Reverse Engineering

Do you require updated drawings or models to create your company’s product or tooling design? We can help! Reverse Engineering (RE) is an extremely effective method to produce 3D CAD model or 2D drawings from an existing component. At Made to Measure, we can evaluate and measure every aspect of your component in order to develop the essential drawings & 3D models needed to manufacture it to the desired configuration. Using 3D laser scanning, along with touch probes, scanning probes, and hand tool measurements, we can readily replicate physical parts into digital models. Scanned data can show the components current state or can be used as a baseline for new product development.

With Reverse Engineering you can:

  • Establish a reliable 3D CAD Model
  • Reproduce an outdated or obsolete part or product
  • Advance your team’s product or part development
  • Investigate design that can be improved or modified
  • Innovate an existing part or product design
  • Repair obsolete equipment

How does the Reverse Engineering process work?

1. Analysis of the Part and Deliverables Before we provide an estimate, our Metrologists analyze the intricacies of the component and the deliverables required by the customer to ensure we can meet their requirements for output and accuracy. Additionally, the Metrologists review the project deliverables against our capabilities to develop the best possible solution. If the objectives don’t align with our core competencies, the Metrologist will recommend not taking on the project.

2. Capturing Physical Part Data – After we analyze the part, we capture the measurement data needed to create the 3D model utilizing either a CMM-based Nikon laser scanning system or our hand-held Creaform MaxSHOT laser scanner. With these high-data, high-accuracy collection laser scanning devices, we can quickly and reliably collect the data to complete your model in a timely manner.

3. Data Processing and Model Creation – At this stage, the measurement data is edited and refined, tailored for the next step of the process. Based on the reverse engineering process required, the data is prepped for efficiency and accuracy. Lastly, factoring in the specific reverse engineering process, the measurement data is guided to create the output in the format the customer desires.

4. Final Review – Once complete, the Metrologists verify that the CAD model is accurate to the measured data. A comparison between the measured data and the CAD model is performed using the same color map analysis process that we use for inspection. If the results are deemed acceptable, the 3D model is sent to our customer to aid in new product development and manufacturing. With the verified model, we can also provide a 2D fully-dimensioned drawing

CAD Modeling

Laser scans produce a point cloud or a polygon mesh which is ideal for reproducing CAD models for tooling, molds, dies, products, and components. 3D Surface Modeling (also known as surfacing) places a surface on your point cloud of data, essentially building a new visual model for your product.

Made to Measure utilizes PTC Creo Parametric (formerly Pro Engineer), Solidworks, and GeoMagic Design-X modeling with conventional surfacing tools, as well as those included with the special Reverse Engineering Extension, to create a three-dimensional, fully-surfaced product on the screen, so you can visualize your product in its entirety. The extension allows our technicians to import point cloud data, transform it into a triangulated mesh model, and subsequently model both free-form and analytic surfaces, using the mesh model as a three-dimensional reference.

Reverse Engineering Services Can Include:

  • Updating or creating new 3D CAD Models
  • Producing 2D fully-dimensioned drawings
  • Generating Surface Models and Parametric Solid Models
  • STL file creation
  • NURBS file creation
  • Color Map analysis and report generation (Part of our Inspection Services)

Scanning for Reverse Engineering

The scanning process for reverse engineering yields outputs in 4 major categories. Each of these derivatives offer unique benefits, and as each customer’s situation is different, the deliverable is customized to meet their exact requirements. Check out the chart below to help understand the differences in each model and the applications they are best suited for.

Feature Based Model Point Cloud or “Raw Data” STL, Mesh, or Polygonal Model NURBS or Wrap Surface Model
Models Image Image Image Image
Characteristics • Highest quality model
• Design intent is generally applied
• Ideal data converted from scan data.
• Parametric solid model
• Manufacturing defects and
imperfections are ignored
• Class A surfaces
• Basic XYZ coordinate data
• Minimal data editing performed
• Basic building block on
which subsequent files are based.
• Can be used for inspection,
simulations, visualizations, &
3D printing.
• Model will contain imperfections
present in sample part.
• Captures as-built state
• Includes manufacturing defects
• Non Class-A surface finish
• Static IGES or STEP surface
• Patchwork of small surfaces
Applications • Modifications to the file are
going to be made
• 2D drawings capable
• Surface finish must be smooth
• Part will be incorporated into
an assembly
• Orthogonal or “engineered” parts
• Best suited for experienced individuals. • Good starting point for more
advanced reverse engineering options
• Nearly identical copies of
the original can be produced by additive manufacturing methods
• Need as-built state
• Designing parts to fit as-built
• Define an envelope to design
• Very good for free form shapes
such as hand formed surfaces,
artistic elements, and parts difficult
to model in standard CAD packages

Request a quote for your next Reverse Engineering project!