The project is a massive undertaking, but once complete, it will dramatically speed up ship maintenance and replacement part fabrication. As some parts don’t have manufacturing blueprints or 3D CAD files available, these scans will not only serve as a reference library, but will also allow the navy to print components for ships like submarines or minehunters on demand.
The organization is using two types of handheld Artec scanners: the Artec Eva and the Spider 3D. The scanners work by projecting light in a grid pattern onto an object. It then calculates the distance from the scanner to multiple points on the object by looking at distortions in the projected pattern. These points are then used as coordinates to create a 3D model of the object.
“Using 3D scanning has saved us up to weeks of work,” Ben Jansen, CNC coordinator at Marinebedrijf Koninklijke Marine, said in a statement to Naval Technology. “Older processes were very intensive requiring multiple types of measuring tools and then replicating the drawing into a CAD program. Now, even when there is no 3D data or drawings of a part, we’re able to use an Artec 3D scanner to create a 3D image of the object, and the scan is used to reverse engineer the object. That part is then replicated using 3D printing techniques, 3-5 axis milling, or 3D welding.”
Artec 3D sees this project as a proof-of-concept for wider military applications, telling Naval Technology it envisions that ships in the future will have 3D scanners and printers on board to replace parts on the spot.
Andrei Vakulenko, chief business development officer at Artec 3D, says the benefits go beyond a quick turnaround. “When you build any large object, be it a military plane or ship,” he says, “the slight inaccuracies that occur during construction build up quite significantly, so the difference in the length of two ships of the same design could be several meters. So the only real way to know the exact size and shape of the ship would be to 3D scan it.”
It’s unclear how long it will take to 3D scan the entire Dutch fleet, and the technology is still admittedly limited. Creating durable parts with plastic is well-tested, but metal is newer territory. Earlier this year, Boeing announced it will begin using 3D-printed titanium parts in the construction of its 787 Dreamliner jet airliner. Around the same time, a company called Desktop Metal debuted a metal 3D printer for a steep price of $49,900. Still, the Dutch navy could find that being early adopters will serve them well, as they’ll have everything on hand as 3D printing advances. One hull, coming right up.
Original Article https://www.theverge.com/2017/10/1/16387528/royal-netherlands-navy-dutch-3d-scan-ships-artec