Surface Mapping of Complex Aircraft Components Using CT

Period of Performance: 05/08/1998 - 02/08/1999


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

425 Lakeside Drive
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


The creation of digital design information for the manufacture of existing parts is a critical need for maintaining part inventories and to ensure the reliable operation of critical equipment. Such parts, which are frequently found in aging military aircraft, pose an important challenge to the Air Force's resupply operations. Current methods for obtaining the surface geometry of parts do not adequately capture complex geometries or provide sufficient accuracy. Computed tomography (CT) is an emerging tool for non-destructively obtaining geometric information for complex parts, and promises to alleviate the above difficulties.The proposed work will develop innovative new algorithms to obtain uniformly accurate surface information for complex aircraft components using CT. The new algoritms will focus on obtaining high accuracy for the location of fine features, such as thin walls, gaps, channels, and undercuts. CT scans of a sample part obtained from the Air Force will be usd to demonstrate that the new algorithms can be used for the fast generation of accurate computer aided design (CAD) models. These models can serve as input to computer aided manufacturing (CAM) software to produce toolpaths for computerized numeric control (CNC) machines.