BLK3D, Leica’s Forgotten Workhorse

By now, people in the reality capture world have heard about the amazing feats of Leica’s powerhouse scanners like the BLK360, the RTC360, or even the seasoned veteran, the P40. But does anyone stop to give the little guy in the back any kudos? Well, that is where I come in. Let me tell you about Leica’s little forgotten secret, the BLK3D.

BLK3D: What is it?

At a size no larger than most cellphones, the BLK3D is a small, compact and powerful tool. It takes immediate and precise 3D measurements from any 2D image it captures. Using stereophotogrammetry, which is the science of taking measurements from pictures, this device uses its two on-board calibrated stereo-cameras to take the exact same picture from two different positions.

The meta data included in every BLK3D image is automatically archived in a PDF report, and includes the exact GPS location, address, date and time of capture. It can replace a team of up to four with tape measures and paper to collect measurements in an existing structure – with only one person with one BLK3D. The time in which you can snap a picture and measure in field is almost instantaneous and accurate down to a couple millimeters.

Above: Three telephone poles measured with the BLK3D. It was captured with one photo and measured on site, all in less than one minute. Usually, it takes a team of two people and 10 minutes to complete manually.

Sketch and Document

The Sketch and Document feature opens up a whole new world of possibilities with the BLK3D. Users can import existing plans, create smart rooms, sketch floor plans, take point-to-point measurements and even measure facades. This will quickly become one of your favorite features of the BLK3D. You can import an existing floor plan and add 3D images to it, draw and measure lines and areas, add mark ups and then export to a JPG file or PDF.

If you do not feel like entering all of that data manually, the Smart Room Feature, which is within Sketch and Document, will make your life much easier. With the Smart Room feature, you can automatically create scaled floorplans. It takes single distances and then measures and stitches them together to create a floorplan. All you have to do is input the room’s height, and it instantly creates a 3D model on the jobsite. You can add doors, windows and wall openings in seconds. When you are done, BLK3D allows you to export a 2D or 3D floorplan in JPG, PDF and CAD formats.

Cyclone Field 360 Controller

The BLK3D can now act as a controller for the BLK360 and RTC360 laser scanners from Leica, allowing you to operate both scanners from the BLK3D itself. Users can capture, register and examine scan and image data from the Field 360 app on the BLK3D.

With a click of the camera button, you can further enrich captured scan data with measurable 3D images and add additional markups and information to an existing point cloud. Through Leica’s Cyclone Register 360 software on your computer, your detailed 3D measurable images appear in the point cloud.

Conclusion: So much more than meets the eye.

In conclusion, do not overlook or underestimate the BLK3D. At first glance, it may not seem like much, but with deeper analysis, it is a swiss army knife of tools all packed into one and can be an integral part to any reality capture solution.

For more information on other Autodesk products, please visit our Autodesk Products page.

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This blog is written by Reality Capture Specialist Josh Hunter. If you have any questions or need help with your Reality Capture needs, please email us at whyATG@atgusa.com.


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