3DExpress tutorial: Acquire your first RangeMap

3DExpress version used: 13.1.1
Last revision: 05 February 2013

This tutorial will guide you through the process of configuring your 3DExpress software from the beginning until the obtaining of your first RangeMap.

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Prologue - Configure the GenICam devices

If a GenICam camera has to be used, a previous configuration step must be accomplished. As 3DExpress uses Common Vision Blox to handle GenICam devices, first of all, the Common Vision Blox Management Console have to be opened. This manual will not cover the insights of its configuration but, for our purpose, we will look into "GenICam > Device Configurator" where the available cameras are listed with its corresponding CamPort number.

Common Vision Blox Management Console with a Photonfocus camera connected at the Port 0 and an Automation Technology Camera at Port 1

Step 1 - Choosing the camera

When you open 3DExpress you will obtain a window like:

3DExpress main window

The first think to do is to configure a new input. This is done in the menu Configure > New Input. This will open a wizard like:

3DExpress pop-up wizard where the camera type can be choosen.

where several camera types can be chosen. For this guide, we will use a 2D camera because it is the option where more configuration steps are needed. By choosing a generic 3D camera, a Photonfocus camera or an Automation Technology one, some of the below steps would be skipped and, thus, the process easier.

Step 2 - Configuring the driver

Next step is choosing the appropriate driver. Here again, several options are available:

  • Grab from file: Used to simulate a camera by obtaining the image from a disk file.
  • SAL3D Frame Grabber: For Camera Link cameras connected to one of SAL3D supported Frame Grabbers.
  • Silicon Software microEnable III/IV Frame Grabber: For Camera Link cameras connected to Silicon Software microEnable III or IV Frame Grabbers.
  • Common Vision Blox Genicam: For Genicam cameras (Common Vision Bloc software required)

If Common Vision Blox Genicam is selected, a screen like this one will be shown:

Configuration of a Genicam camera where a camera have to be choosen

where a camera have to be choosen. Here we will use the camera number that we had configured in the Common Vision Blox Management Console, as seen in the "Prologue".

However, for this guide, we will use the generic SAL3D Frame Grabber which allow a higher degree of configuration. Three fields are provided:

  • Note: The SAL3D Frame Grabber is the option to be used when the user want a higher degree of customization or when not using one of the other available options: GenICam, Silicon Software microEnable III/IV and File grabber.

    It is important to note that GenICam, Silicon Software microEnable and File Grabber can also be configured through "SAL3D Frame Grabber", choosing the corresponding driver type and FGD file and, by doing so, more options can be adjusted.

    Driver Type: The kind of driver to be used. Usually the required option is the generic driver.
  • FGD Path: The default path is <Program Files>/AQSENSE/3DExpress (It may be different if you choose a different location) Several .fgd files are available with self explanatory names. For a complete list of SAL3D supported FrameGrabbers please refer to the supported Frame Grabbers documentation Opens in new window
  • FGD Config: Each supported Frame Grabber has specific configuration params available. Please refer to the supported Frame Grabbers documentation Opens in new window for more information.

Step 3 - Configure the Laser Stripe Detector

At this point, 3DExpress will ask you if you want to start graving. We'll click yes so that we can configure the laser stripe detection by using a live image.

Configuration of the Laser Stripe Detector. The screen shows a detected laser line and the options to adjust the threshold and regions of interest

The Laser Stripe Detector screen will show the camera live image with the detected maximum intensity point of the laser. Note that you can zoom the image by means of the mouse wheel. If the laser is not properly detected you may have to adjust the threshold or the Region of Interest (ROI)

3DExpress also provides a free trial license of AQSENSE Peak Detector which provides enhanced laser detection.

Step 4 - Configure the RangeMap acquisiton

A RangeMap is a set of ordered profiles accumulated. So, in order to generate a RangeMap, the limits to this storage must be defined.

RangeMap configuration step in the 3DExpress wizard

The RangeMap configuration step allows us to determine several limits to the RangeMap acquisition:

  • Frame timeout: After a defined timeout, the RangeMap is finished and the next one starts to be accumulated.
  • Max. profiles: After a defined number of accumulated profiles, the RangeMap is finished and the next RangeMap starts to be generated.
  • Note: Please note that the Presence/Absence is used together with the other limit conditions (timeout and profiles limit). So, in case the user is interested to only use the presence/absence detection, the user should assure that the other two values are big enough.

    Presence/absence of the object (Laser detection top, bottom and minpoints): The user can define conditions to stop accumulating a rangemap when there is no object under the laser line. For this purpose, a minimum of detected points on each profile can be set (minpoints). When this value is greater than 0, a rangemap is started when a profile with more than "minpoints" is detected and the rangemap is finished when a profile withe less detected points than "minpoints" is scanned. Moreover, a smaller rangemap than the ROI can be defined to discard points always present on the image. This is done by means of Laser detection top and bottom.

Step 5 - Configure the output RangeMap

As the RangeMap is the accumulation of profiles coming from the camera without the calibration, we can skip the last wizard step, the Metric Calibration. We just have to configure the RangeMap as an output of the system. To do it, we will have to add a new output by clicking the "Add output..." option at the left.

Output selection

The output screen will allow us to chose among all the available outputs. We will chose rangemap and Ok to finish the wizard.

Step 6 - Showing the RangeMap

Once we have the system configured, we can start graving objects and showing RangeMaps. To start capturing we have to turn the state of the input (the camera) into play mode (green triangle). So, if the state of the camera is "stop" (red square) we will double click it and turn it into "play".

Now the system is acquiring data from the camera-laser system. If a piece is being scanned under the laser line, we will see, on the input line, the frames per second (FPS) of the acquisition and, in the output line, the rangemaps being generated. To see them, we just have to double-click the Output (here RangeMap) and the viewer will be opened showing a window like:

RangeMap viewer

Again, by using the mouse wheel we can adjust the zoom and, if close enough, the RangeMap values are shown inside of the pixels:

Detail of the RangeMap viewer with zoom where the values are shown