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Third Dimension have taken the industry standard to a new level with the GapGun Pro2 and T series sensor heads. Designed for the increasing needs of automotive metrology and quality control professionals, a dedicated team of engineers have spent 3 years to build cutting-edge technology into the 25+ year established GapGun. The goal: to realise Third Dimension’s ambition to deliver the ultimate non-contact, precision measurement tool.

Reliable, intuitive and accurate, GapGun Pro2 retains the same favoured ergonomics for operators and continues to deliver fast measurements and repeatable results. GapGun Pro2 is a simple upgrade option for existing users.

So, what’s new?

The noticeable change comes with a new, ‘T60®’ sensor head family. The T60® now delivers 3.5x better pixel resolution which delivers enhanced accuracy. Still fast - the GapGun Pro2 has a measurement cycle of just 1 second but comes in a smaller and more robust casing than its predecessor. The new sensor heads have several optical improvements that enable them to deliver sharper, more reliable data across a broad range of applications.

Chih Jen Lo, Chief Applications Engineer at Supertooling in Hong Kong comments:

“For those used to working with GapGun, the new product provides some really pleasing improvements. Existing users will find it easier to use and enjoy the added simplicity when checking vehicle quality.”

Understanding the inline and offline automotive environments has been the key to Third Dimension’s success. Available with a red or violet laser, T60 sensor heads can measure all common automotive surfaces, including light clusters and gaps with chrome.

In addition to this, T60 sensor heads have been completely re-engineered to further enhance their robustness. Improved mounting of optical elements, reduction of internal cabling and improved ingress protection mean they are reliable and remain in calibration when exposed to the rigours of inline production quality checks. T60 sensor heads are MIL-STD-810g drop tested and IP rated so metrology lab precision really can be brought to the production line.

 As the only company able to deliver calibrations on optical triangulation sensors in an ISO 17025 certified lab, traceability on the GapGun Pro2 is industry leading and delivers a complete audit trail for quality control professionals.

Available to buy from 2 March 2020.

Download the brochure here. 

Request a demo today by contacting or call +44(0)3333 44 3000.

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Violet laser sensor heads use the shortest visible wavelength and enhanced software intelligence to lead the way in non-contact precision measurement. 

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Violet laser sensor heads extend the range of materials which can be measured by Third Dimension’s GapGun Pro and Vectro systems. Auto-makers now have a single tool for all inline gap and flush measurements, including light clusters, chrome headlights, tail lights, and all other common automotive surface finishes.

GapGun Pro and Vectro systems replace manual, contact gauges for reliable data quality and traceability.
Francois Froment, Third Dimension’s Head of Sales, reports high levels of early interest in the product: “I have taken the Violet Laser to automotive customers in the UK, Germany, Sweden and Belgium. There has been tremendous interest, with quality managers and production engineers alike seeing the potential for saving time and improving their manufacturing processes. This is definitely the most efficient solution in the market today.”

The violet laser sensor heads equip end-users including OEMs, Tier 1s and Tier 2s, with the highest measurement resolution system with unrivalled usability. Due to its highly ergonomic and lightweight design, the GapGun Pro is widely accepted by operators.

Violet laser sensor heads are a straightforward upgrade for existing GapGun Pro and Vectro customers, as they use the same VChange mechanism and do not require additional software licencing.
Proven to work on all common automotive finishes, the violet sensor heads have now been tested in more than ten automotive factories across four continents.
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Manually inspecting aircraft parts with depth gages can be quite time consuming, encouraging many producers to opt for faster, more automated processes. So, when military helicopter manufacturer AgustaWestland needed to slash inspection times for panels on its Merlin helicopters, it chose the GapGun measurement device. AgustaWestland operators use Third Dimension’s handheld GapGun laser measurement system to quickly take detailed profile measurements of the depth of scratches on helicopter panels and aircraft gearbox components.

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Maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) inspection times for interior and exterior composite panels plummeted nearly 90%.

“They wanted something that would relieve the operators and provide some traceability compared with the manual gages,” Third Dimension’s Product Manager Paul Waterfall explains. Before using the device; if an operator noted a scratch, employees would remove that panel, bolt on a new one, and ship the damaged panel to a metrology lab to be measured for go or no-go. The panel would then be returned to join the group of spares until needed. The process could take up to eight months since they waited until they had a batch of panels to ship, resulting in huge costs. “This device has metrology lab quality but with handheld capabilities. It can be taken anywhere,” Waterfall says. “If the helicopter lands and someone says, ‘Well, I’m worried about this,’ you can take the GapGun to the helicopter, get a measurement within a couple of minutes, and go. You don’t need to remove and replace a panel.”

Quality assurance

The GapGun brings to the shop floor the accuracy and precision normally found only in a metrology lab. In 20 minutes, the device determines a part’s dimensional profile by taking a series of pictures of its surface. Operators can then establish whether scratch depths are within the required 0.15mm limit and verify whether the part needs to be repaired or replaced. “The data are also immediately transmitted to a back office so that you can keep a full record and traceability – by serial number, by operator,” Waterfall says. “That has really helped in understanding the manufacturing processes you’re using. You can pick up differences between different touch points easily.”

Optical measurements

A noncontact, automated laser measurement system, GapGun assesses the dimensional integrity or profile of a part without touching the surface. The device’s graphical user interface (GUI) guides users through the process, requiring only minimal training. GapGun uses laser triangulation technology to collect measurements. It projects a Laser Components line laser or stripe across the part’s surface to determine the measurable feature. “When we incorporated lasers from Laser Components, we got a more uniform, consistent, and reliable product, which sped up our manufacturing process,” Waterfall states. “It provides a very consistent focus.” Simultaneously, the integrated camera system takes images of the static laser stripe. Once the system measures the angle between the camera and the laser projection, an algorithm calculates the surface dimensions that the laser and camera scanned. These data generate a digital copy of the surface. Software produces a point cloud using image processing to convert the profile images into a series of points that extrapolate the feature’s shape. These points allow the system to analyze the measured surface. Because a laser is structured light, measurement data is highly reliable and can be used as a stable light source for data analysis. Features of the component’s profile measured include angle, radius, edge break, and scratch. The measurements are then recorded for statistical process control and traceability and transferred to a computer, allowing operators to determine any possible mistakes in the production line in real-time.

High-quality sensors

A camera view of a laser projected onto a surface allows operators to see gaps or changes in patterns. For example, a scratch may be shiny or green or brown in color. Operators measuring different surfaces need to control the laser intensity and the camera sensor. The GapGun Pro’s VChange sensor interface allows operators to quickly remove, swap, and reattach sensors. The sensors’ dynamic ranges extend from extremely bright surfaces, such as soft chrome, to the darkest paints of carbon surfaces. Changing laser intensity and controlling the camera achieves the necessary accuracy in measuring various challenging surface finishes. The device’s adjustable laser cap can shorten or split the laser line to measure complex features.


This article is from the November/December issue of Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. Visit their website here: