3D Scanning a Roller Coaster

Roller coaster installation and maintenance is serious business. Borrowing from The Perfectionists tolerances are tight especially when you take into account the speed of travel and the forces involved.

For the past 35 years, Dr. Masoud Sanayei, a Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Tufts University, has conducted research on structural health monitoring of bridges and other structures. By using instruments such as strain gauges, accelerometers, tiltmeters, thermocouples, optical sensors, and various data acquisition systems, he is able to collect, measure, and process information that enables him to comprehensively evaluate the condition of these structures.

In order to perform his finite element analysis on the roller coaster Dr. Sanayei needed a detailed 3D model of the structure. Since the CAD model did not exist East Coast Metrology was called in to perform a detailed as-found survey of the structure. All of the components from the foundation up were documented. In addition a FARO Edge Portable CMM Arm was used to more accurately capture high stress areas.

A complete 3D solid model was created including the point clouds and images. The preliminary analysis indicates that the stresses are far below those that would indicate any kind of problem.

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