3D Modeling: Castle Edition, Kirkistown Castle Part 2

F3 is currently working diligently to model this Midieval – Gothic castle.  We have received the point cloud from our international partner in Ireland, Scadin.  The scans look great as they collected data of both the castle interior and exterior.  Scadin was able to collect photos as well using the integrated camera on the Leica C10.  With the help of Leica’s TruView application, we can model the castle accurately and efficiently.  There's nothing wrong with having a little extra data.

Overall point cloud capture collected by Scadin Surveys.

Overall point cloud capture collected by Scadin Surveys.

Interior section view collected using Leica C10 to colllect data.

Interior section view collected using Leica C10 to colllect data.

Leica TruView UI used to help in discern objects to be modeled in Revit

Leica TruView UI used to help in discern objects to be modeled in Revit

3D Modeling, 3D Printing, 3D Scanning, Rapid Prototyping

Bay Area firm leading the way in 3D printer technology

BENICIA, Calif. — 

BY: Claudine Wong

A Benicia company is getting attention across the world for its cutting edge approach to an industry that has long relied on more traditional methods.

F3 started as a land surveying company, but considers itself a leader in the field of industrial measurements.

Sean Finn, one of the company’s three founders, tells KTVU that his firm has been involved in several big projects including the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge.

"For example, we worked with the Bay Bridge when it was built and helped with the foundations,” he said. “And when a strip mall gets built, we tell them where all the curbs go and where all the buildings go."

But then a few years ago, F3 decided to try something new.

“Sometimes to win the game you have to change the rules a little bit," said Finn of the decision.

So the company decided to invest in a 3D printer to see how much more perspective they could give their clients.

Now they own four 3D printers, working around the clock, helping give their clients a look at their project in a way no one else can.

The response has been stronger than the company could have imagined with big name clients like Apple, Google, Shell and the Walt Disney Corporation lining up to work with F3.

Locally, F3 has also helped with the Hogan Dam and the Cal Memorial Stadium.

The projects have several layers, Finn said. Clients get traditional paper plans but then the project site gets a 3D scan.

What they get next is a 3D replica of the site. Most replicas have moveable parts so that everyone involved can take a look at the challenges in front of them in miniature.

Clients even get what F3 calls a 3D hardcopy. Those are 3D pieces that attach by magnet to the paper prints so models can be taken into the field.

On recent project Finn says those 3D models helped a refinery complete a project two days ahead of schedule and saved the refinery millions of dollars.

3D printing is not new but Finn says no one else in the world has used it like this. In fact in a recent industry conference in Las Vegas, F3 went up against 5,000 participants and companies from 30 different countries and walked away with two first place awards.

3D Printing - Wrench Wednesday Question

6/25/14 - It's Wrench Wednesday! The attached picture is an industrial 3D print of a refinery somewhere in the middle of America. It was printed it on our Stratasys Fortus 400 3D printer. The question is...How many hours did it take to print

Here's a hint...the print consists of 4 individual prints 8" x 8" and the time range was between 50hr's and 200hr's.

3D Printed Refinery

Land Surveying - SFO Runway Improvment Project

F3 & Associates is honored to be a part of the fast paced and high profile SFO runway improvement project.  The project kicked-off on 5/17/2014 and is scheduled to be completed on 8/9/2014.  Golden Gate Constructors will be working 20 hour days six days a week to hit the aggressive completions date.  Brad Thomas is managing the project from our San Francisco Bay Area offices in Benicia, Ca and Mike Reza is the Head Field Land Surveyor on site.  F3's Land Surveying services include construction staking, layout and as-builts

F3 Surveying Proposed Design


3D Modeling - BIMing in the Future

I would like to talk briefly about F3 and how it has come to embrace the rapid growth of BIM.   With the growth of BIM in the last few years, its benefits have become apparent in virtual design and construction (VDC) methods.  BIM has allowed for new innovative technologies to be implemented in the BIM process.  F3 has taken new technologies to effectively use them to find innovative solutions to countless challenges.  

