Here are some terms that you may not be familiar with that appear on our site. From the explanations, you should have a better understanding about the work we do, the services we offer, and the type of equipment we use. If you have any further questions, please contact us.
As-built - a model which captures the exact physical shape of an object.
ASCII (or ASC) - a point cloud file in text format.
CAD - Computer Aided Design
CAI - Computer Aided Inspection
CAM - Computer Aided Manufacturing
CAM2 - Computer Aided Manufacturing Measurement
CMM - Coordinate Measuring Machine
Color Map - a graphical technique to visualize differences between the measured configuration of an object and its CAD model; dimensional differences are mapped onto the CAD model using a color spectrum to indicate location and magnitude. A reference key maps the deviations to values.
Coordinate System - an origin or reference point in 3D (XYZ) space for locating or orienting an object or CAD model.
Decimation - the process of reducing the size of a polygonal model file by decreasing triangle density, resolution, and quantity.
Design Intent - the intended design of an as-built object. Every manufactured part or object varies from its original intended design by some factor. Imperfections can be identified, analyzed, and corrected in reverse engineered models.
Digital Modeling - the process of creating a computer model of an object that exactly replicates the form of the object.
Digitize - the use of a 3D measurement system to capture features of an object. Typically digitizing is used for feature-based measurement of geometry and capturing contours using section cut techniques (as opposed to dense laser scanning).
Direct 3Dview (D3Dv) - a file format, provided by DDI, that offers anyone the ability to view full 3D interactive environments and objects, directly on the web, or in stand-alone format.
Dumb Solid - a solid body in a CAD model that cannot be modified.
DXF - Drawing Interchange File - a line file which can be used to create a 3D model (native AutoCAD format).
Geometric - standard shape features such as planes, lines, circles, cylinders, spheres, etc.
Highly Engineered Modeling - the process of reverse engineering an actual part into its CAD model with Design Intent using standard geometric features and form constraints.
Hybrid Model - a polygonal model that uses rapid surfacing and traditional solid modeling techniques. Used when basic geometric features merge with complex contours.
IGES - Initial Graphics Exchange Specification - a neutral format for exchanging CAD data between software programs.
Laser Scanning - Laser Scanning is the process of shining a structured laser line over the surface of an object in order to collect 3-dimensional data. The surface data is captured by a camera sensor mounted in the laser scanner which records accurate dense 3D points in space.
Line-of-Sight - the extent to which a laser scanner or other measurement device can capture 3D data from its vantage point. Only points which can be "seen" by the laser will be captured.
NURBS - Non-Uniform Rational B-Spline - a mathematical definition for a surface element used in CAD modeling.
Offset - a variation from a surface by a uniform distance.
Organic - features that reflect objects with complex nature; complex, non-geometric surfaces. Examples - a tree; a face; a blob.
Parametric - an object in a CAD model that can be modified simply by changing the parameters used to create it (e.g., dimensions, design constraints).
Point Cloud - the collection of points in 3D space resulting from scanning an object; represents the surface of the object.
Polygonal Model - a model of an object that is created by building triangles from the points in a point cloud; a faceted model of an object.
Portable CMM - A 6- or 7-axis portable articulating CMM arm used for 3D measurement, digitizing, and laser scanning.
Rapid Prototyping (RP) - an additive manufacturing process that creates a physical object directly from a CAD model by building it in layers.
Rapid Surfacing - a technique for creating a surface model of an object that involves wrapping surfaces over a polygonal model.
Replication Services - any service performed by Direct Dimensions which require the creation of physical objects from digital data (foam milling, rapid prototyping, machining, etc).
Reverse Engineering - the process of measuring and then creating a CAD model of an object that reflects how the object would be designed originally (Design Intent).
Solid Model - a CAD model that is defined by the volume of an object, not by its surfaces.
STEP - Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data - a neutral format for exchanging CAD data between software programs.
STL - Standard Tessellation Language - a polygonal model format that is used for rapid prototyping.
Surface Model - a CAD model of an object that is defined by its bounding surfaces.
Virtual Development - services performed by Direct Dimensions which involve creating models which will remain "virtual" in nature (web-based, animations, etc).
Water Tight - a surface model that has no gaps or holes between its surfaces.
WRL (VRML) - Virtual Reality Modeling Language - a polygonal file developed for various multimedia uses.
X_T - a parasolid file (a solid model native to Unigraphics).