Plug-in for point cloud–based building material calculations in Leica Cyclone 3DR

Analysis of irregularities in walls and calculation of the amount of plaster needed for leveling

Industry

  • Information technology
  • Construction

Expertise

  • CAD/CAM/BIM

Technologies

  • Java Script
  • Cyclone 3DR

People often “eyeball” the amount of plaster needed to level walls: They consider the area of the room and multiply by the average amount of material consumed per square meter. The result isn’t exact, but it’s close enough for run-of-the-mill apartment repairs.

On an industrial scale, it’s common to use point clouds and Leica Cyclone 3DR (an engineering software package for handling geospatial data) to calculate the amount of plaster needed. The results from Leica Cyclone 3DR are more accurate, but these calculations take several hours and require a highly skilled engineer to perform.

Hexagon, a Leica Cyclone 3DR vendor, approached us looking for a way to simplify this process. The company boasts half a century of history, hundreds of products and divisions in 50 countries.

For this project, we did more than just write code to meet specifications — we studied the client's problem, offered several solutions, wrote the specifications ourselves, developed the software and protected it with a licensing system.

The result is a plug-in for Leica Cyclone 3DR that uses a point cloud to analyze the condition of a room’s walls and calculate the amount of plaster needed to level them. Here’s how it works: 
- First, it segments the point cloud and correlates its parts with the walls in a model of the space.
- Then, it creates an ideal model of the walls according to the chosen settings.
- It builds a map of wall defects, determining the required plaster thickness for each area and coloring them differently for clarity. The plug-in ignores small (less than 1-3% of the surface area) defects that protrude sharply from the wall; it’s easier to sand these down instead of plastering them.
- It calculates the required amount of plaster for each room and wall.
- Lastly, it generates an RTF report of the results, including the total area of the walls and rooms analyzed, the total surface area to be plastered, and the amount of material needed.

Users can adjust the minimum plaster thickness, set the maximum permitted error for corners between walls, and select rooms whose corners must be aligned strictly at 90°. Changing these parameters at any stage of the process takes just a few minutes, so engineers can quickly calculate different technological solutions and choose the best one in terms of quality and cost.

The plug-in automates 75% of the work users would otherwise perform, leaving only the preparation of the point cloud. Performing these calculations is 20 times faster with the plug-in than without: for a space with 10 walls, it takes no more than 3 minutes with the plug-in versus an hour without it.

In the near future, the plaster calculation plug-in will appear in Hexagon’s Leica solution catalog, where it will be available to everyone.

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