Dimensional Measurement Systems


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     Breuckmann 3D white light scanners  produce high-resolution 3D scans with millions of data points.  Even the smallest objects can be accurately recorded in three dimensions using the StereoSCAN or SmartSCAN close-range scanner.  Scans may be converted into realistic 3D models to provide the basis using Breuckmann's OptoCAT software or any 3D CAD package for reproductions and/or archival records.


Smithsonian Deer Stone Project Northern Mongolia

Uncovering the secrets of the past
  In the summer of 2006 and 2007 archaeological conservators from the Museum Conservation Institute (MCI) of the Smithsonian Institute, using a Breuckmann 3D white light scanner, recorded extraordinarily detailed information about these deer stones. This information will be used to archive these monuments, and will allow for further study and interpretation. Click here to continue reading....

The Mayan Ruins of Yaxchilan in Frontera Corozal, Mexico

Scanners replace paper molds and bucket brigades

  The Breuckmann SmartSCAN-HE scanner was taken on a Harvard University expedition to remote areas of Mexico to collect information on testing digital scanning technology that could provide an important new way to preserve fading Maya monuments across Central America. The Corpus of Maya Hieroglyphic Inscriptions Program was established to help the decoding process by dedicating itself to recording and publishing as many ancient Maya inscriptions as possible, making their glyphs and images available to scholars around the world.

 Harvard University 3d scannning mayan ruins

Martin’s One Hundred – Site of Massacre of Colonial Settlers

Using non-contact s technology to scan treasures of American history

  The busts selected were from several museums in the Europe and the USA.  They were produced in different materials and were different sizes.  The digital scans made it possible to produce models of the same size which allowed direct comparison of cross-sections and other dimensional information.      Click here to read more...

Measurement of U.S.S. Monitor Propeller Using White Light and Coherent Laser Radar Scanning Technologies

  The USS Monitor, designed by inventor John Ericsson, was recovered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1998, conserved over the next eight years, and now on display at The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia, where it was scanned in place.

  Working with the Mariners’ Museum and the USS Monitor Center, MAGLEV, Inc. and its partner, Accurex Measurement Systems dimensionally scanned the recovered propeller of the warship.

 OptoTop 3d scanner used to 3D scan USS Monitor Propeller

  The Sphinx was then photographed from a number of angles using a very high quality digital camera.  A unique capability of the Breuckmann PrimeScan is that it can be easily and quickly reconfigured to a smaller field of view by switching the composite base bar between the camera and projector. This was especially useful for this application because certain areas on the Sphinx, such as those between the forelegs contain intricate hieroglyphics. Click here to read more...

  HOTPAD is a quantitative image database of teeth based on high resolution virtual reality models.  It is an HTML programmable platform to enable data acquisition from specimens for comparison and presentation.  HOTPAD should be understood as a contribution to enlighten the possibilities of using 3D techniques to judge queries in paleontological and paleoanthropological research.

 HotPAD digital 3D records

Natural Museum of Natural History

  With advanced digital 3D imaging technology (Breuckmann TriTOS Scanner) and CNC (Computer Numeric Controlled) milling machines, the Smithsonian Institution is able to create exact replicas of fragile artefacts for further study and exhibition. MCI scanned the skull [what skull – more detail needed] and provided the digital information to OEC.

 American Museum of Natural History 3D model of skull

  For the 300th anniversary of his birth, several busts of Benjamin Franklin by Houdon were brought to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for a special exhibit, to join the Houdon bust that the Museum acquired in 1996.  For this historic occasion, Accurex Measurement was asked to scan four busts.  Accurex choose a Breuckmann SmartSCAN for the project.

  The Sphinx was scanned using Breuckmann SmartSCAN Technology.  The new SmartSCAN-HE is another scanner that is capable of a project of this magnitude.  In order to assist with the alignment of the individual scans, reflective photogrammetry dot targets were placed at a number of locations on the Sphinx.  To guard against damage to the 3,500 year old sculpture, all targets were placed on tape that had been tested to ensure that it would not damage the granite

Three-Dimensional Imaging in Paleoanthropology and Prehistoric Archaeology Hominid Tooth Pattern Database (HOTPAD)

  The Hominid database at the Senkenberg Museum in Frankfurt, Germany contains digital 3D records of tooth pattern specimens.  The Breuckmann OptoTOP-HE white light scanning system was used to collect the high resolution data required for this project.  The database makes these valuable specimens readily available for study from any location.