As BIM strives to provide the most accurate information of the existing environment, 3D laser scanning perfectly complements the BIM concept by capturing the environment in point cloud form.  This has proven to be quite successful for preconstruction.  The 3D model from the point cloud serves as the foundation for adding the new design during BIM coordination meetings.  Also, F3 has the capability of providing 3D prints with our 3D printing services from our point cloud to 3D model workflow (patent pending).  This has been a successful tool for contractors and designers in planning and communicating effectively.  

F3 3D Modeling from Point Cloud Data


Now F3 ventures into implementing augmented reality into our workflow called Augmented Industrial (patent pending).  As far as its relation to BIM, this can be the bridge in allowing the end user to use all the plans and 3D models for facility management in a seamless environment.  With the advent of wearable mobile devices, various trades can walk the existing environment and view 3D models and plans in real time whether it’s for equipment replacement or maintenance checks. 

F3 Augmented Reality

Augmented Industrial

There is much excitement to look forward to in the AEC industry and will update about F3 as it grows with BIM.

BIM, 3D Modeling

3D Modeling: Castle Edition, Kirkistown Castle

F3 has teamed up with Scadin Surveys to 3D scan and model the Kirkistown Castle in Northern Ireland.  We always look forward to working on global projects and working with international partners.  This gives us the opportunity to work on a diverse range of projects, learn, and forge new friendships with international teams.  This is not quite Windsor Castle, but this being F3’s first castle project, we are extra excited. 

This castle was built in 1622 by Roland Savage and was occupied until 1731.  It is built in the style of late medieval tower-house tradition but was later remodeled in Gothic style in 1800 and later updated in 1836. 

The property grounds consists of a three-story tower in the center and a Barn.  The perimeter is enclosed by a mostly survived bawn with two corner turrets along it.    

Scadin Surveys will be surveying and collecting the scanning data, while F3 will provide a 3D model for historical preservation / heritage records using Revit.  The focus of the exercise will be to model the three-story tower’s interior and exterior architectural / structural features along with surrounding ground terrain.  The final model will be within 1/8” accuracy to the point cloud.

Look for updates as we begin modeling the Kirkistown Castle.

Kirkistown Castle in Northern Ireland

Kirkistown Castle in Northern Ireland

3D Scanning, 3D Modeling

Beyond 3D Scanning

The science of 3D scanning is applicable for a majority of projects going on in Northern California. An accuracy of 1/8" is generally good enough for most projects and F3 prides itself on being an industry leader in this area. However, F3 utilizes FARO's Vantage Laser Tracker when higher accuracy is required. This is the case with the project pictured below which is a tainter gate retrofit at the New Hogan Lake Dam. 

F3 was called upon to assist in the alignment of the gate trunnions for this project. The trunnions serve as the pivot point for the gate and any misalignment can cause stress in the arms. This stress can lead to steel yielding and ultimately failure. With the tracker's accuracy of 0.002", F3 is measuring the centerline of these trunnions to determine any discrepancies. When the downpours finally start, these gates will have no problem holding back the flood. 

3D Modeling, 3D Printing, 3D Scanning, BIM, Rapid Prototyping

3D Scanning Conference in Las Vegas

The F3 team had a blast in Vegas. We displayed our new "3D Hardcopies" to tremendous response and they took home 1st place in two categories. 

Our presentation was well received and as usual the attendees and Lecia staff were a blast to hang out with. F3 was fortunate enough to get a great deal of attention that lead to interviews and photo shoots. Check in for more post about this as the week goes on.......

