What is Reverse Engineering?
Reverse engineering is the process of reproducing an object that has already been made by closely examining and analysing its dimensions and original construction. Essentially, reverse engineering involves breaking down the entire design and construction of an object to understand how you can rebuild it from scratch.
While reverse engineering is far from new – its been used in mechanical, electronic, software, and chemical engineering for decades – improvements in technology has made the process much more efficient.
Computer Aided Design (CAD) is a perfect example of this, revolutionising the design, development and manufacturing processes in almost every type of engineering. When combined with 3D scanning technology, CAD can be used for efficient and cost-effective reverse engineering.
Using CAD to Reverse Engineer with Complex Geometrics
There are many instances where geometric data of an object is unavailable, making it very difficult to reproduce the product, in which case reverse engineering is needed using CAD. In other cases, geometric data is incredibly complex to gather, such as organically shaped or freeform objects, making it difficult to reverse engineer using CAD.
However, if 3D scanning is used the geometrics of any object can be gathered with the upmost accuracy. This data can then be used with CAD to reveal the surface dimensions, allowing for accurate reverse engineering for reproducing, adding design improvements, or even 3D printing.
Using CAD to Reverse Engineer in Manufacturing
CAD is widely used for reverse engineering in manufacturing. Using 3D scanning technology, companies can provide accurate CAD models on almost any manufactured object. This works by scanning the entire surface dimension of the object to obtain precise data of the object, which is then used to recreate a 3D image of the object with CAD.
The resulting CAD model can be used for a variety of reverse engineering processes in the manufacturing industry, such as analysing the original design, rebuilding using the original dimensions, or making design improvements for modern manufacturing.
Using CAD to Reverse Engineer for Design Improvement
One of the more modern uses of CAD reverse engineering is to completely redesign objects that may not have aged too well. Many manufacturers use CAD to improve designs of new products too, highlighting the versatility that makes the process so invaluable.
For example, 3D scanning an object and creating a CAD model allows you to identify design flaws on dated products, while it can also be used to highlight design flaws on objects that are yet to be manufactured.