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Using Lazer Scanned Data in Solid Edge

Solution Partner Creator Solution Partner Creator
Solution Partner Creator


Has anyone had any success in bringing in a model derived from Laser Scanned Data.

I have a client that users Leica Cyclone Model 9.1 to scan existing equipment in a process plant, this information is then feature recognised within the software to produce a CAD file, this file can then be exported out to Step SAT Iges Paresolid STL etc. Somehow Autocad and Microstation can open this model, shade it, and allow them to design their new equipment around the existing plant.

However nothing is workable in Solid Edge ST8, justt some crazy lines, a problem for my Solid Edge Plant Design users.

Any comments ideas would be appreciated.


Trevor (an old hand V1)


Re: Using Lazer Scanned Data in Solid Edge

Gears Esteemed Contributor Gears Esteemed Contributor
Gears Esteemed Contributor

Is it possible to upload an example file?

Bruce Shand
SE2019 MP8 - Insight - Win10 - K4200

Re: Using Lazer Scanned Data in Solid Edge

Gears Esteemed Contributor Gears Esteemed Contributor
Gears Esteemed Contributor

What output file format are you using (SAT, STP, IGS, STL, X_T, ???)?


X_T and STP would be my choices.  Make sure you turn on "Heal & Stitch" no matter what format you use.  This usually fixes any issues with stuff not coming in correctly.



Production: SE 2019 MP8, Testing: SE 2020

Re: Using Lazer Scanned Data in Solid Edge


Had to do this a few years ago (SE V20 ?) and couldn't get the file into Solid Edge.

I think there was some link between the scanning software and AutoCad, then an export to STEP or IGES.

In the end I downloaded a demo of SpaceClaim which read it with no problem.

Then I could export it and finally import to SE.


I seem to remember the problem was something to do with elements of AutoCad that SE couldn't handle at the time.

HP Z420 16GB RAM
Quadro K4000
SE2019 MP5 on Windows 10 Pro 64.

Re: Using Lazer Scanned Data in Solid Edge

Honored Contributor
Honored Contributor

Point clouds are huge files (most contain 1,000,000 points/scan). And most objects require 8 to 32 scans. I have reverse engineerined building using 420 scans. each w/ 1,000,00 points. In that case, I had a single file over 1 GIG in size that took 45 min to load.


If you want to bring in point clouds to SE, I suggest reducing the data using the point cloud software first before export. I would not want to try and use more than 20,000 points in a CAD package of any kind.


Processing point clouds correctly requires three different $30K software packages before the data ever is transferred to CAD. Typically only curves are transferred, not the points.


Each reverse engineering sofware exports different kinds of data:

Cyclone: primitives & piping

Imagware: Nurbs (curves and surfaces)

Polyworks: Polygons

Cyclone + AutoCAD/Coudworks = Tracing edge views


Reverse engineering software has no history, and were originally build on UNIX, then ported over to windows.....Like Imageware that is now part of NX.

Re: Using Lazer Scanned Data in Solid Edge

Gears Esteemed Contributor Gears Esteemed Contributor
Gears Esteemed Contributor

If only the great Rick Mason [@RickSTer] would stop being so darn happy as a I know first hand, that he has had wonderful success [although, it did take some considerable effort, to develope the correct outcome] with this very process.


The product in point, was actually shown at SEU back in 2012, seen here...., and then the product web page features some Solid Edge CAD images, etc....



I've done some of this type of work, in my previous life, but used Rhino as the go between, before it was in a usable state for Solid Edge to take care of for developing production tooling & drafting, etc.

Sean Cresswell
Design Manager Streetscape Ltd
Solid Edge 2019 [MP8] Classic [x3 Seats - Cloud Enabled]
Windows 10 - Quadro P2000

Re: Using Lazer Scanned Data in Solid Edge

Honored Contributor
Honored Contributor

Rhino is one of the few modeling packages that has a good set of tools for curve fitting and working with NURBS. Definitely not good for drafting, at least the last time I looked many years ago.


