Why might you need to reverse engineer an object?

Reverse engineering is the analysis of an object to deduce design features where there is little or no additional knowledge about the procedures involved in their original production. Also referred to as back engineering, many industries use the technique to deconstruct man-made objects to extract knowledge and reveal an object’s core design.

By measuring a part using data captured by 3D scanning systems, components and products can be reverse engineered for further engineering or the re-manufacture of existing parts by creating a CAD model to reflect how it was originally designed.

Some companies simply want to create a copy of a legacy object or make some changes to it, but reverse engineering can also be used to analyse the production methods and design of a competitor’s product. Overall, reverse engineering can save a lot of time and money so businesses don’t need to worry about sourcing legacy files as it’s possible to create a new design file through a 3D scan. This process can also help to detect and fix a production fault or vulnerability and ultimately reduces the time and final cost of production.

Which industries benefit?

Reverse engineering is applicable in many fields: aerospace, automotive, creative, energy, medical, plastic parts and tool making to name a few. For example, in toolmaking, where parts are obsolete or original spares are no longer available or fit for purpose, all parts can be reverse engineered for an improved performance. The technique is also widespread in the automotive industry, where designers attempt to construct ever-more complex shapes.

The Secret Cupboard

Central Scanning provided The Secret Cupboard who were producing a sci-fi music video titled ‘Not All She Seems’ and who were responsible for producing all of the visual FX shots, with a 3D scan of one of their armed guards for the purpose of reverse engineering a digital double. The process involved standing very still while a scan was taken from every angle using the Artec Eva.

The Secret Cupboard then created new topology which is optimised for animation, and mapped the details from the 3D scan onto it. This allowed them not only to increase the number of guards on screen but also do some really fun things digitally that would otherwise have been too dangerous to do for real.

How can Central Scanning help?

At Central Scanning, we can provide reverse engineering services to take a 3D scan and realise it as a CAD file ready for further modification, re-manufacture and CNC machining. We can input and output data in most industry used formats including: stl, .iges, .step, .asc, .xyz, .txt, .ply, .obj, .3ds, .wrl, .x_t. We have specialised software from a variety of manufacturers including: Polyworks, Geomagic, Rapidform, Rhino CAD, Solidworks and Delcam PowerSHAPE and we can transfer parametric models to the following programmes: Solidworks, Siemens NX, Pro/E, AutoCAD, Inventor, CATIA.

To find out more about our reverse engineering services, call 01527 558 282 or fill out a form to speak to one of our experts.

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