3D Scanning - HDS Ripple Effect at HxGN Live 2014

Founded in 2004, surveying firm F3 & Associates has quickly grown to over 50 employees in the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California, featuring world-class clients such as Google, Shell Oil, Chevron, Apple and Walt Disney Corporation. F3 currently owns two Leica ScanStation C10 scanners and a full suite of Leica Geosystems point cloud software. Primary markets for the company’s surveying and scanning services include industrial plants and buildings/BIM. The day F3 & Associates bought its first scanner set in motion a process of exciting business evolution for the company that continues to this day. Not only has the technology led us to new types of customers in new geographic areas, but it has also led us to offering additional types of services that we had before never dreamed of. As a result, new departments were formed such as 3D CAD modeling and a complete BIM department. While looking for ways to offer clients added-value solutions in the BIM industry, F3 developed and patented a series of augmented reality (AR) applications based on scanning, surveying, and modeling. This has led to developments using Google Glass, for example. Shortly thereafter, a 3D scanning client posed an interesting challenge to F3, and the company responded by acquiring a 3D printer and creating a valuable, new way of presenting data. That investment in 3D printing in turn led to opportunities in metrology. A year later a reverse engineering and prototyping department was formed. Reverse engineering and metrology opportunities have since led the company to exciting opportunities in manufacturing and F3 now has a global presence in industrial manufacturing solutions. This presentation will discuss this exciting evolution – all triggered by getting into laser scanning - including the highs and lows of this process and what’s coming next.

3D Scanning/From the Field - International Projects- ATA Carnets

Do you know what an ATA Carnet is? If you have traveled in and out of the country for a project with 3D scanning equipment (or any high dollar equipment)... hopefully you know what it is..if not...OUCH! It can be painful and not fun at all!! If you are preparing for an international trip with your 3D scanning equipment, please read on and hopefully I can make it a little less stressful.

Export.gov is a good website for all your ATA Carnet questions.

An ATA Carnet is basically travel documents (think of a passport) for your 3D scanning gear to help you get in and out of country hassle free. There are only 3 companies that can issue ATA Carnets: Boomerang Carnets (www.atacarnet.com), Carnets Xpress (www.carnetsxpress.com), and The United States Council for International Business (uscib.org).

They are accepted in 80 countries and the cost is determined by numerous factors including the overall cost of your 3D scanning equipment.

Typical Processing cost

You will need to plan in advance for the issuing of your ATA Carnet (they do charge more for rush delivery) and they are only good for the dates of the trip and cannot be reused, although they can be re-issued.

The bottom line is do your homework in advance on this issue and start the process as soon as you have your project dates locked in.

I hope this info was or will be helpful for planning your next international 3D scanning project. If you have a question and/or comment on this topic, I would love to hear from you.

Until my next post,

Captain Birk Blogger

Feel free to contact me by email... bellis@f3-inc.com

3D Modeling - BIM - 3D Laser Scannning in BIM

The goal of BIM is to produce a highly accurate and information rich model, which is to be handed over to the end user.  Having an accurate BIM is especially crucial during preconstruction to prevent delays, waste, and produce accurate quantity takeoffs.  One method of working efficiently during the 3D coordination phase is to use 3D laser scanning as opposed to using as-built plans.  For renovations and tenant improvement projects this can be extremely beneficial. 

There are many cases when the as-built plans are not up to date with upgrades performed on the building.  Some most recent as-built plans are sometimes 50 years old.  3D laser scanning can alleviate this frustration by providing the most current and accurate information.  The only challenges with laser scanning is that the 3D laser scanner works based on line-of-site, and modeling from the scan data can take some time depending on the level of detail desired.  It is important that the scanning technician understand optimal placements for the scanner and to prioritize what needs to be modeled.

An example of the benefits of using 3D laser scanning in BIM is shown below.  

The image on the left displays the sprinkler line modeled based on point cloud data.  The image on the right displays the model created from the point cloud data (1) and the model based on as-built plans (2).

The image on the left displays the sprinkler line modeled based on point cloud data.  The image on the right displays the model created from the point cloud data (1) and the model based on as-built plans (2).

The fire protection contractor modeled existing sprinkler lines from as-built line to tie in the new design as seen in the second image labeled as 2.  However, when the plenum space was scanned, the data captured displayed that the as-built existing sprinkler line was off by a foot (indicated as 1).  This can impact a project tremendously when every inch needed is required such as in hospitals.

If BIM aims to produce an accurate model, then 3D laser scanning might just be the right tool to be used for tenant improvements and renovations. 