But again, past 20K point, History based CAD is a bad choice to work with point clouds.


The work around is cloudworks for AutoCAD where you can trace things.


CAD is not set up to segment point clouds and refine them until they can be approximated to some extruded shape, a primitive, curves, or any other single valued object.


The biggest problem with point clouds is no corners. to make a cube, one extracts 6 planes and intersects for corners. Now, were the planes on opposite sides parallel? If you let the computer make the planes from points, typically not. This is why tracing is the most common method of reverse engineering. Then things like vertical and flat can be implied durring the tracing as a best fit of the human eye.

Re: Using Lazer Scanned Data in Solid Edge

PLM World Member Pioneer PLM World Member Pioneer
PLM World Member Pioneer



In my experience, the only viable way to work with scanned data in SE is to get the scan cleaned-up and processed into a big ugly 'skin' model - either as a tessellated set (.STL) or if budget permits as best-fit surfaces (.x_t or .STP) then use this as a REFERENCE model in Edge, ie use it to locate critical points for sketch-planes, vertices etc. for new geometry.


The 'dream' is to scan an object, import it, do a little tweaking then press 'Make'. One of my small number of remaining Clients does, in fact, do precisely this using Z-Brush ... usually their 'little tweaking' runs to over 50 hours for a scanned portion of architectural stonework, shared between the initial cleanup/patching in Z-brush then further simplification and preparation in Rhino 5 before processing THAT data in SUM3D-AMM (5-axis) to create CNC code to send to their robotic milling cutter. Simple, no? NO!


Good luck with that ...


(semi-kinda-almost-retired) Rick

R.H. (Rick) Mason
Semi-retired Old Fart
Sydney, Australia

Re: Using Lazer Scanned Data in Solid Edge

Honored Contributor
Honored Contributor

On the practical side, there are a few ways to use point clouds.


#1. As referance of where NOT to place a pipe run. When making a new pip run in a facility, the model and the point clouds can be loaded up together to make sure your not hitting anything.


#2. Cyclone software is good at modeling pipe from the clouds. If you only need piping models, that's a good choice.


#3 if you want high accuracy civil work, the combination of Cloudworks, AutoCAD, and Imageware and Microstation work well.

A, trace the road edges, center line and important features.

B. register and clean up the point clouds in Cyclone

C. move the tracing and point clouds to Imagware. Project the traced curves to the point clouds. Export Nurbs.

D. Move Nurbs to Microstation to make a TIN.


If you want true reverse engineered surfaces of any shape and accuracy. Buy and learn every reverse package there is. Learn all the pitfalls of moving the data between all of the software.

Buy the fastest computer with the best video card you can......At least $10K on hardware! They still don't make computers fast enough for point clouds. At least 1000T connection to the network. typically $100K in software needed. Then train one person on each software for exactly what you want to do.


This is why I stopped working with point clouds. I don't like waiting on computers.



Polyworks is the only software that can best fit clouds together without registration points other than cyclone stole that routine (settled out of court) and uses it, but it does not work as well.


Cyclone is the only software that can fit steel beams and pipe to clouds based on ANSI data.


Geomagic is the best polygon package for organtic surfaces.


Rapid form was advancing much when I looked into this stuff before.


Imageware sufacer is capable of handling more points  and of manipulating nurbs better than any other package. This was the grand daddy of them all created for the car body industry 30 years ago. This also has a serious learning curve. This became part of NX about 15 years ago.


The big point here is that point clouds are a hassle. You have to be VERY specific about what product you are delivering from the scans to control cost. Down to each type of geometry and application.

Re: Using Lazer Scanned Data in Solid Edge

Gears Phenom Gears Phenom
Gears Phenom
I've used a Romer arm with Shark head and Polyworks software and have never had any issues. Dating back to ST4 probably.