3D SCANNING OF MIG 19 - Left wing and fuel tank reverse engineering

Updated: Nov 27, 2020

The Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-19 (Russian: Микоян и Гуревич МиГ-19; NATO reporting name: Farmer) is a Soviet second-generation, single-seat, twin jet-engined fighter aircraft, the world's first mass-produced supersonic aircraft. It was the first Soviet production aircraft capable of supersonic speeds in level flight. A comparable U.S. "Century Series" fighter was the North American F-100 Super Sabre, although the MiG-19 primarily fought against the more modern McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II and Republic F-105 Thunderchief over North Vietnam [Wikipedia]

The Brno Technical Museum in the Czech Republic owns many historical airplanes and this MIG19 is one of them. The purpose of this assignment was to capture digital data on the left wing to be able to reconstruct a part, which is in bad condition and there is a risk of decomposition and the irreplaceable loss of this part.

The scanning procedure which we used for this project was as follows:

  1. Scanning markers placement

  2. Scanning with KSCAN Magic

  3. Postprocessing of the data in scanning software

As we were not scanning the whole airplane in this case, it wasn't necessary to use a photogrammetry pattern before the scanning. KSCAN Magic is unique in that it combines laser scanning technology with photogrammetry in one system which brings the benefits of stable accuracy also on parts with bigger sizes.

1. Scanning markers placement

Using the scanning markers is necessary with all laser 3D scanners because the 3D scanner uses these reference points to get the information about the coordinate system. It is recommended to place markers randomly and irregularly so that the scanning software can properly find their location. We placed markers 10 - 15 cm apart from each other in most places. However, on the narrow spots and edges (e.g. wing edge) it is suitable to place them a little bit closer, because the edge has limited surface area and the minimum number of markers in the scanning field must be four.

Time needed: 30 minutes

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2. Scanning with KSCAN Magic

The handheld laser 3D scanner is not sensitive to ambient conditions as optical scanners can be and can scan a bigger surfaces in a short time. Scanning itself with a handheld laser 3D scanner is a very fast process. The movement of the scanner gradually collects data. The scanner moves in such a way that data is scanned from multiple angles for their completeness. If the data are complete, the object is placed in the next position or more positions to scan the remaining parts. The resolution which we set for scanning these parts was 1,5 mm which gave us enough resolution to capture details available on the surface while maintaining a fast scanning speed. It is recommended to frequently change scanning angles and position of the scanner to capture data from different directions.

Time needed: 30 minutes

3. Postprocessing of the data in scanning software

After scanning, the data is cleared. All data are then joined by geometry of the object or using reference marks. Next, it is necessary to check the quality of the data and their completeness. The last step is to generate the resulting 3D model. The result can be exported to common output polygon formats STL, PLY or as point cloud files ASC, IGS and TXT.

Time needed: 30 minutes


There are many historical objects around the world for which the digital data are not available. To preserve these objects, 3D scanning offten is the only option to save, repair or replace them. At times when the digital data is not available and constructing a real part from scratch would take a few weeks, 3D scanning has great added value. The Brno Technical Museum can save these planes for future generations thanks to the technology of laser 3D scanning.

Time needed: 1,5 hours

Technology used: ScanTech KSCAN Magic, DELL Precision 7540 laptop

Location: Brno, Czech Republic Outside temperature: 15 °C

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