3000 year old monoliths in Mongolia 

Excerpted from article by Alvin Powell, 

The Harvard University Gazette (2007)

  Martin's Hundred was an early 17th century plantation located along the James River in the Virginia Colony, ten miles east of Jamestown, land formerly considered the domain of the Powhattan Indians.  In March of 1622, the Powhattan tribe launched a massacre which wiped out most of the colony.

  Along the items excavated at the site were two closed helmets of the type most commonly associated with medieval times.  Accurex Measurement undertook the task of scanning the helmets for archival purposes and to allow the making of replicas.  The Breuckmann OptoTOP HE 3D scanner, which provides very high quality scan data was used.  The new Breuckmann SmartSCAN-HE  is also being used for similar projects.  OptoCAT software by Brecukmann was utilized to collect and organize the data.  The final alignment of the scans for each of the helmets was carried out in Polyworks software where an STL format polygonized mesh model was prepared.Click here to read more...

  Hatshepsut was the principal queen of her half-brother, Pharaoh Thutmose II.  After he died she became regent and adopted the title of Pharaoh.  Sculpture of Hatepsut soon depicted the queen in male regalia.  Upon her death, Thutmose III ordered the dismantling of all shrine representations of her.  Thousands of the statue fragments, discovered in two pits near Hatshepsut's funerary temple, have been painstakingly reassembled by scholars of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

     3D scan data is useful in archaeology, paleontology and cultural heritage applications for dimensional analysis and study.  Collection of 3D scan data provides a digital archival record, increased access to objects in remote locations, and the ability to produce replicas useful for public exhibits.  There is no better way to record a complex object than with a high resolution 3D white light scanner.  The fringe projection method used in 3D white light scanning make non-contact digitization of art and sculpture and historical artifacts possible.  Direct comparisons can be made of dimension and shape.  Structured light Scanning allows revisitation of any object over time.  This includes redrawing of cross sections, 3D volume calculations, and other analysis that would otherwise be very difficult if not impossible.

Using 3D (White Light) scanners to uncover details from the past

  The model shop of the Office of Exhibits Central (OEC) at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. established a collaboration using cutting-edge technology to learn about a research team studying Colonial-era skeletons from sites throughout the Chesapeake Bay region. From the condition of bones and teeth, and how they were buried, it is often able to determine the age, sex, social status, health, trade, and cause of death. One such find is the skull of a young man, aged 15 years old and one of the original 1607 settlers from Jamestown Fort. From this skull a facial reconstruction can be created.

Two different measurement technologies were employed to meet the goal of high accuracy and high resolution.  A coherent laser radar system was used to scan the overall propeller at millimeter resolutions for documenting overall size; a structured white light scanner was employed to scan at micron resolutions to capture details such as surface cracks and graffiti etched on the blades.  The scanned point clouds were then merged to generate an accurate model for dimensional and hydrodynamic analysis.             Click here to read more...

  Since 2001, a multidisciplinary team from the Smithsonian Institution has been researching the history of Mongolia’s mysterious monoliths known as Deer Stones. The stones vary in size and iconography, and exhibit anthropomorphic or decorative features interpreted as memorializing important persons.

Please see the Application Overviews below to learn more about some of these exciting expeditions.



  After traveling to remote areas by jeep and boat, the trip project required working outdoors in high heat and humidity.  Members of the team from the Harvard Peabody Museum gathered to watch progress of this successful project as one of the team members tapped at the laptop, blending the images from the different scans into one.

  The previous way to collect field information was to make a copy with a paper mold which required pressing wet paper to the monuments in several layers and then drying the paper before peeling it off, creating hard molds from which plaster casts could be made.  This process involved lugging in sufficient supplies of paper and water, and lighting a fire to dry it.

In October 2006, the model preparation department of the Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum was assigned the unusual task to create a life-size replica of a sperm whale for
the Senckenberg Deep Sea Exhibition, a project realised in cooperation with the Museum of Natural History Basel (Switzerland). At present, sperm whales are the largest  living toothed whales. Adult female whales reach a length of up to 12.5 m, male adults grow even larger: at a body length of up to 20 m, they can weigh up to 57 tons.


The three-dimensional digital acquisition of this model is achieved with the aid of the 3D scanning system smartSCAN 3D of the Breuckmann GmbH, a system which the Senckenberg Research Institute has been using for many years in numerous different types of projects. The smartSCAN-HE 3D system operates on the basis of the patented miniaturised projection technique (MPT), which allows for scanning times of less than one second. Rather than capturing only individual points, the entire surface is being captured, enabling the rapid and precise measurement of even very complex object geometries or fragile and easily deformable structures.

Breuckmann scanners' extensive history of being used Cultural heritage & the Arts


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