Their challenge was to overcome the disconnect between 3D scanning and CAD.
As part of their design work, the team at European Active Projects often has to measure sites ahead of creating designs – something that Ben Ayling, CAD Designer at EAPL, had to do by hand. Though this wasn’t a big problem when working on small-scale projects, working on larger sites made measuring by hand both impractical and difficult.
To solve the challenge, Ben and the team EAPL looked into 3D scanning technology to gain accurate measurements of sites. They invested in FARO scanners, but then encountered another challenge – how to work with the point cloud files generated by the scanners, in SOLIDWORKS. For their first project, EAPL came to us to convert the point clouds into mesh models so that Ben and the team could work within SOLIDWORKS.
How do you import large point cloud data into SOLIDWORKS?
We then suggested a new way to solve the challenge – a SOLIDWORKS plug- in from point cloud experts Veesus. The plug-in enables CAD designers to work with point clouds of any size natively within SOLIDWORKS, with no need for meshing or other workarounds.
“We’d looked at one or two other solutions, but none of them enabled us to work with point cloud data natively in SOLIDWORKS – they all needed to convert point clouds into meshes first, so what Veesus was offering was really exciting,” Ben explains.
After meeting with Veesus and seeing the solution, Ben and the team decided to sign up to trial the beta version of the plug-in. From their very first trial, Ben was impressed. They uploaded a 2-mile wide scan of Ramsgate Harbour, in order to plan new buildings on the site, and were instantly able to navigate through the entire scan, including the dockside, ships in the harbour, and the buildings around it. The plug-in gives the user full manipulation of the point cloud, including the ability to clip portions out – which Ben found especially useful.
Looking to the future, Ben is keen to see the Veesus plug-in used on more projects. As well as the time-saving benefits and the added accuracy that comes from using point clouds, being able to leverage 3D scan data will help EAPL increase safety when scanning sites. The team often measures sites such as quarries while they are still operational, which presents a safety risk to those doing the measuring.