Stem-Bending Contact Probe
Original Publication Date: 2005-Jul-13
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jul-13
National Institute of Standards and Technology
Dr. Jack Stone: INVENTOR [+1]
This is an updated version of a previous patent description, NIST Docket # 02005. We describe a new method of sensing surface position for use with measuring systems that might range from simple linear measuring machines to Coordinate Measuring Machines (CMMs) operating in three-dimensions. The new method makes use of a flexible, thin-fiber probe. Bending of the probe stem is measured optically in order to infer the deflection of the tip and hence the position of the surface touched by the probe. The probe will provide ultra-low force sensing of surfaces which are difficult to access using traditional techniques, particularly the interior of small holes or similar small structures with high-relief. The probe could be used in a manner similar to existing probes for coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) but a variation of the usual configuration is probably advantageous here: normally a probe is moved in threedimensions so that it contacts the surface of a part to be measured, but when measuring small parts it may be more convenient to use the CMM mechanism to move the part to the probe rather than the probe to the part.