Reverse Engineering & CAD

Reverse Engineering & CAD

Reverse engineering and CAD design

Using industry's most accurate 3D scanning data

Physical Digital® has over a decade of experience providing high quality reverse engineered components and assemblies for analysis and remanufacture.

Reverse engineering is the process of creating a computer aided design (CAD) model from scan data of a physical part or object. This process is sometimes required to convert the measured data, which can consist of millions of individual planar polygons, into models based on geometrical and complex curved surfaces. The process can be divided into 3 categories:

1.     Geometric - Design Intent

Using the scan data as a guide, key design decisions can be made in order to reproduce a component as it was originally designed. This includes the creation of features and surfaces based on geometric primitives, lines, arcs and optimised splines.  Reverse engineering models created using this method ensure geometrical constraint such as perpendicularity and concentricity of features along with exact dimensions and angles and the ability to recreate draft angles and material stock ready for remanufacture.  This method is typically used for mechanical components that require machining, manufacturing drawings and tolerances. Geometric models can be created using history based parametric or solid modelling, with the ability to generate 2D manufacturing drawings.

  Reverse Engineering Design Intent

2.    Freeform - As Manufactured

Components can be reverse engineered exactly as manufactured, using Non-uniform Rational B-splines (NURBS) surfacing to replicate scan data accurately. Applications for this method include organic shapes, human interfacing components, complex shapes for analysis and some cast surfaces.

Freeform surfaces can be used for remanufacture of components and for analysis, including Computational Fluid Dynamics and Finite Element Analysis.  A combination of Geometric CAD and NURBS surfaces can be used to create the desired reverse engineering model.

Reverse Engineering NURBS

 3.   Hybrid Modelling  

Using a combination of geometric and freeform surfaces can provide a powerful method of 3D modelling. Areas of freeform data can be combined with exact geometric surfaces to create a hybrid model. A typical example of this would be the reverse engineering of a cylinder head, which includes freeform cast features, such as water jackets and high tolerance machined areas. 

Reverse Engineering Engine

Areas of Application:   

  • Tool-making and modifications

  • Design and prototyping

  • Enhancement and material changes

  • Rapid milling and machining

  • Research and development

CAD Formats:

All common CAD systems are supported and files can be exported in any of the following formats: 

  • SolidWorks (X_t) 

  • Siemens NX (.Prt)

  • Catia V5 (.Catpart)

  • Pro Engineer (.prt )

  • Rhino (3dm)

  • AutoCAD (dwg/dxf)                            

  • Open Formats (.IGES / .Step / JT Open/ 3D PDF) 

Example Reverse Engineering Projects 

Turbine Blade Re-Manufacture

Physical Digital completed a reverse engineering project of a gas turbine blade using fully parametric modelling.  3D CAD models were produced with a large sample of scanned components, including data sampling and statistical analysis of data to define the design intent. Machining and casting models were produced for remanufacture in nickel based alloys, along with fully dimensioned 2D manufacturing drawings. 

Reverse Engineering Turbine

Automotive Design Studio 3D Scanning

Physical Digital supports most of the UK OEM automotive design studios.  Handmade clay models are accurately scanned at regular intervals, recording any design changes. Using freeform reverse engineering these modifications can be evaluated for aerodynamics in wind tunnel simulation while allowing concurrent non aesthetic engineering to continue. 

Automotive Turbo - Reverse Engineering

Reverse Engineering Design Studio

Using a combination of 3D scanning and computed tomography, Physical Digital reverse engineered an automotive turbo charger in order to carry out flow analysis.  Freeform surfaces were created for use in computational fluid dynamics (CFD). This process enables the evaluation of the manufactured component, which could not be achieved using any other method. 

Reverse Engineering Turbo

Talk to us about our reverse engineering expertise and get a free quote today.

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