MicroScribe 3DLX - Gathering Data

This page describes how to collect data using the MicroScribe. Specifically, it addresses how to retrieve data points directly into Pro/ENGINEER using the Unix set-up or by using a PC to retrieve data into a MS Windows program.






getting data




The MicroScribe can be used to directly input Datum Points in Pro/ENGINEER. This is done using the existing Pro/ENGINEER functionality of Feature|Create|Datum|Point|Offset Csys|Enter. Normally, you would need to enter the x, y, z coordinates manually. With the MicroScribe, you can enter the point data by using the foot pedal. These Datum Points are then used to create Surface Features or Datum Curves. The following procedure outlines the general steps to create Datum Points using the Microscribe-3D.

Initial Conditions

  • Unix workstation on and user logged into HOME directory (i.e. /usr/people/jonesp).
  • Software installed in "pro_scribe" directory (i.e. /usr/people/jonesp/pro_scribe).
  • MicroScribe connected via serial cable and turned off.
  • Stylus in Home Location. (Figure 1.1)
  • Events file configured.
  • Config.pro configured.
  • Pro/ENGINEER started.
Home Position Note: The unit should be placed so that the cables are pointing away from the user. The stylus should be in the Home Location with the counterweights to the left of center and the stylus to the right . This would be the typical set-up for right-handed users.


  • Turn the Power Switch to On.
  • Change to the pro_scribe directory.
  • Start the MicroScribe software by typing the following:
    • mxse
  • When the cross-hairs appear, pick inside the Pro/ENGINEER Message Window.
  • Set the origin by performing the following:
    • Pick Set Origin from the mxse menu.
    • Place the stylus point on the point where the origin will be. Press the footpedal.
    • Place the stylus point on a point on the x-axis. Press the footpedal.
    • Place the stylus point on a point on the y-axis. Press the footpedal.

      The z-axis is automatically formed according to the right-hand rule for cartesian coordinates.

Datum Point Creation

  • Start a new Pro/ENGINEER part or retrieve an existing part.
  • Ensure there is a coordinate system to use as a reference.
  • Select the following Pro/ENGINEER commands:
    • Feature
    • Create
    • Datum
    • Point
    • Offset Csys

      Pick the reference coordinate system. This coordinate system will be analogous to the origin you set previously with the scribe.

    • Cartesian
    • Enter Points

      Place the stylus at the point you want digitized and press the footpedal. The x,y,z coordinates will be entered into the Pro/ENGINEER Message Window and will allow you to enter more points. Simply press the footpedal at each point you want digitized. When you have completed all of your points, perform the following:

    • Press the enter key to quit entering points.
    • Select Done from the Point Array menu.

You may now use your datum points to create datum curves.



The MicroScribe can be used to input point data into virtually any Windows Program.. This is done by using the Inscribe program to get the data. Once it is configured, you merely need to press the footpedal, and the point information is automatically entered.

Initial Conditions

  • PC on
  • Software installed in pro_scribe directory (i.e. C:\pro_scribe) and unzipped.
  • Software configured correctly.
  • Stylus in Home Location. (Figure 1.1)
  • Appropriate Windows program started.

Data Creation

  • Place cursor to cell or window of software program being used.
  • Place stylus to point you want to digitize.
  • Press footpedal. The data should be entered as three columns.
  • Repeat for all of the points you want to digitize.
  • Save your file, and transfer to a Unix workstation for use in Pro/ENGINEER.

You may now use your datum points to create datum curves.