Aligning 3D Digital and Physical models



The video above shows the outline of the digital 3D model being aligned against the physical model. When the edges match, the 3D CAD is snapped to the physical data in Augmented Reality. While displaying the digital 3D data, animations can play to see how the model is to be taken apart and what components are within the physical model.

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CAD Overlay with SnapTo functionality

Sitting within the Theorem XR product family, the CAD Overlay Experience is an Augmented Reality app with Edge Detection and Geometric SnapTo functionality, designed to run on common mobile platforms; it allows current devices to be used without the cost of purchasing more.

As an Augmented Reality tool, data can be viewed spatially and in the context of the 'real world', and the physical components manufactured from the 3D design. 

Unlike other applications this is not a one-off (or hard-baked) experience just for a single product/item, meaning that this is easily scalable and ready for an enterprise level roll-out.

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Redefining the Quality and Inspection process

The CAD overlay App is an essential tool to be utilized in any component design and manufacturing, quality inspection process. It is the quickest and easiest way to check that the manufactured component is a true representation of its 3D digital self, superseding traditional checking methods by using the latest Augmented Reality technology.

The app can be deployed at any point along the design and manufacturing process, for example, enabling checking of a 3D printed prototype, or as a final verification of a full production part before assembly, meaning any issues can be found and reported swiftly.  

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Enhancing the manufacturing training process

The CAD Overlay App is well suited to enhance the traditional manufacturing training process. The app can be used in conjunction with the Theorem GUIDES Experience to help to deliver a practical, and interactive training experience.

For example:

A user would need to disassemble a component. Using the authored Guide they could overlay the model onto the physical component and see the steps required, complete with animation, guide lines and other metadata (images, text etc), to complete the disassembly of the component successfully.

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How it all works

With the Visualization Pipeline at the heart of the Theorem XR product family, the CAD Overlay experience utilizes many of the features from the pipeline. 3D geometry can be uploaded and streamed as many times as required, without the need for a new app to be created for each new asset set. Pre-existing asset uploads to the Visualization Pipeline can also be selected and streamed using the same app, with the data being overlaid onto their physical model counterpart, in an Augmented Reality environment.

The CAD Overlay application allows for:

  • Edge Detection at multiple angles by presenting the user with a wireframe view which is then presented over the physical object (this can be seen in the video at the top).
  • Geometric SnapTo allows for a true comparison of the source data against the physical product when viewing at 1:1 scale in AR
  • Metadata Display allows users to review other supporting data in addition to the 3D geometry in the same application (on-screen), rather than having to review this information externally which could result in errors. This is possible as the App supports the creation of dynamic web service links between the graphical display and external rich metadata.
  • Image Capture and MarkUp, use standard tablet functionality to add comments and capture images to help the review process
  • Occlusion and Transparency support so as users can mark parts of the model as transparent or occlude them to review the physical underneath.
  • Animation Support can be used to review how the parts would move based on the CAD animations.
  • Snapshot support can be used in conjunction with the Guides Experience to replay build instructions against the physical model.

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Automated data preparation

The Visualization Pipeline can automatically process data in the background, or on-demand with ‘save as’ and ‘drag and drop’ functionality, removing the need for dedicated data processing teams. 

Configurations can be automatically invoked when 3D CAD data is read to ensure the best quality and performance.  If required, the Visualization Pipeline will run multiple configurations against a single input file to ensure each consumption device has the optimum data for the best result.

The Visualization Pipeline processes the 3D model data, the supporting meta-data, animation/motion data, and any captures/views from within the CAD or PLM data flow.

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A digital transformation strategy implies that your focus should be about the “digital”. However, in the 21st century, humans remain absolutely critical to how your business operates. Whilst smart factories can process vast amounts of ‘big data’, humans cannot.

Using XR technology to work with this big data bridges the gap between computers and humans...

Read on



The Visualization Pipeline seamlessly integrates with the Theorem XR suite, enabling engineers to get closer to their creations in a full-sized, spatially relevant set of task-orientated XR experiences. 

Theorem XR also hails the beginning of the next frontier of collaboration by bringing together globally distributed teams in a manner that has not been possible until now…

Read on

Use Cases

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