Friday, December 27, 2013

3D Scanning Helps Preserve Naval History

3D scanning frequently takes us to amazing places to document incredible things. We're pretty passionate about recording the world in 3D and we'll often offer our scanning services when we see an interesting or important chance to document historical artifacts or to help someone. Some recent examples are sending a technician out to Alaska to digitize rare Inuit tribal masks as well as recently scanning an amputee to help create a robotic arm. Our location in Baltimore also frequently presents opportunities to scan important items and structures related to our nation's history.

Having learned from the local news about a major maintenance project underway for the famous USS Constellation and her equally historic cousin, the submarine USS Torsk, Direct Dimensions’ president Michael Raphael contacted the organizers and offered assistance with our 3D technologies. Why? Because it is interesting, because we can, and because we should gather as much 3D data as possible while these important artifacts exist.

The USS Constellation frigate was commissioned by the US Navy in 1855 and remained active for just over 100 years. During her active lifetime, she captured slave ships, carried famine relief supplies to Ireland, shuttled exhibits to France for the Exhibition of 1878, and served as a training vessel for sailors during World War I.

As the last remaining naval vessel afloat from the Civil War era, the USS Constellation was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1963 and moved to her permanent home docked in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. The ship is open daily for visits.The USS Torsk, meanwhile, is normally docked a pier over, and was launched in 1944 and decommissioned in 1968. Her claim to fame is that on August 14, 1945, she torpedoed and sunk the last enemy ship of World War II.

It is vitally important to maintain and study these unique national treasures. They will not last forever. Today’s 3D laser scanning technology can very quickly provide a comprehensive dimensional mapping of their unique designs for historical documentation and analysis. We can leave a record of these artifacts in 3D digital format for generations to come.

We were honored to help the Historic Ships in Baltimore organization with our newest and most advanced 3D scanning tools while the two ships were in drydock for repairs. While the organization was unfamiliar with the 3D technologies offered, they were blown away by the initial scan data and excited about the possibilities!

 Using the powerful combination of the FARO Photon laser scanner and the Surphaser HSX_IR laser scanner from Basis Software, Direct Dimensions' engineers Glenn Woodburn and Dan Haga captured huge areas of the historic ship hull surfaces in the form of millions of 3D data points. The 3D laser scanning process resembles the more traditional surveying process, which uses optical scopes to measure a distant target; except these scanners can make an incredibly dense 3D point cloud of the entire scene in just minutes. The Photon unit captures at a longer range while the Surphaser data is incredibly accurate with extremely high resolution. The combination of these two technologies provided a unique set of 3D scans allowing different types of analysis.
Between both scanners it took only fifty scans, each only about 10 minutes long, and both ships were fully captured. Following the onsite scanning, the engineers used PolyWorks software to rapidly align and merge the multiple 'point clouds' into a single coordinated file of each ship hull.

The final fully merged point cloud of the ships can be used in numerous ways. This essentially raw data can be used directly to obtain complex 3D measurements for any future maintenance or research. It could also be utilized to create a 3D walkthrough for educational purposes or an online museum version of the ship, and can even be used to create scaled versions of the ship which could be sold as souvenirs.

It is amazing how quickly we can now digitally document these massive historic structures, artifacts and monuments. Even if there is no immediate end use in mind for the data, it is important to create a digital historic record for the potential needs of future generations.


Friday, December 13, 2013

3D Scanning at the Movies: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty hits the theaters December 25th. Critics are already hailing the surreal fantasy and exciting action sequences in this story about an ordinary man who has an extraordinary adventure. At Direct Dimensions we were excited to play a part in bringing Walter Mitty's journey to the big screen.

Earlier this year we sent 3D scanning crews to New York and Iceland to help make The Secret Life if Walter Mitty a reality.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Project Snapshot: Scanning Dinosaur Bones at the Carnegie Museum

A few weeks ago we took a crew and several scanners (Surphaser, Faro ScanArm, Faro Focus and an Artec) and spent the day scanning the Dinos from the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh.

