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Reference Point Cloud in NX 11


Scanned 3D data is a part of many companies’ design processes today—whether it is used for reverse engineering, reference geometry, or a plant layout. Convergent Modeling gives you the ability to work with scanned data directly, combining facet and feature based modeling in one. Of course, you must be able to bring data in to NX 11. That is where Reference Point Cloud comes in.

NX 11 Reference Point Cloud 1.jpg

With this command, you can load and display large point clouds stored in .pod format. In the example shown here, we use Reference Point Cloud to import scanned data of a plant layout to which we are going to add some machines.

In the command dialog, choose the file you want to import and select Load Points Now. There are options under Point Display to change the color and brightness. Change the brightness from Shaded to Uniform from the dropdown menu to change the color of the layout.

NX 11 Reference Point Cloud 2.jpg

 To determine what geometry is included in the point cloud, use the Specify Point group in the Reference Point Cloud dialog box. Specify Point lets you pick a point for each corner of a clipping box. Anything in the box is either kept or removed.

NX 11 Reference Point Cloud 3.jpg

You can also use Specify Point with the following measurement commands:

  • Measure Distance
  • Measure Simple Distance
  • Measure Angle

Finally, you can drag and drop geometry from the re-use library to your point cloud reference in NX 11. In the example shown in the video below, Sam Kuan adds a robot to the plant layout using an existing robot from the re-use library.

NX 11 Reference Point Cloud 4.jpg


(view in My Videos)

Community Manager, Solid Edge
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Hi Amy,


On a similar subject, has there been improvements in the way NX handles large imported point clouds?


I am creating a fit surface using a cloud of over 100,000 points. In NX9 the command seems to lock-up when selecting the group, and it's worse if there is already a surface in the part file. It feels like NX is struggling to handle the size.


But in NX11 and NX12 there is no problem - some very slight delays when selecting the cloud group but that is all.


I'm interested to know if there has been performance improvements, and at what version (I'm just downloading NX10 now to test).


Thanks, Carl



I'm currently investigating the Reference Point Cloud functionality with some extremely large .pod files using NX12.

I have 50 Gb scans of a whole gas turbine plant that we wish to use as background data for service proposals.


Point Cloud 1.jpg


Point Cloud 2.jpg


We are having little success and need guidance regarding what is possible. 


As you can see from the images the results are very poor and of very limited use. We are trying to use NX rather than Aveva E3D for this work.


I'm surprised by how quickly NX loads the very large pod files but I'm very disappointed with the level of detail I obtain when zooming in on the data. I've tried various settings, including using  clipping boxes, but have issues with the quality of the result.


Any feedback would be useful.



Ken Walker

Siemens Industrial Turbomachinery, Sweden