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ComScan Inventor: Steve Gaspardo

Steve holds a number of degrees including Computer Integrated Manufacturing (Robotics). Prior to starting Gaspardo & Associates in 1996, Steve served for 15 years as a Manufacturing Engineer for two firms: ITT Hoffman (Indianapolis, IN) and Magnetrol International (Downers Grove, IL), where he recognized the power of 3D scanning.

ComScan Developer: Gaspardo & Associates

In 1996, Gaspardo & Associates began as a full service Chicago-based 3D scanning laboratory that performed high-accuracy computer-aided measurement, inspection, verification, and reverse engineering on near net shape and free form geometry components. G&A continues to receive critical recognition from global manufacturers as a trusted source for quality control, reverse engineering, and related applications that require accurate, reliable scanning data.

Today, in addition to its full service 3D scanning laboratory, Gaspardo & Associates produces the affordable ComScan Automated 3D Scanning System that provides: automated state-of-the-art high-density 3D point-cloud scanning and modeling, including 3D color mapping reports and dimensional analysis.

The ComScan system delivers unmatched value to a wide variety of industrial customers:

  • Engineering firms
  • Aerospace manufacturers and component suppliers
  • Automotive manufacturers and component suppliers
  • Industrial mold and pattern producing manufacturers
  • Injection molders and foundries
  • Metal stamping shops

ComScan Development: A Timeline

From the beginning, Steve Gaspardo and his team of engineers experienced the shortcomings of tripod mounted 3D scanners. The first problem was the time consuming but necessary surface ‘prep’ time; painting parts white and placing clay targets on the component. Another issue was the labor required for repositioning the scanner and/or the component. Additionally, the complexity of manually stitching the scans together required skilled personnel, but the largest shortcoming of all with regards to 3D scanning, was inconsistent data results.

The issue of inconsistent data was further revealed in 2003, when a large client funded a project to evaluate a number of 3D scanners. After 18 months and nearly two dozen experiments, Gaspardo’s client and his team concluded that tripod-mounted 3D scanners typically have good accuracy, good repeatability, but lacked reproducibility. Proving differences in the operators’ scanning affected the accuracy of the data collection resulting in critical inconsistencies.

From that point in 2005, Gaspardo’s team sought to develop an automated system that would provide a consistent scanning shot sequence for a given component. To start, they reviewed the entire history of Gaspardo & Associates 3D scanning data. The team scrutinized part weight, part size, number of scans for each part, various shot angles and concluded that the best machine concept would be based on a hemispherical scanning envelope.

The concept needed to have a constant radius arm mechanism that could support a scanner and position it looking into the envelope from 0 degrees to the top center -looking straight down. A rotary table was needed to position the part 360 degrees around the center axis of the envelope. The company designated this machine concept the “Semi-Spherical Gantry” (SSG).

After filing the necessary patents and finalizing the designs, Gaspardo & Associates introduced the ComScan® Automated 3D system at the Quality Expo Trade Show. Today, it is dubbed a “breakthrough” in metrology circles and is being sought for 3D scanning applications in the automotive, aeronautical and other critical mission industries.