Reverse Engineering

Reverse Engineering

As a leading provider of international metrology services for contact and non-contact measurement, 3D Scanners UK has a wealth of experience in Reverse Engineering and Metrology. Our hardware neutral stance allows us to select the correct measurement equipment for your specific requirements, enabling us to capture highly accurate data and in turn, reflect this accuracy in the data produced from Reverse Engineering.

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What is Reverse Engineering

Reverse Engineering is the process of recreating an existing object following detailed analysis of its construction or composition. Scan data is taken from the physical object to generate a robust CAD format which has the ability to re-engineer the original object.

What is Reverse Engineering
  • 3D Scanning

    3D Scanning

    Find out more about our 3D part scanning service

    Our 3D scanning services offer tailored measurement solutions that allow us to obtain data for whatever your purpose may be.

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  • Part inspection

    Part inspection

    We calculate the deviation

    We provide an inspection service that measures the deviation of your components from nominal.

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What we do

The process we follow for Reverse Engineering begins with aligning the collected data using PolyWorks|Inspector™. This process can vary largely dependent on the object’s features. With the data aligned, Reverse Engineering can begin using 4 simple steps based on the software solution used.

What we do

Create Curve Network

Create magnetised curves onto the polygonal model to delineate the features of the model, such as boundaries and fillets. Add additional curves to complete the curve network.

Generating and Fitting NURBS Patches

Generate NURBS patches from the curve network. Fit the NURBS patches to the underlying polygonal model. The patch flexibility can be adjusted to improve fitting error.

Review Results and Edit Curves and Patches

Review the surfacing results using colour maps. Check the fitting errors, positional & tangential deviations and the curvature map. Where necessary, edit the NURBS patches by customising fitting parameters, adding or editing curves, or using trimmed patches.

NURBS Model from Patches

Once editing is complete, a final fit operation using all NURBS patches for optimal results is recommended. The patches can then be used to generate a NURBS model, which may be exported as IGES or STEP files.

Reverse Engineering in a traditional CAD package using PolyWorks | Inspector™

Reverse Engineering in a  traditional CAD package using  PolyWorks | Inspector™

Feature Creation and Fitting

Features can be fitted onto the polygonal model, these include surface-based features like planes and cylinders, and curve-based features such as circles and slots. Polygonal model data can be selected for the desired region and features are then fitted. Different fit types can be used and constraining features may also be applied.

Measurement of Features

These created features may be analysed through measured values, providing an accurate value from which design intent is considered. Composite features can also provide additional measurement including distance, angle and pattern. These features can also be used to help orientate the model to a more convenient location within the co-ordinate system.

Cross-section Generation

Cross-sectional data is taken from the polygonal model and displayed as a 2D sketch. These cross sections can be created by anchoring on the polygonal model, numerically created within the active coordinate system or from objects, including the previously measured features. These sections can be made fully parametric (arcs, lines, circles and splines) with precise dimensions added to them, before exporting as fully constrained sections ready for CAD.

Import to a CAD Package

Parameterised cross-sections and features can be imported into a traditional CAD package and used as reference geometry for reverse engineering. Measured features such as cylinders and planes can be imported as surfaces and used as surface bodies or combined to produce a final CAD model.

What do I need to Reverse Engineer parts?

To reverse engineer an object we simply need scan data. If you don’t already have this there’s no need to worry, our data acquisition service can find the required data necessary to complete the job.

By using a detailed surface scanner, our metrology team can obtain the required data which allows us to get on with the job and deliver the desired CAD.

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Reasons for Reverse Engineering parts

  • When manufacturers no longer produce the part

    With no known dimensions, drawings or CAD, manufacturing a part becomes near impossible. However, this problem is solved through Reverse Engineering. By Reverse Engineering the original part and producing a CAD model, the manufacturing process can continue. This has proven especially useful where spare parts are required which are no longer made or cease to exist.

    Reverse Engineering can be used to produce CAD surfaces or a solid model - we are able to advise a suitable solution based on your requirements.

  • Unique parts or one-offs can be created digitally, allowing more of these to be produced

    Where a product is free form or unique in shape (a non-geometrical shape), designing in CAD can prove challenging when ensuring the CAD model is acceptably close to the sculpted part. Parts that contain multi-axis curvature are often difficult to model using traditional CAD methods. There are several tools that can be used to rectify faults within scan data, such as mesh manipulation tools which enable mesh reconstruction, smoothing vertices and hole filling.

    Using PolyWorks|Modeler™, the issue multi-axis curvature presents is overcome through a curve network and generating patches. With fitting tolerances, these NURBS surfaces may be modelled very closely to the scan data. PolyWorks|Modeler™ also provides an active deviation colour map allowing for tolerance changes and the fitting error to be measured.

  • Redesigning of components

    Design changes often require up-to-date CAD files for manufacturing. Reverse Engineering may be used to measure modified components and produce an accurate CAD model. Components are scanned using a detailed surface scanner which allows the collected scan data to be analysed within PolyWorks|Inspector™. Once aligned, features are created and subsequent measurements can be taken. Using cross section tools, IGES curves can be imported into traditional CAD packages and applied as a reference for sketching. Measurements taken within PolyWorks|Inspector™ may then be amended to fulfil design intent within the CAD package. This allows for changes to be made to the design and dimensions as well as rectifying any faults quickly and efficiently, resulting in reduced lead times and increased productivity.