Using laser scanners to document museum pieces like these incredibly fragile and important bones is a great fit because the scanners do not have to touch the fossils in order to record data. 

The data collected from these scans could potentially be used for research, simply to document the fossils "as-is", to create an interactive exhibit, or even create exact mini replicas to sell in a giftshop.



Monday, December 9, 2013

Rapid 2014 Call for Speakers

Last day to submit technical papers for Rapid 2014!

From SME:
"3D printing is gaining greater attention! 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 scanning 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 2014 Speaker!

RAPID and SME/RTAM play a vital role defining additive manufacturing. RAPID is known worldwide as a must-attend event. RAPID 2014 is the place manufacturers and product designers come to learn the basics as well as explore the newest technologies and materials in additive manufacturing in combination with 3D scanning."

How to Submit an Abstract:
 Submit your presentation ideas by completing the Call for Speakers Form including a 100-200 word description of your topic. Please select the appropriate topics, related job functions, and experience level to help us find the appropriate place for your presentation in the program.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Direct Dimensions Collaborating on Bmore3D Store

Bmore3D Store: A 3D Printing & 3D Scanning Pop-up Store Opens in Baltimore 

The Bmore3D Store is located at 2150 Boston St. in Baltimore, Maryland
Web:  Phone: 443-963-9456  Email: 

Custom 3D Stuff, Tinkerine Studio 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 2150 Boston Street in the Canton neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland.  It opens in time for the holiday shopping season on Friday, November 29 and will remain open thru December.

Customers can shop a curated gallery of the most unique gifts in Baltimore, designed by Baltimore 3D artists.  Items include earrings, rings, necklaces, vases, 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 Ditto+ and Litto 3D printers from Tinkerine Studio will be on display in the store demonstrating 3D printing.  

The store also features ShapeShotTM, 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, 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.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Gettysburg Sesquicentennial: Free Model Download

November 19, 2013 marks the sesquicentennial anniversary of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.

At Direct Dimensions we've been fortunate enough to scan several Lincoln related items, including a plaster cast of his death mask. We have made a model of the mask available (for free download).

In 2008 Direct Dimensions also scanned the Volk Lincoln Life Mask. About that mask: The 1960 life casting was taken by sculptor Leonard Volk. It portrays Lincoln shortly before the outbreak of the American Civil War, and also before he had grown his iconic beard. Volk’s life mask was described by fellow sculptor Avard Fairbanks as “the most reliable document of the Lincoln face, and far more valuable than photographs, for it is the actual form.” According to a quote taken at the time of casting, “when [Lincoln] saw the final bust, he was quite pleased, declaring it ‘the animal himself.’”

You can read more about various Lincoln related projects on our website:
Volk Life Mask Scan
Scanning the Lincoln Memorial for Preservation
Animating Abraham Lincoln for the Movies


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Direct Dimensions is a Major Sponsor of Smithsonian's X 3D Conference

In 2008 Smithsonian Secretary G. Wayne Clough announced his plan to digitize the Smithsonian's holdings and share the collections online, dramatically expanding the institution's community and educational outreach.

The excitement generated by this announcement was palpable. Imagine what a digital representation of the Smithsonian could mean for educators or even just individuals who might not have the means to visit Washington, DC. Five years later we are about to see the first fruits of that plan.

On November 13th and 14th the Smithsonian will be holding the X 3D conference where they will unveil the first twenty digitized objects to the world.

From the Smithsonian:
Those objects will be unveiled in a new website and specially built app that will transform how the public can interact with Smithsonian content.

Press will see demonstrations of the 3-D scanners, printers and other devices that allow Smithsonian museum collections, scientific specimens and entire research sites to be digitally recorded, studied and shared in incredible detail.

Tomorrow is an exciting day for us at Direct Dimensions as we have been working with the Smithsonian on several projects related to this event. We also have the honor of being official sponsors of the conference (along with Autodesk, 3D Systems, and Faro Technologies).

