Novel algorithms for 3D surface point cloud boundary detection and edge reconstruction

Carmelo Mineo, Stephen Gareth Pierce, Rahul Summan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
175 Downloads (Pure)


Tessellated surfaces generated from point clouds typically show inaccurate and jagged boundaries. This can lead to tolerance errors and problems such as machine judder if the model is used for ongoing manufacturing applications. This paper introduces a novel boundary point detection algorithm and spatial FFT-based filtering approach, which together allow for direct generation of low noise tessellated surfaces from point cloud data, which are not based on pre-defined threshold values. Existing detection techniques are optimized to detect points belonging to sharp edges and creases. The new algorithm is targeted at the detection of boundary points and it is able to do this better than the existing methods. The FFT-based edge reconstruction eliminates the problem of defining a specific polynomial function order for optimum polynomial curve fitting. The algorithms were tested to analyse the results and measure the execution time for point clouds generated from laser scanned measurements on a turbofan engine turbine blade with varying numbers of member points. The reconstructed edges fit the boundary points with an improvement factor of 4.7 over a standard polynomial fitting approach. Furthermore, through adding artificial noise it has been demonstrated that the detection algorithm is very robust for out-of-plane noise lower than 25% of the cloud resolution and it can produce satisfactory results when the noise is lower than 75%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-91
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Computational Design and Engineering
Issue number1
Early online date7 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2019


  • point-cloud
  • boundary detection
  • edge reconstruction


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