Leica BLK360 - Have We Wasted Our Money With It?

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Re: Leica BLK360 - Have We Wasted Our Money With It?

Post by jamesworrell » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:10 pm

I want the p40 rtc bastard child ..

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Re: Leica BLK360 - Have We Wasted Our Money With It?

Post by jedfrechette » Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:33 pm

I think there is room in the market for a scanner like the BLK was intended to be, but after watching the apparent trainwreck that it has been I'm really glad we held off and didn't get one.

I think the RTC is probably the most interesting scanner that has come out in awhile. But I would probably be a lot more excited by it if the BLK hadn't happened or had been handled differently. Accuracy and precision are one thing, and I think there are uses for scanners with different levels of those, however, reliability is king and that seems to be something that the BLK has failed at spectacularly.

I am glad Leica is trying new things, but nobody want's to be the guinea pig stuck with a half-baked tool.
Jed

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Re: Leica BLK360 - Have We Wasted Our Money With It?

Post by Matt Young » Mon Aug 13, 2018 3:48 pm

jamesworrell wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:10 pm
I want the p40 rtc bastard child ..
Like +1
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Re: Leica BLK360 - Have We Wasted Our Money With It?

Post by THSConcepts » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:00 pm

The regret with the BLK360 is strong. Such hype around it too, as a small business it was a big purchase that I'm hoping we can trade in to get something better.

The RTC360 looks promising however so did the BLK360 a couple of years ago...

The experience with the 360 hasn't been great and I'd be really hesitant to invest even more money with a new to the market Leica scanner. With the tide turning on the 360 will this perhaps happen with the RTC if future problems start emerging?

A lot of people have mentioned the Trimble Range. Can anyone recommend a suitable scanner that may be appropriate for a company such as ourselves?

We mainly do measured building surveys producing plans, elevations sections etc.

I appreciate the recommendations and replies so far, really helpful.

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Re: Leica BLK360 - Have We Wasted Our Money With It?

Post by sudo_ki » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:14 pm

We have struggled with the BLK for some time ourselves; our first unit was even proved faulty after around 6 months.

Our current work flow goes like this;

-Level scanner and begin scan
-Connect Scanner to laptop through BLK Data Manager, start download.
-Start new scan (this can be done whilst downloading)

Repeat these steps for each new set up. The data manager needs to be restarted every time to find the new file....
Before we realised you could download simultaneously, we were waiting until we got back to the office and downloading all at once. This could take up to 3 hours after just one days work.

We then import and register the data with Leica Cyclone and use Cloudworx amongst other programs from then on.

We often compare our data with that from a total station and so far have had relatively good results. Any discrepancies fall within 5mm or so on smaller projects.

Over all we are happy enough with this process, we just wish it didn't involve a laptop or WIFI or us being the beta testers for leica.
Last edited by sudo_ki on Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Leica BLK360 - Have We Wasted Our Money With It?

Post by Thomas Goodliffe » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:19 pm

I am really happy with my BLK running alongside Cyclone register and my total station/gps. When I need something better I hire in a big better scanner but to have the BLK there everyday has been a real asset. The RTC is a sizeable jump in price from the BLK and not something we would be able to consider.

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Re: Leica BLK360 - Have We Wasted Our Money With It?

Post by Rikore » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:36 pm

I think that the BLK360 does what it was intended to do. But too many people try to use it as you would say a P40. I think many firms jumped at the chance to get into scanning at a low price, but with most scanners, you need to have training to get it to do what you want it too. Does it have its faults, yes, but some of it maybe the users as well. Too many of us what a point and shoot camera or settle for our cell phone camera and then get a little jealous when they see a photograph taken by an expensive camera. The BLK has its use, but I don't think it was ever designed to take the place of the P40. Nothing is the laser scanning world is point and shoot. Even a cell phone camera can be improved on with a little training. I just wanted to add my thoughts about the BLK and say that, yes there are issues, but I think as with any scanner they can be overcome.

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Re: Leica BLK360 - Have We Wasted Our Money With It?

