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The HandySCAN 3D assists in producing a cleaner snowmobile

The Rochester Institute of Technology is a college located in Upstate New York, not too far from Lake Ontario. And what do you do during the long winter months in that part of the world? Snowmobiling, of course! Which is why a team of their enthusiastic engineering students spent the greater part of the school year taking up the challenge of reinventing a snowmobile.

Scanner in action

The project was part of the 2015 SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge, which aims at reengineering an existing snowmobile in order to reduce both its emissions and its noise level. All the members of the team, sponsored by Creaform through our SAE Collegiate Design Series, used a loaned HandySCAN 3D portable scanner for a variety of tasks, from creating an entire engine model, to scanning parts that would have been difficult to model in 3D in their CAD software (for instance the exhaust manifold and exhaust pipe).

y pipe

For instance, the team used Creaform’s metrology-grade 3D scanner to make flanges that adapted to a different turbo on the engine, and that could connect to the turbo housing to the EGR valve. Once the models were created, they used them to make an optimized engine dyno stand, which was instrumental to the success of the final assembly.Dyno stand assembly

The team also found an interesting and useful application for the HandySCAN 3D scan data: using them directly as a reference in their CAD assembly.

“After using the scanner for a few weeks I can’t imagine reverse engineering without it.  It is unbelievable how simple it is to use and how quickly I can make a highly accurate solid model – I am a big fan of the product”, said John Bulzacchelli, a member of the team. The future engineer added that without the HandySCAN 3D, there would have been a lot more time required in order to design their snowmobile engine, with a much lesser level of accuracy.


The official competition was held from March 2 to March 7 in Houghton, Michigan, with 21 teams from 3 different countries (the US, Canada, and Finland!) taking part of the event. The Rochester Institute of Technology project made an honourable performance; the team held its own and bravely participated in a number of competitions, including emissions, noise, fuel economy and endurance, acceleration, handling, static display, cold start and design. The most important thing, for sure, is the invaluable knowledge and expertise developed by the members. And we like to think our HandySCAN 3D handheld 3D scanner was a part of that!


See the project for yourself in this short video put together by the team :


Article written by Creaform

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