The response for the conference was so overwhelming that it was quickly "sold out" but you can livestream the events on the 13th and 14th at the following link:


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

How We Spent Our Summer

If you follow our blog you may have noticed that we didn't post anything the second half of the summer. 

It was an incredibly busy time for us at Direct Dimensions. Our staff was criss-crossing the country to scan airplanes, buildings, historical artifacts, film sets and actors and attending conferences, leaving us little time to actually share news about what we were doing.

When we look back over our activities and projects it adds up to a really exciting couple of months. So in the spirit of those school essays we had to write every fall growing up - This is how we spent our summer:

1. Going to the Movies:
Some special effects scanning that we completed earlier in the year showed up in its final form this summer in The Smurfs 2 and Grown Ups 2. It's always fun to see our work on the big screen.

We also had staff working on-site at several locations for a few very exciting movies that are scheduled to come out next summer. Our engineers and technicians were absolutely blown away by the amazing sets, props and actors that we scanned.  We can't say much more than that yet, but make sure to check Direct Dimensions IMDB listing in the future to see all our upcoming projects.

2. Attended Our First Anime Con
This summer we took our ShapeShot system to Otakon (over 34,000 attendees!) where we scanned and printed 3D figurines of cosplayers. We scanned steampunkers, anime and manga characters and even Optimus Prime! These costumes are incredible and the people that create them are artists. It was such a great experience and we hope we get to do it again next summer.

3. Going to the Museum
Our summer was jam-packed with museum activities and projects. We scanned components for several major pieces for a few of our artist clients, scanned historical sculptures and artifacts held in museum collections and are actually part of an exhibit called "3D Revolution" created by Science Visualization.

4. Enrichment Activities
When we weren't traveling all over the country for scanning projects we were attending conferences to teach, learn and talk about about 3D scanning and printing. Major conferences attended included the 3D Printing Conference, Rapid 2013 and CMSC.

5. Gearing Up For Football Season
So we didn't attend summer football camp (actually, company President Michael Raphael did attend Ravens' training camp for a day)- but we did scan beloved Baltimore Raven Jonathan Ogden. Ogden was inducted into the Hall of Fame this year and we were excited and honored to digitally document him for posterity. Go Ravens!

Looking back we had a great summer and this fall and winter are also bringing more amazing projects, events and conferences that we are excited to share.


Monday, November 4, 2013

Michael's Latest Column: Laser Scanning Museum Sculpture for Three-Dimensional Research

Direct Dimensions' President and founder, Michael Raphael, is a regular contributor to LiDAR News. LiDAR News is a fantastic newsletter dedicated to all things 3D scanning and LiDAR. As an industry expert with over 20 years of experience, Michael regularly shares his thoughts on the state of 3D (scanning and printing) and also frequently discusses up and coming applications for 3D scanning.

From his latest piece :
Three-dimensional scanning technologies have been utilized in industry for over twenty years but are increasingly used in many other fields.  One of the exciting, perhaps unanticipated, uses of 3D measurement tools has been their adoption by museums for sculpture conservation, research, and interactive exhibits.
3D scanning is a perfect fit for documenting museum pieces.  Museums, for example, typically have pieces that cannot or should not be touched, yet present tremendous opportunity for study, documentation, interactive presentation, or for scaled or one-to-one reproductions.  The great news is that with a single 3D scan, all of the above can be achieved without direct physical contact with the original work of art.

Click here to continue reading  Laser Scanning Museum Sculpture for Three-Dimensional Research.


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

Trick or Treat! The treat's on us: enjoy a free skull mask model this Halloween.

Visit our Model Example Page to download our skull mask in various formats. Feel free to download the other example models too.

If you feel like showing us, we would love to know what you did with your model. Leave it in the comments or tweet us an image, @dirdim.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

3D Scanning for Museums

Last month the American Alliance of Museums held their annual conference in Baltimore and a popular topic was how 3D scanning and printing could be utilized by museums and educational institutions.

Of course Direct Dimensions was there (our ShapeShot face capture booth is part of the SuperScan exhibit by Science Visualization) along with lots of our local friends and colleagues to talk about 3D scanning and printing.

The Baltimore Sun wrote a great article about all of our local innovators and the various uses of  3D technology.

The article mentioned our scanning of important Matisse sculptures for the Baltimore Museum of Art and Direct Dimensions' own Michael Raphael was interviewed regarding the rapidly maturing 3D printing industry.

If you'd like to know more about 3D scanning for museums, you should read these additional case studies:
  • Please Touch The Art! - 3D scanning and printing allows museum goers the rare experience of handling Renaissance sculptures.
  • Reconstructing Caligula - Modern 3D technology virtually restores an ancient roman sculpture.
  • Scanning the Matisses -  3D scanning is utilized by the BMA for sculpture conservation, research, and interactive exhibits.


Friday, July 12, 2013

3D Scanning for Film: Grown Ups 2

At Direct Dimensions we continue to be deeply involved in our work for several major feature films.

We love working on VFX for motion pictures because our 17 plus years of experience in aerospace, automotive, and structural scanning, combined with our ShapeShot face and figure scanning, makes us uniquely suited to working on several aspects of VFX for a production. We are essentially a one-stop shop for 3D LiDAR, automotive, character, costume, set and prop scanning for films!

As much fun as we have working during production, it is always equally satisfying to see the finished product up on screen. Today one of our recent projects, Grown Ups 2, opens in theaters across the country.

We will definitely be at the movies tonight looking for our work on screen!

To see what other films we are working on, make sure to check out Direct Dimensions' IMDB page and take a look at our website to see examples of our work.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

In our eighteen years in business we've had the opportunity to scan many important historical artifacts, places, memorials, and buildings that would be fitting to discuss on July 4th. Perhaps most appropriate to share on Independence Day is the R. Charlton Coffeehouse in Colonial Williamsburg, VA.

The Coffeehouse was of significant historical importance, both to the city of Williamsburg and to the Revolution itself. Coffee houses of that time were known for more than their coffee, tea, and chocolate served to the colonials - they were also an important gathering place for political conversation. This activity made Charlton's coffee house one of Williamsburg's political ‘hotspots’ of the time - and therefor a likely spot for discussion and planning of the coming revolution. George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Francis Fauquier were often in attendance. In particular, Charlton's Coffeehouse served as the site of Williamsburg's Stamp Act Rebellion which culminated in a standoff between an angry mob and a stamp agent on the coffeehouse's front porch.

DDI worked with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to laser capture what remains of the coffee house’s stone foundation. Of the original structure, only part of the brick foundation and some wooden fragments are still intact. We scanned the exposed foundation and the earthen floor with our Surphaser HSX spherical scanner. This unique scanner captures extremely accurate and high resolution data over a medium-range (2-10 meters). The Surphaser is a non-contact laser scanner so none of the delicate centuries-old foundation was harmed during the data capture process.

The raw 3D ‘point cloud’ data gathered in Williamsburg was then digitally modeled back at the Direct Dimensions facility in Baltimore, Maryland. The final surface mesh model was used to analyze the archaeological features found at the site. The data was used to help plan the reconstruction of the Charlton coffee house, which was rebuilt and furnished in the style of an accurate 18th century structure.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Michael Raphael to be Featured Speaker at Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo

Next week DDI President Michael Raphael will be presenting at the Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo in Chicago. You can hear Michael from 4:15-5:45 on July 10. Keep reading below for a preview of his presentation.

The XYZs of 3D Scanning: Making Reality Digital 
Like 3D printing, the technology for 3D scanning has evolved dramatically over the past 20 years. Today there are dozens of different scanning technologies, scores of different scanning systems, and hundreds of amazing scanning applications. Scanning has become critical in the fields of aerospace, automotive, architecture, and for many other industrial applications. As the digital world continues to drive demand for 3D content, 3D scanning (also known as ‘reality capture’) will play an increasingly important role in the accurate documentation of historic artifacts and sites, monuments and sculpture, and even forensic investigations. Using a series of compelling case studies, this presentation will highlight the evolution, current capabilities, and future possibilities for realizing the potential of 3D scanning. Discussion will also include background and observations on the business of 3D scanning and clues to leveraging the explosion of 3D printing as well as other downstream design, analysis, and visualization demands.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Laser Scanning Historic Wooden Homes for Preservation

Recently our Preservation Specialist, Joe Nicoli, wrote a guest post for Baltimore Heritage about the work Direct Dimensions did on the "Two Sisters" historic wooden home in the Baltimore neighborhood of Fells Point. We're delighted to share that post here as well:

Over the winter, Bryan Blundell from Dell Corporation had approached Direct Dimensions with a project to completely laser scan the Two Sisters Houses in Fell’s Point. On a sunny afternoon in March, myself and another technician with Direct Dimensions took our laser scanning equipment down to Fell’s Point and in just 30 minutes created a perfectly accurate 3D digital model of the exterior of the property.

The Two Sisters
The Two Sisters are two of just a handful of remaining wooden houses in Baltimore’s Fell’s Point. These buildings were donated to the Preservation Society by the Dashiell-Marine family. The name, The Two Sisters, recognizes the efforts of the Dashiell sisters, Mary and Eleanor, to save these and other buildings in Fell’s Point. Since that time, the Society has worked steadily to develop a plan for the saving and utilization of these significant architectural examples of early life in Fell’s Point.

3D scanning is one of the many modern technologies that can be used to help reveal some of the secrets and stories that are part of these amazing structures. The scanning can provide a baseline documentation of the building’s current state, allowing the planning team to design necessary structural supports, and to also serve as a 3D, “as-built” blue print for documenting current conditions and future preservation efforts.

What is 3D scanning?

Laser scanning is the process of collecting millions of individual measurements using laser light. Think of a range finder. A laser beam leaves the scanner on a specific orientation and the time it takes to reflect off a surface and return to the scanner establishes the distance. This happens thousands of times per second. By moving the equipment to various positions and perspectives, an entire site can be “scanned” in 3D. Once the data is merged, the resulting “point cloud” can be used to create traditional drawings, 3D models, and virtual reconstructions & walkthroughs.

So far, Direct Dimensions has only scanned the exterior on Wolfe Street, and will complete the project with funds provided to The Preservation Society by an African American Heritage Preservation Program Grant from the Maryland Historical Trust. This initial scan effort is also valuable as an archived “3D snapshot”, a record of the state of the structure in the spring of 2013.

Make sure to visit Baltimore Heritage for more about preserving our fair city!


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Rapid2013: Visit Direct Dimensions at Booth 326 for your ShapeShot

This week we're at the Rapid2013 Conference and Exposition and 3D Imaging Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. Stop by booth 326 to get your ShapeShot!


Monday, June 10, 2013

Preview of "SuperScan" Travelling Exhibit

SuperScan: Digitizing the World, a traveling exhibit by Science Visualizations could be making its way to a museum near you in the near future.

Direct Dimensions is thrilled to be part of this incredible new exhibit. Check out  a sneak peek of SuperScan.

For more information on booking SuperScan contact
Krista Steele
P: 858.829.9420


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Video: As-Built BIM Models from 3D Scanning


Monday, April 22, 2013

Tis the Season: Conference Season

April showers might bring May flowers, but they also usher in the start of conference and event season for the 3D scanning and printing communities. This year we are already off to a busy start at Direct Dimensions!

