the Walters Art Museum create an exhibit where museum goers could actually touch the sculptures. From LiDAR News:

 There is no question that museums are expressing strong interest in the use of 3D.  Those of us that follow tech news feeds are seeing near daily examples of museums around the world using 3D scanning to document all kinds of collection items from prehistoric natural artifacts to man-made modern sculpture.

There is perhaps no better example of museum-based 3D scanning then my friends at The Smithsonian, becoming known affectionately as “the two laser cowboys”, Vince Rossi and Adam Metallo.  Well let’s face it, when The Smithsonian does it, it gets attention.

Here is a story about a project we participated in that went beyond just the scanning.  This project went full circle to the fabrication of accurate physical reproductions of the items using 3D printing – still a bit new to the museums, but growing fast.  For some reason, the idea of actually making copies of precious artifacts evokes fears of fraud and abuse, which to me is misguided relative to the tremendous benefits.

Read the rest of the story in the latest LiDAR News newsletter. 


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Olympic Technology

The Olympics are well underway and we still can't get enough - particularly when it comes to interesting stories about how various Olympic Teams utilize 3D scanning technology. In fact, we have another story of our own to add to the list:

United States Luge Team - Virtual Aerodynamic Analysis

Luge is one of the most exciting sports of the winter Olympics. A typical luge run consists of a person (or team of two) on a small sled, at speeds that can exceed 95 miles an hour, going down a course that has an average drop of 30 stories. Most sports measure results by the tenth or hundredth of a second but the difference between a gold and silver is so close that luge is the only sliding sport measured to the single thousandth of a second. Due to the extreme measurement, shaving even a couple of milliseconds off a final time can lead to a major competitive advantage.

Preparing for the 2006 Olympic Games in Turin, Italy, Direct Dimensions was approached by the United States Luge team with an exciting problem that could be solved in 3D. The USA Luge team was looking at some very high tech methods for testing their equipment and improving their times; one of the testing methods included virtual wind tunnel testing.

The team was interested in testing various design modifications to their sleds. Rather than making many expensive, actual modifications and putting each one through expensive physical wind tunnel and downhill testing, the team was planning on having a 3D model. With the 3D model the athletes would then be able to view, with virtual testing, where their sleds would need improvement in order to maximize their speed and lower drag.

Given this challenge, the USA Luge team contracted Direct Dimensions, a 3D services company with years of experience in creating similar 3D models for the aerospace and automotive industries. Their expertise in creating models for computation fluid dynamics analysis (CFD) combined with their additional experience scanning individuals for the arts and entertainment market, made Direct Dimensions uniquely suited to work on the team’s project. Over the course of a couple of days, members of the USA Luge team and their sleds were captured in 3D by DDI engineers at Direct Dimension’s facility.

The sleds themselves were captured using a laser line scanner mounted on a Faro Arm. This equipment captured the exact shape and contours to an accuracy of about a tenth of a millimeter. The athletes were then scanned in full gear and on their sleds using a Minolta Vivid 910 scanner.

With the raw 3D data gathered during scanning, Direct Dimensions engineers then created reverse engineered 3D CAD models of the sleds and their athletes. These models allowed the team to conduct computation fluid dynamics (CFD) with greater precision and accuracy given the exact human measurements of team members in relation to their sleds.

After the 2006 games a few members of the team returned to Direct Dimensions with their doubles sled for further scanning and modeling. The modifications created from these 3D models will hopefully enable the USA Luge team to continue increasing their speeds.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Video Case Study: NASA F15b Prototype


Monday, July 23, 2012

Case Study - Olympic Sculpture

Like the rest of the country (and the world) we are excited for the 2012 Summer Olympics to begin this Friday! While we haven't had a chance to do any scanning for this year's Olympics we have used to our 3D scanning expertise to support past Olympic Games.

 3D Measurements Enable Safe Installation of Olympic Sculpture

 A very early project in the summer of 1995, combined sculptural art and engineering, and therefore seems particularly appropriate to discuss this month during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

The Olympics are not only a showcase of athletic prowess, but also serve as a chance for the hosting city to highlight their cultural scene through art and architecture. In preparation for the 1996 summer games in Atlanta, the Olympic committee commissioned multiple major works of sculpture for Olympic Park.

