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How to Reorient a 3D Scan Coordinate System in Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS

When I 3D scan a part and try to reverse engineer it in Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS, the first thing I do upon import is fix the parts orientation to the 3D Scan Coordinate System.

Many 3D scan parts are positioned at random and none-meaningful positions to the coordinate system, and I want to put them where I want them before I even start to reverse engineer.

Build reference geometry in Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS

The best way to orientate to the 3D Scan Coordinate System in Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS is to build some reference geometry. I can pick some obvious features that I want to designate as the center of the coordinate system. I’ll create an axis where these two holes are. Also, I can create a symmetry plane down the middle of the part, and finally a reference plane on the bottom of the piece.

These will constitute the directions for my new coordinate system that I’m going to create, but I need to tell the program where the center is going to be and where the origin will be. I want to create a point at the intersection of the symmetry plane and the axis, but I don’t need a special tool in the Geomagic toolbar. SOLIDWORKS already has this tool in the features toolbar, a pointed tool that will create a point at the intersection of these two pieces of reference geometry.

Choosing features to be center of the coordinate system

Choosing features to be center of the coordinate system

Orient to the 3D Scan Coordinate System

Next, I will go back to the Geomagic toolbar and use the Orient tool. This tool can be used with references from the mesh, but I think it makes more sense to use this reference geometry that I’ve created because it’s the only way to control where the origin will be. Now, I’ll say that the Y axis is going to go with the plane that I created on the bottom part. I’ll say that the X axis is controlled by the axis through the hole.

Choosing the primary reference

Now I have one more thing to decide. Which of these two is going to be the primary reference and which is going to be the secondary reference? What does that mean? Well, these two pieces of geometry are not at a perfect 90-degree angle to each other. They’re from a 3D scanned metal part that probably had some bend and warp and defects to it. But here, I want to define the X and Y axis, which are perpendicular to each other.

By clicking on one or the other and highlighting these fields in blue, I decide which one is going to be the primary and which one is going to be the secondary. Using weigh in on this coordinate system that we’re creating, you can perceive a slight shift in the location of the coordinate system we’re creating, depending on which one is highlighted. I’m going to stick with the axis as my major definition. And all the reference geometry that we created before is left behind. You could delete it, but I like to just hide it in case I need to re-import the part later.

directions for new coordinate systems

Directions for new coordinate systems

And from this point on, when I need to reference the nominal directions, I’ll use the front, top, and right planes of the SOLIDWORKS part when I go to reverse engineer.