This model is loosely based on the CMM (Coordinate Measuring Machine) that I run at work.
The probe tip (the tiny red ball at the end of the CMM's z-axis arm) is already selected. If you grab it and move it around, the rest of the machine will "follow". There are various constraints on the length of travel, etc.
CMM's are used to measure parts in a machine shop. But they can also be used for other purposes. If you have ever watched the "special features" on the Lord of the Rings DVD where they discuss how they did "Shelob", you will see how they made a plastic model of the spider, then used a machine similar to the one modeled here to "scan" the model and generate the data to make the mesh for Shelob.
There are features missing from this model. The probe mechanism should be on a "wrist" that allows it to turn to different angles. The latest CMM's also can have probe changers. One of these days I will get around to trying to make a "rigged" CMM with a wrist and probe changer.
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