Rapido Telegraph

Rapido News Volume 33 and a half - ©2011 Rapido Trains Inc.

Scanning the FPA4

Reminder: FPA4 Party is next Monday!

As previously announced in our special edition of Rapido News last week, we are heading to Canada's railway museum, Exporail, next Monday to do a 3D scan of the FPA4 locomotive, and you are invited!

3D scan

Performing a 3D scan

Image courtesy Creaform.

What is a 3D scan?

You've probably heard of a scanner, which works like a photocopier to bring a photo or other document into your computer. A 3D scanner is a variation on the same concept. In the case of the FPA4, our locomotive is being scanned by the team at Creaform, a 3D engineering and design firm based in Quebec City.

Laser beams are emitted from the scanner and it records how they bounce back, which allows the scanner to create a 3D model of an object on a computer. The scanner is held by hand - there are no robots involved! The FPA4 is scanned into the computer, with all the correct contours. Click on the image below to watch a video from Creaform showing how it works.

Creaform 3D

Creaform's 3D scanning technology

The raw 3D scan of the FPA4 can't easily be edited, so it is then given to Creaform's engineers to clean it up and to create an editable 3D model, similar to the image below. The overall shape of the engine is not changed in this process.

LRC 3D model

A basic 3D model of an LRC locomotive

The computer file is then given to Rapido's engineer, who works from traditional photos, measurements and drawings to come up with the final product, as in the image below.

LRC 3D model

A finished LRC model design

By using a 3D scan of the FPA4 nose and roof, we are guaranteed to get the right overall shape. Have a look at the difficult compound curves in the photo below and you'll see why it makes sense to do a 3D scan.


FPA4 #6789 at Spadina Yard

Image courtesy Tom Cox.

Come join us next Monday!

Please click here to contact us or call 1-877-738-6445 to confirm that you are coming. We will be bringing snacks for everyone and we need to know how many people will be there. Admission is a $25 donation to Exporail, and kids (under 14) are half price.

Please click here for full information on the FPA4 Party. So far our furthest guests are coming from Hartford and Hamilton. Anybody want to come from Halifax or Helsinki?

Thanks and I hope to see you there!

All the best,


Jason Shron
Rapido Trains Inc.

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