Last week we attended the annual SPAR conference in Colorado where Direct Dimensions' President Michael Raphael gave a presentation entitled Crossing Over:  3D Scanning Smaller Scenes and Objects. The Forest and the Trees.  The discussion highlighted the set of tools, methods, and applications designed for ‘close-range’ 3D scanning and in particular their use as complimentary to the long-range scanning tools. If you didn't get a chance to see it, check by here in the next few weeks. We regularly post conference presentations to our YouTube and SlideShare channels.

Michael Raphael shows off 3D hologram created with the help of our ShapeShot facial capture system

This busy week finds us at 3 events in the New York and DC areas.

Monday and Tuesday you can find us at the Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo at the Javits Convention Center in New York City. Michael will be on a Lighting Talk Panel called Next Generation Market Makers at 4:45 on April 23.

Wednesday we'll be at the 3D/DC II event in Washington DC. This educational event allows you to experience the remarkable new 3D printing and scanning technologies in person.

To cap off a very busy two weeks, Mr. Raphael and our Preservation Specialist, Joseph Nicoli, will be be presenting a paper at the Association for Preservation Technology's annual symposium in DC (Friday April 26) on"3D Laser Scanning and Cultural Resource Management".

And those events were just for April! May contains the AAM Museum Show, June the Annual Rapid Show and 3D Imaging Conference and July has CMSC 2013. As usual we will be heavily involved with these events and we encourage you to attend them.


Saturday, April 6, 2013

ShapeShot at ECAN Cancer Dancer Gala

Feel like seeing yourself in 3D, dancing the night away and being charitable? Then we have good news for you: this evening you can have your ShapeShot taken at the Esophageal Cancer Action Network's Cancer Dancer Gala.

This annual event will feature dinner, dancing, a silent auction (in which you can bid on a ShapeShot sitting and ShapeShot product), and the chance to be immortalized in 3D! Gala attendees can have their ShapeShot taken and view their 3D selves by logging into our (private and password protected) 3D viewing gallery.

The ShapeShot system quickly captures your image in 3D - just like a snapshot.

 Once logged into their individual accounts attendees can also visit our ShapeShot Marketplace where they can order various products personalized with their own faces. We've even created an ECAN specific product, partial proceeds of which will be donated to the Esophageal Cancer Action Network.

Your mug on a mug: the ShapeShot face mug is just one of the items that can be bid on or purchased in our ShapeShot Marketplace
 This is a great event and we are very excited to be a part of it.

If you aren't attending the Cancer Dancer Gala but are interested in having your ShapeShot taken, please contact us,


Friday, April 5, 2013

Heads of the State

Back in February we posted about an amazing event we attended (in conjunction with RMI of Maryland and the Towson University Object Lab) where we had the opportunity to 3D face scan the Maryland Legislature with our ShapeShot system. We spent the day scanning over 200 elected officials and staff, making the Maryland Legislature the first in the nation to have their heads 3D scanned. 

As of Friday, March 29th they are also the first in the nation to be 3D printed! Last week, Mike Galiazzo of RMI presented the legislators with the 3D printed versions of their heads, created from our ShapeShot data.

According to RMI, "The goal was to get legislators involved in promoting the new "face" of manufacturing and to learn about 3D scanning, designing and printing" and this event has definitely gotten our lawmakers excited about 3D scanning and rapid manufacturing/3D printing in Maryland! 



Monday, March 11, 2013

3D Printing Continues to Grow 3D Scanning

3D Printing Continues to Grow 3D Scanning (or is it the other way around?) 

In this month's LiDAR news, Direct Dimensions' President Michael Raphael discusses the big news and changes in our industry:

The new year is starting out rather interesting as it relates to news and change in our 3D scanning industry.  We’re not even half way into March and it would not surprise me if we had more news about 3D scanning already this year than all of last year – which was already significantly more than the year prior.  What gives?  Why is 3D scanning making the headlines more often?  Certainly this is a good thing – more news means more interest and hopefully more business activity, which is what we all want for our 3D scanning world.  Let’s take a look at some of the more significant news items so far in this young year and see what is in common.

See this month's LiDAR news to read the rest of column. 