3D Scanning, 3D Modeling

3D Scanning - Wrench Wednesday Question on LinkedIn


 It’s “Wrench Wednesday”! Our recent 3D blogging efforts ( http://f3-inc.com/blog/ ) have gained a lot of attention so we thought we would form today’s question around our 3D Blog. For today’s question, how many points were collected in the 3D scan of the historic “Gig Nana”? The 3D Data was collected at the historic Legion of Honor; Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For hints and footage and follow F3 & Associates on LinkedIn and check out our 3D Blog so you can be first entry on Wednesdays.  

3D Scan of the historic Gig Nana: Data Captured at the Legion of Honor in the SF Bay Area

3D Scan of the historic Gig Nana: Data Captured at the Legion of Honor in the SF Bay Area

3D Scanning for Historic Preservation and Replica Creation

3D scanning for historic preservation is a huge industry. While F3's client base is more Industrial and energy based we do have a presence in this field. 

One project that the firm is very proud of is the "Seine River Gig Nana" replica project. 

Historic Picture of a River Boat

Historic Picture of a River Boat

Gig Nana at The Legion of Honor Museum - Of Patrick Bigand's collection

Gig Nana at The Legion of Honor Museum - Of Patrick Bigand's collection

Our client Mark Patton, approached us about performing 3D scanning and 3D CAD modeling to create a 1:1 plan set for fabrication. The task would prove challenging on Mark's part and ours. For starters Mark had to get permission from the owner in France, Patrick Bigand, which Mark successfully did. Then he had to get approval from the San Francisco Legion of Honor Museum where the boat resides. He was successful, but they only gave us a 4 1/2 hour window to perform the measurements. 

After all the permissions were out of the way, the team executed the 3D laser scan with perfection. We used two Leica ScanStatioin C10s and captured the data with time to spare, the point cloud data is displayed in the screenshot below. 

3D Point Cloud of the Gig Nana

3D Point Cloud of the Gig Nana

3D CAD rendering of the Gig Nana

3D CAD rendering of the Gig Nana

3D CAD rendering of the Gig Nana

3D CAD rendering of the Gig Nana

Sugar Pine (on the left) used for the Gig Nana replica

Sugar Pine (on the left) used for the Gig Nana replica

Cutting into lumber...

Cutting into lumber...

Lumber Staked...

Lumber Staked...

The video below shows the 3D scanning process in action:

Dear Sean Finn,
The life size plans arrived in good shape today.
They are beautiful and more than I hoped for.
Please let Mike and Eric know that I am very pleased with their product.
— Mark Patton

We thank Mark Patton for letting us be a small part of this project and look forward to the final results of the project. 

3D Modeling - BIM - The Big D's of BIM

With new technology rapidly being developed, Virtual Design & Construction (VDC) has become popular in the construction delivery process.  As a result, BIM has grown exponentially as the central database containing all the building information, from the visual aesthetics to material properties of building system elements.  However, the BIM process goes beyond VDC and the construction lifecycle.  BIM has become popular with end users because of the benefits that are achievable during the lifecycle of the building.  Ultimately, it promises the owner reduced costs, reduced waste, improved quality in construction, shorter construction timeline, and cost benefits in asset management of the building.  These can be summarized in 6 Dimensions of BIM, which was previously designed by VICO Software. 

2D Drawings:  The initial design consists of traditional 2D drawings laying out dimensions and quantities of building elements and components.

3D Models:  This translates the 2D drawings into 3D which is what we are all use to viewing in the real world.  Not only does it become a good communication tool, but also a good coordination tool for trade conflict resolution and spatial design. 

4D Scheduling:  4D integrates the time element, and helps keep track of what building systems and components are going to be built and installed, planning material locations on site, and installation sequencing.  Ultimately, waste can be reduced, prevent delays, and optimize construction field planning.

5D Cost:  Another way to lower costs and keep track of where it is going is to integrate cost in the 4D process.  If a recourse must be made, various scenarios can be analyzed and predict the cost of each one.  Also, there is software that creates material schedules during the 3D modeling process so accurate costs be developed.

