3D Printing

Is digital photography the future of small-scale manufacturing?

By Pamela Krewson Wertz, for Phys.org

Sep 20, 2016

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What if it were possible to quickly and inexpensively manufacture a part simply by using a series of close-range digital images taken of the object?

Michael Immel, instructor in the Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, originally started thinking about the technique, called photogrammetry, for a different purpose, but quickly realized its application in manufacturing.

In this technique, digital images of an object that have been taken at various angles are used to create a point cloud—or a large collection of points used to create 3-D representation of existing structures—from which a computer-aided design (CAD) file can be generated.

The resulting CAD file and subsequent 3-D model could then be used to rebuild the part, or 3-D print it, to its original specifications without using traditional methods, which are both expensive and time-consuming.

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