Post by gsisman » Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:40 pm

Rikore wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:36 pm
I think that the BLK360 does what it was intended to do. But too many people try to use it as you would say a P40. I think many firms jumped at the chance to get into scanning at a low price, but with most scanners, you need to have training to get it to do what you want it too. Does it have its faults, yes, but some of it maybe the users as well. Too many of us what a point and shoot camera or settle for our cell phone camera and then get a little jealous when they see a photograph taken by an expensive camera. The BLK has its use, but I don't think it was ever designed to take the place of the P40. Nothing is the laser scanning world is point and shoot. Even a cell phone camera can be improved on with a little training. I just wanted to add my thoughts about the BLK and say that, yes there are issues, but I think as with any scanner they can be overcome.
So since most of the commenters have logged on today, I'll add my two cents. We bought the BLK when it was hyped up in spring 2017. We got in line before the price change in Jan this year. and received ours last December. We had been trained on and used the P20 in multiple rental scenarios for about 15 months before we obtained the BLK. We started small and did many small jobs with limited scans through rentals. I had to shake my head though when seeing some of the post of people lining up multiple dozen to hundreds plus scan jobs without having proved the effectivenesss of the hardware.
Knowing a little about the interior workings of Leica (having worked for them during the days of the first digital levels, robotics, acquisition of Cyrax and their I.P.O. and new RTK/Instrument based product lines in late 90's early 2000's) and how long it takes to actually bring a product to market from concept design. I'd say the BLK does what Leica wanted it to (notice I said Leica and not potential buyers).
It has built the market and buzz for scanning (because of it's incredible miniaturized size and weight) AND it has provided more Leica Scanning software sales (because Cyclone and Register 360 are hands-down better software than Autodesk Recap). It has allowed accuracy comparisons of field-run (both Robotic Prism based, RTK based and reflectorless based topo and control and is usually always within those tolerances when working with targeted control, correct procedures and optimum environmental conditions. The biggest issues lie with users (even myself at times) slipping into the mindset that it is comparable to the Survey-Grade Compensator models that are the C-10, and P series. That being said there was a bit of non-disclosure of known items from the get-go: 15 Mpixel 3-camera system is not 3-15mp lens but three 5mp lens = 15mpixels (less than most all our smartphones, Inability of the scanner to use all it's intended functionality (out of the gate.... no-IMU, no-Thermal imaging, leveling issues based on the software used to process) It allows quick models to be made in the collection portion (if there are MANY good flat plane surfaces, but bogs down in the processing and the inability to fine scan targets ONLY when doing any other kind of scanning- hampering the software ReCAP and Register 360 to then have good registration/translaton capability that you can be confident in.
The release time between the two most recent products BLK360 AND the RTC360 indicates that BOTH were developed at the same time with the BLK360 and partnership with Autodesk to expand and build the market and (build the BIM market which has been sluggish for Autodesk), sell some more High priced Leica scanning software and the RTC to come along and offer some amazing new tech and time savings that the P series didn't have but to still not be the highest grade Surveyor/Scanning combo that the P series but fill the gap between the P series and the BLK (but still 3x+ the cost of our entire BLK package. I think we've learned almost all the frustrating things about the BLK and this forum has been a trainer in itself, much more than the manufacturer or the lousy documentation of many items.
As a D.O.T. we have a lot of luxury that you for-profit firms don't have and I can absolutely understand the frustration of firms that are scanning and losing tens if not hundreds of hours in troubleshooting ,perusing scanning forums for solutions, re-scanning in different scenarios, etc. (ONE of our support folder for the BLK product shown here)
BLK360_Data_clip_2018-08-13_1326.png
If your going to sell something as an online item-with the kind of pricing that the BLK has, you still MUST have top of the line technical documentation and a product that works COMPLETELY out of the gate- LEICA didn't. I feel that we are now in the age of the Beta-released hardware (versus software) with the early adopters becoming even more of a bug on the windshield. We'll attempt to always be there because I think we can benefit the most with staying current with the latest technology and hopefully hand back to a less forgiving private profit-based sector companies some beneficial feedback.
As a next step, though,we'll probably wait a while on the RTC360 though until it becomes clear that it is NOT the same kind of Semi-release of a half-done product (both software, firmware and hardware?) that the BLK360 was.
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Re: Leica BLK360 - Have We Wasted Our Money With It?

Post by Scott » Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:42 pm

Steve,
Thanks for the very thorough (and thoughtful) comments concerning the BLK360, Leica and Autodesk collaborations, and the general marketing of complex technologies!
Last edited by Scott on Mon Aug 13, 2018 9:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Leica BLK360 - Have We Wasted Our Money With It?

Post by Slewis33 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:49 pm

I initially did not care for the BLK360 but recently completed the below task and hit 9 total station located control points. 7 within .03', 1 at .043', and 1 that I new would be bad at .06'. IMHO Recap sucks and I do not bother using it, also make sure your firmware is up to date.

The point cloud was registered cloud to cloud with Register360 first then positioned on to the 9 control points. I was genuinely impressed.
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