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The Viability of Dense Photogrammetry as an AM Inspection Tool

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Additive manufacturing has evolved from a one-off prototyping tool into a commonplace manufacturing process. As such, AM parts require inspection for quality control, like any other manufactured part. AM parts are more likely to be highly complex (or why make them via AM?); therefore, inspection is more likely to require a comprehensive 3D scanning process, rather than a sparse-sample-point process like CMM inspection. 

Many commercially-available 3D scanning technologies are suitable for inspecting high-complexity AM parts, but they generally require a skilled operator, and the inspection process can be slow for a production workflow. 

Dense stereophotogrammetry creates 3D models from a series of overlapping 2D photographs. The process is used extensively to create complex 3D visualization models of cultural artifacts, monuments, and even movie assets for VFX. Direct Dimensions has been evolving the development and use of dense stereophotogrammetry for over 15 years to now include automated small part inspection. Early results show that the technology can achieve metrology-grade performance, at faster throughput and with less effort than can be achieved through other means. Case studies will be provided. 

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the basic concepts of metrology.
  • Understand the principles of dense stereophotogrammetry.
  • Understand how the metrology workflow can be automated.