SME 3D Scans Roberto Clemente Bridge

An engineer captures data of Pittsburgh's iconic steel Roberto Clemente Bridge using a Faro Technologies Focus3D Laser Scanner. The data will be used in creating 3D printed miniature replicas of the bridge. (Photo courtesy of SME) 

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) recently worked with FARO Technologies, Inc., Direct Dimensions, Inc., and the NextManufacturing Center at Carnegie Mellon University to take the first-ever 3D scan of the iconic steel Roberto Clemente Bridge in Pittsburgh. This scan will be used to create 3D-printed miniature replicas of the steel bridge, to be used as puzzle pieces at the RAPID + TCT 3D technology event May 9-11 in Pittsburgh.

“RAPID + TCT 2017 showcases the latest growth and advancements in the additive manufacturing and 3D printing industry,” said Maria Conrado, SME event manager, RAPID + TCT. “The manufacturing industry is important to Pittsburgh, and it is exciting that we are using additive technology to reproduce 3D models of a special landmark in this city.”

FARO Technologies conducted the complete scan of the bridge resulting in a 3D point cloud. Direct Dimensions will be converting the raw laser scan data into a 3D CAD model of the bridge. This digital model will then be in the proper format needed to make the 3D-printed physical models, which will be featured at the RAPID + TCT event in May.

“3D scanning technologies allow physical objects to be captured and transformed into 3D digital models with incredible detail,” said Michelle Edwards, applications engineering manager, FARO Technologies. “Scanning something as recognizable as the Roberto Clemente Bridge can spark many conversations. People have never seen this bridge as a 3D point cloud. Once they see that, they begin to question their own processes. That's how innovation happens.”

Sandra DeVincent Wolf, executive director of the NextManufacturing Center at Carnegie Mellon University, participated in the event and noted that it symbolizes both the region’s deep history in manufacturing and its current position as a hub for 3D printing and other advanced manufacturing technologies.

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