Here are some terms that you may not be familiar with that appear on our site. From the explanations, you should have a better understanding about the work we do, the services we offer, and the type of equipment we use. If you have any further questions, please contact us.

As-built - a model which captures the exact physical shape of an object.

ASCII (or ASC) - a point cloud file in text format.

CAD - Computer Aided Design

CAI - Computer Aided Inspection

CAM - Computer Aided Manufacturing

CAM2 - Computer Aided Manufacturing Measurement

CMM - Coordinate Measuring Machine

Color Map - a graphical technique to visualize differences between the measured configuration of an object and its CAD model; dimensional differences are mapped onto the CAD model using a color spectrum to indicate location and magnitude. A reference key maps the deviations to values.

Coordinate System - an origin or reference point in 3D (XYZ) space for locating or orienting an object or CAD model.

Decimation - the process of reducing the size of a polygonal model file by decreasing triangle density, resolution, and quantity.

Design Intent - the intended design of an as-built object. Every manufactured part or object varies from its original intended design by some factor. Imperfections can be identified, analyzed, and corrected in reverse engineered models.

Digital Modeling - the process of creating a computer model of an object that exactly replicates the form of the object.

Digitize - the use of a 3D measurement system to capture features of an object. Typically digitizing is used for feature-based measurement of geometry and capturing contours using section cut techniques (as opposed to dense laser scanning).

Direct 3Dview (D3Dv) - a file format, provided by DDI, that offers anyone the ability to view full 3D interactive environments and objects, directly on the web, or in stand-alone format.

Dumb Solid - a solid body in a CAD model that cannot be modified.

DXF - Drawing Interchange File - a line file which can be used to create a 3D model (native AutoCAD format).

Geometric - standard shape features such as planes, lines, circles, cylinders, spheres, etc.

Highly Engineered Modeling - the process of reverse engineering an actual part into its CAD model with Design Intent using standard geometric features and form constraints.

Hybrid Model - a polygonal model that uses rapid surfacing and traditional solid modeling techniques. Used when basic geometric features merge with complex contours.

IGES - Initial Graphics Exchange Specification - a neutral format for exchanging CAD data between software programs.

Laser Scanning - Laser Scanning is the process of shining a structured laser line over the surface of an object in order to collect 3-dimensional data. The surface data is captured by a camera sensor mounted in the laser scanner which records accurate dense 3D points in space.

Line-of-Sight - the extent to which a laser scanner or other measurement device can capture 3D data from its vantage point. Only points which can be "seen" by the laser will be captured.

NURBS - Non-Uniform Rational B-Spline - a mathematical definition for a surface element used in CAD modeling.

Offset - a variation from a surface by a uniform distance.

Organic - features that reflect objects with complex nature; complex, non-geometric surfaces. Examples - a tree; a face; a blob.

Parametric - an object in a CAD model that can be modified simply by changing the parameters used to create it (e.g., dimensions, design constraints).

Point Cloud - the collection of points in 3D space resulting from scanning an object; represents the surface of the object.

Polygonal Model - a model of an object that is created by building triangles from the points in a point cloud; a faceted model of an object.

Portable CMM - A 6- or 7-axis portable articulating CMM arm used for 3D measurement, digitizing, and laser scanning.

Rapid Prototyping (RP) - an additive manufacturing process that creates a physical object directly from a CAD model by building it in layers.

Rapid Surfacing - a technique for creating a surface model of an object that involves wrapping surfaces over a polygonal model.

Replication Services - any service performed by Direct Dimensions which require the creation of physical objects from digital data (foam milling, rapid prototyping, machining, etc).

Reverse Engineering - the process of measuring and then creating a CAD model of an object that reflects how the object would be designed originally (Design Intent).

Solid Model - a CAD model that is defined by the volume of an object, not by its surfaces.

STEP - Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data - a neutral format for exchanging CAD data between software programs.

STL - Standard Tessellation Language - a polygonal model format that is used for rapid prototyping.

Surface Model - a CAD model of an object that is defined by its bounding surfaces.

Virtual Development - services performed by Direct Dimensions which involve creating models which will remain "virtual" in nature (web-based, animations, etc).

Water Tight - a surface model that has no gaps or holes between its surfaces.

WRL (VRML) - Virtual Reality Modeling Language - a polygonal file developed for various multimedia uses.

X_T - a parasolid file (a solid model native to Unigraphics).