Three-Dimensional (3D) Scanning to 3D Printing Technology Development

Project ID: 8564
Principal Investigator: Mark Morberg
Research Topic: Condition Assessment
Funded Fiscal Years: 2015
Keywords: 3d scanning, 3d modeling, 3d printing, prototyping, aging infrastructure, fabrication

Research Question

Can the Bureau of Reclamation benefit from 3D Scanning to 3D Printing technology using a common workflow process? Areas in Reclamation where this technology development may have application is:

• Replicating and re-engineering aging infrastructure components and mechanical parts
• Fabricating physical scale models to utilize in the hydraulic laboratory environment
• Performing hydro-power diagnostic measurements and testing of installation components
• Developing physical scale models of existing infrastructure for planning and analysis
• Evaluating river restoration design elements for safety and liability purposes
• Digital and physical documentation of operation systems and facilities
• Visualization of physical scaled models of existing topographic terrains for planning

Precision Prototyping is a term referred to as the process of re-creating complex object geometries using a 3D solid modeling approach. Laser scanning tools to reverse engineer and replicate objects or a series of mechanical components is becoming a standard method for efficient fabrication. Various industries (automotive, cinematography, etc.) are harnessing new robust technologies to replicate or validate complex objects using a sophisticated workflow combining 3D laser scanning, numerical solid modeling, and 3D printing. In addition, new technologies to aid in precision prototyping have become more cost effective and durable in recent years. Reclamation can now benefit from these new technologies and efficient approaches within many engineering and science related departments/programs.

Need and Benefit

Currently there is a technology gap on effectively applying t3D precision prototyping (3D scanning to 3D Printing) workflow to engineering and science departments in the Bureau of Reclamation. This workflow could bridge important prototyping, fabrication, analysis and infrastructure assessment gaps that currently exist in the following areas: 1) Aging Infrastructure Assessment; 2) Hydro Power Diagnostics; 3) Hydraulic Laboratory Services; 4) Operational Planning; and 5) River Restoration Design. The use of a common workflow would increase efficiency, reduce costs, and provide consistency across the Bureau's regions and operation facilities.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

Development of a comprehensive 3D Scanning, 3D Modeling, and 3D Printing Workflow Report and Software/Hardware Technology Integration Recommendations Report.

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Last Updated: 4/4/17