Inside Brainiac: FR-S/BRZ and 350Z Laser Scanning

Last week was extra busy at Workshop 12 as we began the process of 3D laser scanning the Scion FR-S and the 2002-2005 Nissan 350Z dashboards in preparation for designing the 10.1″ Brainiac screen trim kit.  Even though the climate control specifics are different between the Toyota FR-S and the Subaru BRZ, they share the same dashboard and trim mounting locations which is a big bonus.

We were lucky enough to have different members of the local community step up and offer their vehicles for for scanning.  We even had Don Valley North Toyota provide us both a vehicle and also a location in the dealership to perform the scanning!


The process of 3D laser scanning each vehicle is essentially the same.  First apply the target stickers to get a surface scan of the dashboard as you would normally see it.  Then remove the necessary trim pieces in order to then scan the inner cavity of the dashboard as well as the trim pieces themselves.



There are times when the gloss of the plastic trim piece actually causes difficulties with the laser.  In these circumstances a spray on powder is applied to the part to remove the gloss and provide an accurate scan.  Once the scanning is complete the powder is simply wiped off.

We want the Brainiac 10.1″ installation process to be as straightforward as any other aftermarket stereo installation.  This means ensuring that the trim pieces have a factory fit and a design that looks like it should have been an OEM option at the time of purchase.  As we remove the trim pieces from the dashboard we record how everything was originally engineered and also look at the design language of the vehicle.



Laser scanning is the first step in the process ensuring that we capture the absolute most accurate measurements to create an OEM fit.  The second step is to then move through the more artistic portion.  Deciding how the new trim pieces should be created to fit in with the existing design language of the vehicle.

We’ll be sharing details of these steps for both the FR-S/BRZ and 350Z along the way just like we did with the WRX/STI trim pieces.  This will give you an opportunity to provide your feedback along the way and be part of the process 🙂

Here’s a quick timelapse recap of the FR-S scanning day:

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