HandyScan lives up to its name testing both new and older parts

Cameron Sheppard, WAMIC research assistant, uses the Creaform HandyScan in the lab to capture relevant information from an industry partner’s prototype machine.

It looks like something a gamer would keep in their repertoire to edge out the competition in a hard-fought, virtual battle.

But while the Creaform HandyScan won’t help anyone rid the video game world of bad guys, it certainly gives Niagara College’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre (WAMIC) and its industry partners a leg up over others.

The HandyScan is much like its name suggests. It’s a handheld, metrology-grade 3D scanner that can be used in reverse engineering to accurately capture objects and use the data to generate CAD models and drawings that businesses can use to manufacture new parts and ensure equipment meets proper specifications.

That’s significant for businesses using equipment or parts for which no such drawings or paper trail exist, or who want to refine a design, noted Brock Husak, WAMIC lab technologist.

The WAMIC team has used HandyScan to help one client fine-tune its design of an automated basketball shooting aid used in player training. They also used scans to create CAD drawings to reflect the improvements for future manufacturing of the equipment.

“We have the expertise to use the tool, to understand it and conduct work for small businesses who don’t have the access to these machines or people who can use them. It’s quite powerful.”
– Brock Husak, Lab Technologist, WAMIC

“These parts may have complex geometry that cannot be measured with any kind of standard measuring devices,” Husak explained. “In a case like this, we would scan the part with the HandyScan, generate a 3D model with our in-house experts, and create CAD drawings … that become the deliverable to the customer.”

Additionally, HandyScan can be used to inspect newly manufactured parts and equipment to ensure there are no flaws or deviations from the CAD model. It can also inspect old or used parts to determine where they might be worn out and need repair.

It does this by generating a scan that looks similar to a heat map. The red areas on the scan signal problems or pain points for fixing. HandyScan is so precise, it can determine if a part is out of specification by as little as the thickness of a human hair, Husak explained.

 “In industry, you can waste a lot of time trying to come up with a solution to a problem,” he said. “We come in to speed up the process or de-risk it for (a customer). If you have a system out of specification, we can prove it and they can get it fixed.”

The HandyScan complements similar, albeit more cumbersome, scanning technology used by WAMIC called the FARO Edge. The convenience of the HandyScan is that it is small, portable and handheld, which enables WAMIC team members to go directly to a customer to do scanning work on site.

“We obviously have the expertise to use the tool, to understand it and conduct work for small businesses who don’t have the access to these machines or people who can use them,” Husak said. “It’s quite powerful.”