Reverse Engineering, Scan to CAD

Hydroforming Apr 21, 2020

Reverse engineering is the duplication of an existing component or product through analysis of the part itself, rather than drawings, documentation or computer models. When reverse engineering metal components, experts use a laser scanning system to capture a part’s dimensions, features and material properties in order to replicate or improve upon the design.

How Does Reverse Engineering Work?

Reverse engineering is made possible by 3D scanning technology and 3D computer-aided design (3D CAD). Together, these technologies can create virtual models of almost anything.

There are two kinds of scanning systems: contact 3D scanners and non-contact 3D scanners. Contact 3D scanners, or coordinate measuring machines (CMM), take measurements of a part using a bridge-mounted arm and touch probe. Once the benchmark of accuracy in the industry, CMM’s have since been overtaken by non-contact 3D scanners that use lasers or structured lights for maximum accuracy.

3D laser scanners make the process of reverse engineering faster, simpler and more precise than contact 3D scanners. Laser scanning removes the inconsistencies of manual measuring because it can collect over one million 3D coordinate points per second without any physical contact with the object. Additionally, laser scanning allows engineers to scan a full product at one time, without separating parts into subcomponents. Using the data points from the laser scanner, an expert will create a professional and editable 3D CAD model that uncovers valuable information about the makeup and design of the part.

Why Do Manufacturers Reverse Engineer Metal Parts?

Research and Development
Instead of building entirely new products from scratch, designers can improve existing designs through Scan to CAD. Digital prototyping through reverse engineering leads to shorter timelines and reduced costs in the product development cycle.

If design data is not readily available or the OEM is out of business, manufacturers rely on reverse engineering to produce or modify the existing product. This dilemma is very common, especially in the aerospace, automotive, and home electronic product industries.

Reverse engineering can reveal an existing part’s weak points, allowing engineers to redesign with product vulnerabilities in mind. At Jones Metal Products, we go a step further and produce a 2D print for our customers so that tolerances can be listed for critical areas.

Experts at Jones Metal Products use a laser scanning system to reverse engineer your metal parts to extremely accurate CAD models for analysis, reproduction, redesign and more. Partner with us for access to a wide array of cutting-edge in-house technical services. Give us a call at 888-868-6535.


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