Introducing the TrackScan-P42

Handheld 3D scanners offer numerous benefits. The freedom to move around an object from different angles opens up possibilities in terms of scale, complexity, and environment. However, true metrology-grade 3D scanning is often beyond the limits of most handheld solutions, as operator movement can reduce accuracy.

With the TrackScan-P42, 3D scanning expert Scantech has delivered a handheld product that achieves metrology-grade capture without markers — a feature that enables the scanning of fragile, remote, and non-markable objects — as well as the ability to scan medium- and large-scale objects that would be beyond the scope of most handheld devices.

The Scantech T-Probe, a portable CMM probe (left) and the TrackScan P-42 portable metrology 3D scanner (left). Source: Scantech

The scanner is served by an onboard optical tracking system, adaptable scanning modes, and seamless integration with the company’s portable T-Probe (portable CMM). Furthermore, it can be used in conjunction with Scantech’s AutoScan-T42 automation system, which uses a robotic arm to facilitate automated part inspection on the shop floor.

Made from robust metal and featuring a distinctive hemispherical frame, the Scantech TrackScan is lightweight and ergonomic, causing minimal wrist fatigue. The scanner has an accuracy of 0.025 mm, can capture 1.9 million measurements per second, and has a wide scanning range suitable for parts up to six meters in length.

It can also be deployed in different modes: rapid scanning is achieved with 17 blue laser crosses, fine-detail scanning uses seven parallel lines, and deep-hole scanning uses a single laser line. When paired with the CMM T-Probe, the TrackScan-P42 can also more effectively capture holes, gaps, and complex surfaces.

The TrackScan-P42 casting laser crosses to capture surfaces in 3D. Source: Scantech

Other benefits of the TrackScan-P42 include a strong anti-interference capability, making it resistant to disturbances from the environment, vibrations, and thermal variations. It is also capable of scanning difficult surfaces — reflective materials, for example — and its measuring range can be dynamically extended in order to measure large-scale objects.

It is possible to 3D scan an entire airplane with the Scantech TrackScan-P42. Source: Scantech

All of this makes the portable scanning device suitable for a range of industries and applications. In manufacturing, for example, the TrackScan-P42 can be used for machinery design and optimization, as well as quality control, assembly analysis, and reverse engineering. It can also scan automotive and aerospace parts, archaeological sites, and more.

Industrial inspection at high speed

One of the foremost uses of the Scantech TrackScan-P42 is industrial inspection — whether it is used alone or in conjunction with the CMM T-Probe or AutoScan-T42 automation system. With its high level of accuracy and versatility, the TrackScan is capable of meeting strict industrial standards and delivering reliable results.

Evidence of this capability has been displayed at a well-known construction equipment manufacturer in eastern China, where the TrackScan-P42 is currently being used for part inspection. In a recent use case for the scanner, the company deployed the device to inspect the mounting holes of an excavator chassis measuring more than three meters in length. In addition to its size, the chassis had a complex shape (see image below) which would have been difficult to scan with most metrology devices.

The aforementioned excavator chassis. Source: Scantech

Furthermore, the shape and position of the mounting holes had to be measured with a high level of accuracy. In order to assist with the complex scanning operation, Scantech created a custom solution for the company, putting the TrackScan-P42 at the center of its plans. The machine’s portability, ability to scan without markers, and hole-scanning capabilities (with both the single laser line and CMM) made it ideally equipped for the task of scanning the excavator chassis.

“It is quite demanding to inspect mechanical parts, as we have to do it in a laboratory with temperature and humidity controls, and we have to follow complex operating steps,” explained the quality assurance manager at the company. “The intuitive workflow provided by Scantech helps to make the inspection as easy as taking a video.”

Precise measurements were obtained for each of the part’s main features. Source: Scantech

Scantech engineers helped with the chassis inspection, combining the TrackScan with the MSCAN L15 photogrammetry system to increase the level of volumetric accuracy. All captured data was processed, visualized, and analyzed using Scantech’s ScanViewer software, resulting in an accurate part inspection report completed in just 30 minutes. An automated 3D inspection workflow can be established using the AutoScan-T42.

Another industrial Scantech customer, a supplier of automotive sheet metal stamping parts, uses the automated scanning system to analyze the surface deviation, hole diameter, hole position, hole-to-hole distance, boundary, and gauge of no fewer than 782 different types of stamped parts. The setup has improved efficiency on the factory floor and greatly reduced inspection costs.

The video below explains how such a system works:

Making history

Another high-value application of the Scantech TrackScan-P42 is the capture of historical discoveries at archeological sites. Since the device is portable, suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, and capable of scanning unusual textures and deep crevices with its different scanning modes, it can effectively capture fossils and manmade historical artifacts.

Source: Scantech

The ability of the scanner to precisely scan fossils in an outdoor environment was recently demonstrated when the skeleton of a juvenile dinosaur from the early Jurassic period (around 190 million years ago) was discovered in Lufeng in China’s Yunnan province — an area known for its abundance of dinosaur remains. The TrackScan-P42 was used to precisely capture the fossilized remains of the eight-meter-long creature, and the 3D scan data was then turned into a 3D printable model.

The fossilized dinosaur remains — discovered by chance after a period of heavy rain disturbed the ground under which they were lying — had to be scanned at the site of their discovery, which posed a challenge: not only did the bright outdoor sunlight make it harder to use lasers, it was not possible to move or add physical markers to the fossils due to their fragility and historical significance. Fortunately, the TrackScan is equipped to meet such challenges head-on, and captured the young Lufengosaurus with an accuracy of 0.025 mm without requiring any physical contact or adjustment of lighting conditions.

Part of the Lufengosaurus’ remains. Source: Scantech

Once some missing bones were filled in using scans of another Lufengosaurus, the scan data was converted into a digital 3D model, which was then 3D printed using resin 3D printing technology to create a stunning 1:1 scale model of the dinosaur. Thanks to the precision and accuracy of the TrackScan-P42, the model displayed the true textures and imperfections of the fossils.

A resin 3D print of the dinosaur skull fossil. Source: Scantech

A 3D scanner to keep track of

From the factory floor to the great outdoors, the Scantech TrackScan-P42 has the features, performance capability, and flexibility to achieve metrology-grade scanning in a range of professional situations. Few products in its price bracket can match its quality or breadth of features.