3D Scanning Part 2: Oh Sweet Irony

16 09 2010

The irony is that my second post on scanning has been postponed because of issues with the 3D scanning.  There have been several issues that have come up in the last few days.  We had ordered more attachments for the scanner so we can scan 3 or 4 sherds at once.  They arrived in the mail at the beginning of week, so Jacob and I had to go to the hardware store to by more parts to make our own attachment clips.  The arrival of the attachments was very exciting because it will greatly speed up the scanning process.  Unfortunately soon after we got the attachments ready the turntable stopped turning.  Earlier in the day the turntable was having some issues, but we got it working again.  Now it was dead, not moving at all, after trying a few different things I got on the nextengine chat.  The technician I talked to suggested a few things but nothing was working.  We were resigned to buying a new one (around $200), however two hours later students came in to scan and it was working again.

So one big issue avoided for the time being, the second issue involves the pottery program created by Avshalom Kerasik from the Weizmann Institute.  A little explanation is needed to get to this point (the purpose of this post in the first place).

After finishing a 3D scan, the scan file must be opened in a second program called Meshlab, which is an open source program for processing and editing 3D files.  We then have to open the adjusted file in a gui interface created by Avshalom, compiled from another program called Matlab.  The gui interface essentially takes the best average of all profiles through the entire sherd.  So instead of cutting a sherd and drawing one profile (which is all drawing by hand or using photoshop could do), you get a 100% accurate representation of the sherd.  The program also calculates the stance of the sherd and the radius automatically, so no guess work is required.

The second problem, which I referred to above, is that I can’t get this gui interface to work.  A number of different problems and solutions have been suggested, each sound quite promising, but so far I can’t create any drawings.  The other day it was suggested  I install Matlab and we were to a point where I was confident it would work, but still no luck.  Hopefully this program will be working soon, because I’m ready to work on the Middle Bronze, Late Bronze, and Iron I chapters of my dissertation.

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