3D confocal microscope enables precision measurement of 3D printed parts

Learn about SweptVue, microscope adapter vision system that utilizes a USB 3.0 camera and digital light projecting to enable the measurement of micrometer-scale features of parts manufactured by a 3D printer.

Content Dam Vsd En Articles 2015 06 3d Confocal Microscope Enables Precision Measurement Of 3d Printed Parts Leftcolumn Article Thumbnailimage File

Swept Image has developed a microscope adapter vision system called the SweptVue that uses a USB 3.0 camera and a digital light projector to enable the measurement of micrometer-scale features of parts manufactured by a 3D printer.

For engineers looking to use 3D printers for rapid prototyping, the parts being printed must be verified as accurate, precise, and within specification. While such techniques as scanning electron microscopes (SEMs), confocal scanning laser microscopes (CSLMs) or optical profilometers could all enable the surface topography of parts to be characterized, a company called Swept Image has developed a microscope adapter called the SweptVue system that enables engineers and scientists to measure micron-scale objects with confidence.

The system is an adapter that replaces the observation tube of an Olympus SZX7 stereo microscope, transforming it into a digital line scanning confocal measurement system. The system uses one of the microscope’s two independent and parallel optical pathways to illuminate a part with light from a digital light projector from Texas Instruments. The other optical pathway channels scatters light onto a Sony IMX035 CMOS image sensor in a Flea3 industrial camera from Point Grey. The 1/3" 1.3 MPixel IMX035 sensor features a 3.63 µm pixel size and achieves frame rates up to 120 fps via a USB3 interface

By using separate light and detection pathways in the stereo microscope, the SweptVue creates an optical triangulation system for measuring depth. Light is captured from the sample at different depths by synchronizing the time at which the light is projected across the sample with the position of the rolling shutter in the camera, which is controlled by varying the start of a frame exposure.

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