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How to Fixture a Part for an Industrial CT Scan Using Foam


Industrial CT scanning uses x-rays taken periodically while a part spins 360 degrees to create a 3D model of the part. Fixturing the part properly is required in order to decrease discrepancies between each x-ray taken. The following method relies on supplies that can be found at any hardware store to properly fixture your part.

Method 1
Method 1 of 2:
Indent Fixturing
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  1. 1
    Trace an outline around the part using permanent marker. Trace as closely to the part as possible.
  2. 2
    Remove the part from the foam and begin to cut around the traced border with the knife. It is important to cut on a slight angle and only approximately 1" to 1 1/2" deep into the foam. Do not cut through the bottom of the foam.
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  3. 3
    Cut a grid pattern through the interior of the trace. Again cut only approximately 1" to 1 1/2" deep into the foam.
  4. 4
    Use the flathead screwdriver to lift the foam out from the interior of the traced area one grid section at a time. Individual pieces of foam should break free with little effort.
  5. 5
    Set the part down in the foam. The part should rest on a slight angle and be "snug" to the edges of the foam. If the part does not fit, cut a little more foam. Remember: You can always cut more foam away, but you cannot put the foam back. If you cut too much, you will have to restart with a new piece of foam.
  6. 6
    Remove the excess foam. Leaving approximately 1" between the traced edge and the edge of the foam, cut off the excess foam.
  7. 7
    Verify the part is securely fixed in the foam. Gently shake and push on the part to verify that it does not move within the foam.
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Method 2
Method 2 of 2:
Wedge Fixturing
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  1. 1
    Cut out a rectangular and a circular piece of foam. These pieces will serve as the supports for the fixed part.
    • The rectangular piece of foam should be approximately 9" x 11".
    • The circular piece of foam should have a diameter of approximately 9"
  2. 2
    Trace a 2" by 9" rectangle into the top of the circular piece of foam.
    • A useful method is to use the rectangular piece of foam as a guide.
  3. 3
    Cut into the traced out area on the circular foam in a grid shaped pattern. The grid pattern allows for the easy removal of the excess foam.
  4. 4
    Remove the foam chunks from the cut out area. Use of a flathead screwdriver may be helpful here. Use the flat head to pry the foam chunks out.
  5. 5
    File the cut out base of the circular foam. The base needs to be smooth and relatively flat.
  6. 6
    Glue the rectangular piece of foam into the circular foam cutout. A little glue helps secure the two pieces of foam to each other.
  7. 7
    Secure the part to the foam wedge using tape.
    • Use as much tape as necessary. The part should not move when shaken or nudged.
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