In January of 2006 I went on a two week 3D scanning trip to Kuwait.  The purpose of the project was to capture 3D scan data of several truck cabs so that a US based manufacturer could create up-armor kits.  The kits had to fit to the cabs tightly.  

Before they found out they could use 3D scanning, the US based manufacturer would send a team over to capture the shape of the cabs using carboard templates.  They would use the cardboard to trace the shape of the cab, then bring back the cardboard cut outs and design the up-armor kits around the cardboard templates. 

Using the carboard template process, it took 2-3 weeks to fit the kits on the trucks.  Using 3D scanning, the fitting process took 3 days.


A composite image of Kuwait - out of my first hotel window.


I used a Konica-Minolta Vivid 9i 3D laser scanner in combination with photogrammetry.  The Vivid 9i could capture millions of 3D points to a very high tolerance of about 50 microns (0.002"). I used photogrammetry to maintain this accuracy over large relatively featureless areas because the Vivid 9i could detect the photogrammetry targets and use them to stich the scans together.

 Photogrammetry allowed us to scan the entire cab to a very high tolerance.  We were also able to use advanced techniques in 3D scanning combined with photogrammetry, such as digital assembly.  This is where pieces of the whole system are together when photogrammetry is completed, then removed and scanned seperately.  Assembly takes place digitally, this allows you to 3D scan behind objects that would normally occlude the view of the 3D scanner.  You can see some digital assembly in the picture below, where I was able to capture the seat, then the floor board under and behind the seat.

Once we had the scan complete we built a prototype of the armor out of wood.  In the picture below we checked the fit of the armor before heading back to US for final design and manufacturing of the up armor kit.

You can find the full case study on the 3DScanCo website.  

Some additional fun facts about Kuwait.  They have chicken big macs.

And camels on the side of the road.