We were approached by a research institute for a custom solution for one of their research instruments. The instrument was a medical scanner that was permanently fixed to a stand. What they needed was to be able to move it around to make the scanning process more flexible and intuitive. And thus the idea of developing an Integrated Handheld Housing for their scanner was born.
The first thing we had to do was to reverse engineer their scanner assembly. Most of the modules were built by scientific equipment manufacturer ThorLabs and had their CAD files available on their website. For those parts that weren’t available on the website, we measured, reverse-engineered and modelled new CAD files for them. Once we had all the parts and modules in the virtual environment, we proceeded to create a full assembly of the scanner, accurately representing its real-life counterpart.
Once we measured the virtual model against the actual scanner assembly, we then moved on to the modelling of the Housing. We first started by identifying a form factor that would be able to house the entire assembly tightly, keep to as small a footprint as possible, and have clearances and considerations for cables and other attachments.
When we were happy with the general size, we started isolating what we felt were the major parts that could make up the whole Housing. These parts were to fit together in a manner similar to Lego bricks. We hollowed out the solid blocks and added features to strengthen the housing since it would be hollow. Fasteners and anchoring points were added as well.
Testing and improvements
Once we were happy with what we had, we 3D printed all the parts and Assembled it onto the scanner directly. Once this was done, the lab would take the scanner with its new housing and run tests on it. This continued for a few iterations and after every round of tests, they would feedback on particular features of some of the parts and we would make the necessary adjustments to fix the issue.
HiGH Resolution Prototype
Once the final 3D printed housing was confirmed and approved, we contacted our manufacturing partners overseas and sent them the engineering drawings and color requirements that were outlined by the research lab. Then it was up to them to manufacture the parts to our tight specifications. Once confirmed it took a couple weeks to machine and send over the parts to us and they were perfect.
The first thing we did when the parts arrived, was to fit them together to test their fits and tolerances and we were very impressed that it all checked out right down the paint. It looked exactly like our 3D models. Following that, we took a trip down to the research lab to do the full assembly tests.
Due to us having meticulously tested the 3D printed housing beforehand, the final housing came together effortlessly and had everyone impressed at not only the look of their new scanner in its new Integrated Housing, but also the feel and balance of it in the hand.
They also appreciated the “Hot-Swap” Glass slips as they now could easily change the front glass cover easily and quickly without any tools.
This project was particularly challenging in that it required us to maintain high standard of precision to ensure the sensitive scanner assembly would not jiggle around inside the housing during use and damage its delicate lenses. With that, we concluded another successful project.
As always we accept comissions for any form of prototyping job such as proof of concept prototypes, fabrication jobs, functional protoyping for production, etc. Please feel free to contact us if you'd like to have something built or have any queries about how we can help you with your idea