One of these pieces, called World Events by British artist Tony Cragg, incited much enthusiasm but also a certain concern for safety. The plan for World Events called for the sculpture, a mesh of human figures creating the form of a man holding a ball, to be 26 feet tall. The complexity of the design made for an intriguing example of public sculpture, but at 26 feet tall the committee had to ensure its structural integrity before installing it in Olympic Park.

To ensure the integrity of the final sculpture, calculations needed to be based on a 5-foot tall bronze scale model of the design, also by Cragg. Structural engineering firm Uzun & Case was hired to analyze the sculpture and they turned to engineers at Georgia Tech to help with the project. Given the complexity of the hand-made nature of the piece (the human mesh forms, though similar, were not exact) the engineers could not make their calculations and recommendations with certainty.

After attempting more conventional measurement methods, they found and contacted Direct Dimensions in Baltimore, MD to provide an accurate three-dimensional computer model of World Events. The goal was to use the 3D CAD model with finite element software to perform the structural analysis.

Michael Raphael traveled to Atlanta in the summer of 1995 to perform the measurements using a portable FARO Arm. In just 2 days, he digitized each of the joints of the mesh and captured the dimensional properties for each of the parts within the model. The resulting 3D computer model was then used by Uzun & Case to determine that the sculpture was structurally sound.

The accurate 3D data also provided an unexpected benefit. Based on the data the engineering team noticed an area where a slight change could also lead to cost savings in the creation of the 26 foot tall sculpture.

With the help of Direct Dimensions, Mr. Cragg was able to implement his vision, with cost savings, in time for the opening of Olympic Park.

The sculpture still stands today as a focal point of the park, enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

CMSC 2012

This week we're at the 28th annual CMSC conference, taking place in New Orleans, LA. You can visit us at Booth 307 and see the amazing F5 scanner in action.

If you can't make it, make sure to follow us on twitter for pictures and updates from the conference.


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy 4th of July!

Over the years we've posted several stories on major American holidays (4th of July, Memorial Day, Inauguration day). We thought we'd point you to several earlier posts that are full of Patriotic 3D stories. Enjoy!

 We 3D scanned and modeled the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery to document the deteriorating monument.

We've done several "Presidential" projects over the years, from scanning a sculptural Obama for a digital political cartoon to the room where Washington gave his farewell address.

Direct Dimensions 3D scanned and imaged the Lincoln Memorial for the United States Park Service to demonstrate how laser scanning can help preserve national monuments.

Other patriotic projects include several scans of the liberty bell (including the infamous crack) and a frame given to George Washington by Louis XVI.

We  hope everyone has a wonderful 4th of July!


Thursday, June 28, 2012

3D Scanning Newsletter - Summer Edition

Our 3D scanning summer newsletter is full of great stories!

Scanning Bronze Sculptures for Museums: Recently Direct Dimensions worked with museum curators at The Walters Art Museum and The Johns Hopkins Mind/Brain Institute to 3D laser scan and 3D print several bronze sculpture replicas for the groundbreaking exhibit “Touch and the Enjoyment of Sculpture."

Facility Scanning: This story is a great example of how we used lasers to capture and 3D model a complicated MEP space within an aging historic building for renovation into new modern living spaces.

Reverse Engineering Aging Aircraft Components: Digitizing and reverse engineering aging Navy aircraft cargo door seals extends the life of the aircraft.

Laser Scanning Race Car Seat: Laser Scanning and 3D imaging this complex prototype is a perfect solution for manufacture.

Make sure to sign up for our 3D scanning newsletter to get the latest industry news and cast studies.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Free Sample Model - Trilobite Fossil

Using an extremely accurate structured light scanner, we were able to capture precise details of this trilobite fossil. You can download the sample model now!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Product Spotlight: The Surphaser HSX Laser Scanner

Known for its unsurpassed accuracy, speed, and ease-of-use, the Surphaser is ideal for rapidly capturing as-built objects of mid-range size including cars, planes, military vehicles, boats, monuments, rooms, buildings, and even people! Applications include reverse engineering, quality control, historical preservation, architecture documentation, and forensic reconstruction.

