Reverse Engineering


Reverse Engineering is defined as the analysis of a device or object to determine its structure or function.

Previous methods of doing this involved using various measuring devices to hand measure the part or parts and then recreating those dimensions in CAD. For simple parts, this works fine. But for complex surfaces, it is nearly impossible.

Help from 3D Scanning

3D scanning has made it possible to accomplish this task very quickly with high accuracy and affordability.

The laser scanner captures thousands of measurements per second and creates what is called “point cloud” data. This data is then converted to a mesh model such as .STL that can be used in downstream applications.

Direct uses of the mesh model:

  • Scale or mirror the file to make patterns for downstream processes such as Rapid Prototyping, RPM castings, or RTV tooling
  • Use the shaded image for archiving, catalog or WEB page development
  • Create tool paths to machine tooling or replicas
  • Make minor changes to the file for re-engineering the product

If major changes to the model need to be made, Absolute Geometries can create precise 3D surface models in IGES format or fully parametric CAD models from the 3D mesh model:

  • Captures design intent and design feature parameters
  • Full model history tree
  • Can be exported as a parametric solid model to a variety of CAD applications

Things Reverse Engineering are Useful In

  • Replicating parts that have no tooling or CAD data
  • Documenting existing architectural work
  • Documenting museum pieces
  • Crime Scene Investigation
  • Creating digital data of engineering mockups such as clay or wood
  • Creating 3D data files of the human face or figure
  • Medical Device fitting
  • Scaling of artist’s model
  • Packaging design

Benefits in Reverse Engineering

  • Higher accuracy on complex surfaces vs. hand measuring
  • Faster process compared to traditional methods
  • Replicate existing geometry quickly and inexpensively