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3D Imager


FARO® Knowledge Base

Best Practices and Troubleshooting for the Cobalt



In this article you can find a compilation of best practices, tips and troubleshooting information for the FARO® Cobalt.

Best Practices

  • Do not uncheck 'Use Arms as Mouse' 
  • Always have Wi-Fi turned off when using the Cobalt.
  • When using the Range Finder, make sure to turn it off before scanning with the Cobalt.
  • A "Lens Set" consists of 3 lens (2 camera and one projected lens).
  • Left and right camera lens are interchangeable, but correct project lens must be used in coordination with required FOV of the camera lens.
  • Compensation must be run whenever lens are changed.

Basic Definitions

Home - Returns the rotary table to the home position (the initial position it was at when powered on).

Align - Performs rotary stage alignment when relationship between rotary table and Imager has changed.

Range Finding - Used to set standoff distance from Imager to the artifact. Must be immediately turned off after setting distance.

Targets - Enables targets to be captured as single points for auto-alignment as well as aiding alignment.

Exposure Color Mapping - Colors live image with blue. For areas underexposure and red for areas over exposed.

Rotary Table Registration / Calibration & Alignment

  • When the rotary table is properly aligned and the point cloud rotary table wizard is used, 360 degrees of an artifact can be scans and pre-aligned without additional user input.
  • Pre-alignment will position the clouds in a group and transform them close to their exact location
  • Fine registration must be performed on clouds grouped with the rotary stage as the stage in not designed to position the clouds precisely
  • During alignment, Imager must be at least 30 degrees above the rotary table in order to identify the targets.

  • The minimum standoff distance  for the imager is 320mm for the 500 Cobalt  and 505mm for the 250 Cobalt

Capturing Modes and Capturing Data

  • Stereo - Captures points that are identified by both left and right cameras

  • Enhanced Stereo - Captures points that are identified by both cameras plus identified by either the right or left camera alone. This allows data that is hidden from one of th cameras to be captured and therefore the coverage is larger.

  • Quick - Captures points using fewer fringes, allowing the user to quickly verify exposure settings.
  • Clicking "Options" in the Measurement window, you can:
    • Change Area of Interest, Exposure Profiles
    • Turn on Rage Finding and Enable Targets.

Preference Options

  • For reverse engineering, it is beneficial to remove the photogrammetry target data.

  • Tangential points are points significantly off normal to the projector and can be less accurate.

    • Clicking, 'Remove tangential points', you have less data but better sphere fits.



To run BuildIT software with the Cobalt Imager requires the following:

  • Server (also called SDK Server Software or Firmware) version or greater.
  • Driver (also called Cobalt Interface Utility) version or greater.
  • BuildIT 2018 or greater.
    • BuildIT 2018 SP1: Added the Diagnostic and Compensation buttons
    • BuildIT 2018 SP2: Point clouds are in grey scale

Troubleshooting Process

  1. The Cobalt S/N is not shown in the Broker window or shown but status remains red.
    1. Disable the Wifi connection on the laptop/computer in use.
    2. Make sure Ethernet IPv4 properties are set to obtain automatic IP.
    3. If a Cobalt is listed but status is red, make sure the correct serial number is listed. The software sometimes remembers previously connected units.
  2. The Cobalt is found in broker and the diagnostics can be opened, but no image appears in the GUI and no data is acquired when recording a point cloud.
    1. Disable any VPN connections (if applicable) on the laptop/computer in use.
  3. Clicking on Edit button in the Broker window has no effect and the Cobalt Capture GUI is not shown.
    1. Make sure that the Cobalt Interface (driver) is installed. See the Requirements section above.
    2. Launch the Windows Task Manager and see if an instance of "Faro3DImagerCaptureProcess.exe" is already running. If so, try ending that process then try clicking on the Edit button again to launch the Capture GUI.
    3. When starting BuildIT software, right click the icon and select "Run as administrator".
  4. The Cobalt does not detect targets.
    1. Make sure that an exposure of ~20ms is set to capture targets and that the target capture setting is enabled.
    2. Make sure the Cobalt range is set correctly using the range finder. Sometimes the targets can be seen in the GUI, but will be outside of range for capturing targets.
    3. Compensate the Cobalt. For details about how to perform a compensation, download the Cobalt User Manual or view the following video: Cobalt Compensation in BuildIT
    4. For more information see: Some Targets Are Not Identified While Using Measure and Scanning with the Cobalt 3D Imager
  5. The rotary table (directly connected to Cobalt) rotates and Cobalt seems to be scanning properly, yet only one scan is captured.
    1. Downloaded the latest version of the Driver. See the Requirements section above.
    2. If already installed, try reinstalling and when prompted click Repair in the installer window.
  6. Rotary table compensation or alignment failed.
    1. Verify the correct range to rotary table using the range finder and that the targets are in view.
    2. Take a single point cloud scan of the rotary table with targets enabled and exposure set to  ~20ms - 25ms.
    3. If no targets are captured, compensate the cobalt. For details about how to perform a compensation, download the Cobalt User Manual or view the follwing video: Cobalt Compensation in BuildIT
  7. For other known issues, see the articles listed under the Troubleshooting Tab on the Cobalt homepage within this Knowledge Base.
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