The Surphaser line of scanners incorporates an adaptable user interface to capture specific data areas. And the software exports accurate 3D data sets with little noise to any major post processing software applications such as PolyWorks, Geomagic, Rapidform, Rhino3D, or others.

Surphaser products are deployed worldwide, delivering unparalleled precision and value in 3D scanning. Direct Dimensions has performed many demonstration projects with this exciting new tool.

Read more about the Surphaser on our website and even download free sample data!


Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day: Tomb of the Unknowns

This morning, in commemoration of Memorial Day, President Obama laid a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns, a monument to American soldiers who have died in the service of their country without their remains being identified.

The ceremonial wreath is laid every Memorial Day and the Tomb attracts over four million visitors a year. Visitors to the monument will notice large cracks running horizontally through the tomb. First noticed in the 60's, the cracks sparked a still ongoing conversation about how to repair a national monument.

Direct Dimensions was asked to laser scan the Tomb of the Unknowns to document the existing damage to the monument.

The data can be used for documentation, preservation or even replication of the monument. Because of our 3D scanning, a digital record now exists of the Tomb of the Unknowns.

In addition to a digital record, the data can also be used to "repair" the cracks in a 3D model and then be used to create a perfect replication of the Tomb should that ever be necessary.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

3D Scanning and Imaging Helps Create Special Effects in Men in Black III

It's been a busy cinematic month at Direct Dimensions!

We've been out on location 3D scanning and modeling actors and props for some upcoming films, last week The Dictator (which we scanned and modeled some props for) opened, and this weekend Men in Black III opens.

We had a great time working on this movie and one of the main reasons why was that we were able to utilize the amazing skill sets of our digital modeling team. We scanned and imaged actors, costumes, props and major set pieces as well. It was a challenging and rewarding project and we can't wait to see the final results when the film opens tomorrow.

While we can't go into too much detail, we can say that many of our efforts can be seen in the below trailer:


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rapid 2012

This week we're at Rapid 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia and we're participating in several aspects of the conference.

You can visit us at Booth 312 where we are demonstrating the handheld F5 scanner and the ShapeShot 3D Face Scanning system.

Our president, Michael Raphael, gave a talk on the state of the 3D Imaging industry in which he discussed trends, demand factors and growth. Michael also serves as the chairperson for SME's 3D Imaging Tech Group.

If you weren't able to attend Rapid this year, you can follow us on Twitter, @dirdim, to catch updates and images from the conference.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Case Study: Bus 19 Memorial Scan

Laser Scanning and Digital Modeling Deliver Detailed 3D Models for Visualizations and More

On January 29th 2004, 11 people lost their lives and 50 were wounded in a suicide bombing on Egged Bus 19 in Jerusalem, Israel. Since that tragic incident, the remains of Bus 19 have travelled around the world as a reminder of the horrors of terrorism. First stopping at The Hague for the International Court of Justice hearing regarding the Israeli West Bank barrier, the wreckage was then brought to the United States where it toured among various cities, college campuses, synagogues and churches.

The wreckage ended its journey at Camp Shoresh in Adamstown, Maryland under the care of Adam Edelman and The Bus 19 Project. The Bus 19 Project is a group dedicated to preserving the bus remnants as a peace memorial. Mr. Edelman has been fundraising and raising awareness for his project whose stated mission is to design and build a memorial garden and education pavilion to remember the 11 individuals who lost their lives and to educate the public on the terrible effects of global terrorism. The planned education center will be open to students, EMTs, government agencies and other scheduled tour groups.

As part of the memorial project, Edelman came to Direct Dimensions in early 2010 to speak with Direct Dimensions’ president Michael Raphael about how 3D laser scanning and 3D imaging might be used as part of Bus 19’s educational mission. Of course, Michael and Direct Dimensions were excited to tackle such a unique 3D scan while also helping a worthy cause. Scanning the complicated remains of the bus, with its twisted metal and exposed wiring, proved a somber but exciting challenge.