Friday, March 8, 2013

Scanning Snapshot: Surphaser Class Portrait

At Direct Dimensions we believe strongly in spreading the word about 3D scanning and imaging. For us this often takes the form of education. We often hold classes and demonstrations for college and high school students,  professional organizations, and sometimes even interested groups from the community.

The picture below is a "class picture" of a group of Towson University students taken with the Surphaser HSX Spherical Laser Scanner.


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Project Snapshot: Scanning a Monumental Historic Sculpture

Direct Dimensions' digital modelers scan the 18 foot tall monumental sculpture, The Genius of Connecticut.

See more of the incredible projects we've worked on in our 3D scanning and imaging portfolio.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

3D Imaging and Manufacturing Exhibited for Congressional Subcommittee

In the State of the Union Address President Obama singled out new technologies, specifically 3D imaging and 3D printing, as the future of American manufacturing. He highlighted the new Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Youngstown, Ohio and even called for 14 additional advanced manufacturing hubs as part of a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.

National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Youngstown, OH
Direct Dimensions (along with RMI of Maryland and Towson University's Objet Lab) has had a busy couple of weeks demonstrating these important new tools to both state and federal lawmakers.

Why is Rapid Manufacturing important to our nation's leaders? One word: JOBS!

With the continued loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States, the introduction of rapid technologies, such as 3D imaging and printing, offer a beacon of hope for manufacturers and job seekers. The strength of these technologies lies in their ability to create and manufacture specifically designed parts on demand, often in very small batches. This is the opposite of the mass manufacturing jobs that are being sent off-shore.

With a focus on customizable on-demand manufacturing, 3D imaging, design and printing are set to revolutionize the aerospace, medical and consumer products industries. The value of the 3D printing industry is estimated to reach $5.2 billion by 2020. Obviously our policy makers would love to see that value stay in the United States.

And that is where Direct Dimensions comes into the picture. With over 17 years experience using 3D scanning, imaging, and design in the aerospace, automotive, and consumer products industries (among others) we are in a unique position to explain these amazing rapid manufacturing technologies.

First we traveled to Annapolis, where over 250 elected officials and state staffers attended an all day educational event about 3D scanning, imaging and printing technologies. We also demonstrated our ShapeShot face scanning system, capturing almost 200 faces.

Staffers and Officials at MD Statehouse line up for their ShapeShots

Then we were invited by Congressman John Sarbanes to demonstrate these technologies to the House Energy and Commerce Sub-committee at a "Manufacturing Showcase".

Congressman Sarbanes gets his ShapeShot

 The attendees were excited to see these much discussed technologies in action. We were honored to be asked to demonstrate them.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Time Magazine Showcases ShapeShot

Time Magazine


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Go Ravens! Replicating Ray Lewis

Like the rest of Maryland, we currently have Raven Fever. With our team heading to Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans we are full of hometown pride!

Linebacker Ray Lewis, drafted in the Ravens inaugural year of 1996, will be retiring this year, playing his last game this weekend in New Orleans. A previous Super Bowl MVP, two-time defensive player of the year and thirteen time Pro-bowler, we Baltimoreans would love to be able to replicate Ray.

While we can't replicate him on the field, a few years ago Direct Dimensions did have the chance to create a digital double of Mr. Lewis.

Why did we scan Ray Lewis? We helped create a marble bust as an auction item for his annual charity auction event.

We used the Konica Minolta scanner to create this incredibly life-like sculpture of Ray, using 3D laser scanning to capture his exact shape.

The raw 3D data was modeled into a file that was suitable for 3D printing which was used to fabricate a plastic mold.

We then reverse molded this in marble, polished it, and mounted on a wood base. The bust was a hit at the auction and raised $7,000.00 for charity.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Project Snapshot: Scanning a Stradivarius

Direct Dimensions' modeler Michelle Craft uses a Faro Scan Arm to digitally document a Stradivarius Violin. Stay tuned for more on this exciting project.