Download Entire Article

Or continue reading below:

Job Shop Technology August 1996
Measurement Consulting Firm Goes for Olympic Bronze

Baltimore, MD - It's hard to believe, but a group of non-atheletic, middle-aged computer guys recently found themselves in Atlanta going for the bronze.

Direct Dimensions, a firm specializing in computer-assisted, three-dimensional measurements, was recently commissioned by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games to determine the structural integrity of a 25-foot-high statue that will stand in Olympic Park.

The Baltimore company was asked to measure a one-fifth scale bronze model and to provide precise dimensions and data.

The giant, welded sculpture is somewhat of a structural oddity. The overall shape is that of a human figure holding a ball. But a closer look reveals that the larger shape is formed by a complex linkage of many small human forms, each one distinct from all the others.

Making determinations about such a unique piece with old methods would have been haphazard at best. Decisions would have been based upon gross assumptions and hard calculations. Direct Dimensions used techniques it pioneered in three-dimensional computer measurement for data that was exponentially more accurate.

Michael Raphael, Direct Dimensions Vice President/Chief of Engineering, explained how his technical team accomplished the objectives. "We used a mechanical arm with articulating links and rotating joints," he said. "It's a lot like a human arm in that it has a full range of motion. With a probe at the end of this arm, we scan complex surfaces. The data are transmitted directly into a computer for design modifications or structural analysis."

The computer-generated image that Direct Dimensions provided was startling in its accuracy. The end product can be seen in the magnificent sculpture that now safely adorns Atlanta.

Direct Dimensions is a full-service measurement consulting firm offering computerized three-dimensional measuring, quality assurance and control, rapid reverse engineering, and manufacturing assistance.