More after the jump. .


Monday, May 7, 2012

Product Spotlight - F5 Handheld Scanner

The incredible new F5 Handheld scanner offers high-resolution, accurate 3D modeling of complete scenes in minutes and is capable of modeling scenes while in motion. All acquired data is accurate in space so there no need for a scale reference object.

The imager is light and small enough to be carried and operated even in remote, hard to access, and cluttered environments. Though small, it is ruggedized for use under demanding environmental conditions and excels at capturing completely dark scenes without emitting visible light or sound.

It is a fast 3D acquisition system that allows capturing and processing car-sized scenes in a few minutes, thereby, minimizing the time spent at the scene, with enough time left for the operator to verify the quality and completeness of the 3D models.

The F5 3D scanner does not require scene preparations of any kind (e.g. markers) and requires minimal user supervision during the creation of the 3D models, making it exceptionally easy to use.

Direct Dimensions Engineer Dominic Albanese quickly scans a large submarine propeller with the F5

Screen capture of 3D scan data taken during the propeller scan

Visit our website to learn more about the Mantis Vision F5 3D Scanner or contact Direct Dimensions if you any questions, 410-998-0880.


Monday, April 16, 2012

NEXTgen-M Speaker Line Up

If you are interested in rapid technologies and smart manufacturing then this is the event for you.

The first event of its kind in Baltimore, NEXTgen-M will bring together a diverse group to discuss the place of Rapid Technologies in the city's future. If you are a techie, educator, manufacturer, artist or anyone with an interest in 3D imaging, modeling or printing NEXTgen-M is the place to be April 27.

Still need more inducement to register? Check out this list of phenomenal speakers who are contributing their expertise to the event.

  • Dave Burns | President and COO of Ex One; nationally recognized additive manufacturing expert.
  • Aris Melissaratos | The Johns Hopkins University
  • Michael Weinberg | Public Knowledge
  • Jason Berns | Under Armour
  • Bryan Sivak | Chief Innovation Officer of the State of Maryland
  • Mark Schlein | P.E. Chief, US Army, Aberdeen Proving Ground Edgewood CBRNE Product Development Facility
  • Gino Gemignani | Whiting-Turner
  • Susan Ganz | Lion Brothers
  • Vincent Rossi & Adam Metallo | The Smithsonian Institution
  • John Danko | Danko Arlington
  • Jenny Regan | Key Tech
  • Dr. Stephen Rouse | Director, 3D Medical Applications Department at Walter Reed Army Medical Center
  • Drew Greenblatt | Marlin Steel
  • Jan Baum | Towson University
  • Michael Raphael | Direct Dimensions
  • Doug Kendzierski | Community College of Baltimore County

Register Now for NEXTgen-M!


Monday, April 9, 2012

SPAR 2012

Will you be at SPAR next week? We will!

Stop by the CMSC booth and say hello to Mike and Mike (Raphael and Agronin).

We're excited to get out there and see the great presentations (like this one from our friends at the Smithsonian) and demos and are looking forward to meeting with the usual suspects as well making new friends in the world of 3D.

If you can't get there then you can follow our conference updates on twitter, @dirdim.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Congrats to Sculptor Zachary Oxman

Our customer, Zachary Oxman, won a national commission to create a sculpture of Duke Ellington for the city of Washington, DC. After a 5 year process the sculpture was installed yesterday.

Mr. Oxman is known for his bronze art work as well as monumentally-sized stainless steel outdoor sculpture installations. His work can be found in many important collections, including the Permanent Collection of the Clinton Presidential Center.

Mr. Oxman, an artist who often leverages new cutting edge technologies, had previously worked with Direct Dimensions on a project which included maquette scanning for a monumental sized sculpture. In the case of the Duke Ellington sculpture, we worked with him on some structural dimensional design challenges that ultimately helped him finalize his sculpture for production.

Congrats on a beautiful piece!