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3D Surface Metrology

3D Optical Microscopy for Precision Machining and Tooling

Precision Machining figure D
Measured surface of stamped metal showing 3D height map with color image overlay.

From the production of aircraft aluminum alloys to small custom-application screws, precision machining reaches into every technology and industry. The tools, molds, and so forth used to manufacture precision parts must be as accurate and defect-free as the parts themselves. These include precision-type lathes, drilling and boring machines, milling machines, and specialty molds and shaping tools. Deformation of tooling caused by wear, thermal stress, or vibration must be constantly monitored and defects corrected immediately. High-precision metrology instrumentation for active monitoring of parts, as well as tooling, is imperative.

The Contour Elite 3D optical microscopes robustly determine surface finish, critical angles, spacing, radii, and other dimensions to improve manufacturing of high-tolerance components. The systems utilize design innovations to ensure high vibration tolerance and measurement repeatability, even in manufacturing environments operating under exacting production specification limits.

Precision Machining figure C
Grayscale 3D optical image of saw blade teeth.

A large field of view and objective magnifications from 1X to 115X enable characterization of an extremely wide range of surface shapes and textures. Plus, Contour Elite’s optional high-resolution color or monochrome imaging reveals surface details that otherwise would be difficult or impossible to see. This new capability enables users to segment data based on color or grayscale information to rapidly select areas of interest and collect critical metrology data from these specific regions.

Precision Machining figure B
3D optical characterization of a drill bit.

Contour Elite systems provide a turnkey tool to rapidly and objectively obtain these data in R&D through production/QC testing, enabling correlation to product performance in a fully gauge-capable manner.