6D Facilities Management:  This is when the model is being used as a central database containing all the asset information such as equipment models and room locations.  This eliminates shelves of binders.

BIM City by Autodesk

The challenge of BIM is industry wide adoption and implementing it correctly.  When implemented correctly, it can truly streamline a process from design to construction to facility management.  BIM allows for endless potential in having a sustainable built environment.   

3D Lunch and Learn with HerreroBoldt

The F3 team was fortunate enough to be invited to the Cathedral Hill Hospital project office in San Francisco. Sr. Project Manager Baris Lostuvali hosted us. While we went there to offer a presentation on our 3D workflows I think it was us that was the most impressed. 

The project office is like a command center, with collaboration and innovation around every corner. It is amazing to see how so many different disciplines from construction and engineering to owner representation can flow together so seamlessly. You get the feeling that a project of such complexity and of such large scale is in good hands with the HerreroBoldt team!

3D rendering of Cathedral Hill

The F3 team presented on 3D scanning, 3D printing, Augmented Reality, Metrology and manufacturing solutions. We had a great time bouncing ideas around the room of 35+ industrial professionals that live ahead of the curve. 

3D Industrial Printing example

3D scan Industrial example

3D scan - Augmented Reality example

Manufacturing from 3D data example


Thanks again to Baris, HerreroBoldt, Sutter Health and the Cathedral Hill team for having us!

3D Scanning/From the Field - International Projects- Logistics

One of the most important aspects of a successful 3D Scanning project, in addition to profitability, are the lessons learned. Logistics's can be one of these "valuable" lessons.  

It is important to know the "lay of the land" that you will be traveling to, through and that your project is in. As an example here are a few things to consider:

  • Communications; Do you have a plan that covers International calls?
  • Currency: Does your credit card charge additional fees for foreign conversion?
  • Shipment of 3D Laser Scanning gear: What is the excess baggage or shipping fees?
  • Travel documents:  Passports for your personnel and Carnets for your 3D Laser Scanning gear....

These are just some of the items that need to be considered with the Logistics of a 3D Laser Scanning project.

In my next blog I will talk extensively about Carnets and how they will make your life (travel in & out of country) much easier.....

Until my next post,

Captain Birk Blogger

Feel free to contact me by email... bellis@f3-inc.com.. I would love to hear from you!

3D Modeling - BIM: "OK Awesome"

A couple months ago, F3 acquired a pair of Google Glasses  and began a collaboration with Metaio (AR software solutions) to further our journey into augmented reality.  

The F3 Google Glass #Awesomenessness

The F3 Google Glass #Awesomenessness

We have been developing our Augmented Industrial (patent pending) workflow.  With a combination of F3’s extensive background in surveying, 3D laser scanning, and 3D modeling, we can overlay a 3D model in the built environment in real-time using mobile devices.  Our workflow consists of 3D laser scanning an as-built environment, 3D modeling the building features from the point cloud, and then implementing it in the augmented reality application.  We achieve high accuracy from surveying in the 3D model in the environment. 

This is tremendously beneficial in BIM.  Not only can it be used during the construction lifecycle, it can be used during facility management.  Basically, it can be used throughout the lifecycle of the building as long as the point clouds and 3D model are continually updated.  For the end user they can use it for site planning, equipment replacement, and maintenance checks to name a few possibilities.  

With Google Glass and other wearable smart devices, one can truly be immersed in the experience having their hands free to perform other activities.  In the example below, the pipes were scanned and 3D modeled.  After uploading it to the Google Glass, Metaio’s Mirage APK is initiated on their Junaio platform.  The result is what is seen on the Google Glass.  My comrade in the image is not aware that pipes are there.  This is pure 21st century magic.  

The View through the Google Glass   #magicvision #cyborgmode

The View through the Google Glass #magicvision #cyborgmode

This is just the beginning but there are limitless possibilities for the use of augmented reality in BIM.

For more information about Metaio, visit: http://creator.metaio.com/augmented-reality/