Misconceptions about Reverse Engineering

Published by CMMXYZ on May 22, 2019

One of the best ways to understand Reverse Engineering is to understand some misconceptions :

Can you produce drawings directly for manufacturing?

No, additional steps are required before manufacturing can occur. Reverse Engineering is NOT engineering, without additional information we are not able to derive tolerances nor nominal values (we can often assume rounded values), the feature is where it is. After the Reverse Engineering process, additional considerations are required to properly apply manufacturing tolerances.

Is the physical part necessary during the Reverse Engineering process?

Yes, but only during the data collection phase which typically accounts for a very small fraction of the total project time. The Reverse Engineering workflow always begins at the digitized model stage (this can be a combination of basic measured dimensions, a point cloud, and/or a polygonal model). Reverse Engineering generally occurs 90% digitally (without access to the part) and can often occur far beyond the time frame of digitizing the physical part.

I need a replica part; do I need to Reverse Engineer?

No, Reverse Engineering is not always necessary to replicate a part. Parts can be digitized into an STL model and 3D printed directly to produce replicas, bypassing the Reverse Engineering stage.

The Reverse Engineering model is 100% exact to the physical model.

Incorrect, the Reverse Engineering model will have slight differences from the physical model. Advanced forms of Reverse Engineering include optimizing surfaces to bring them into a more ideal state, such as flattening planar features, cleaning up edges of chips and burrs, perfecting hole shapes, etc.

You can only Reverse Engineer what you can see, internal features cannot be Reversed Engineered.

Incorrect, internal cavities can be captured and modeled. We can Reverse Engineer internal features (destructively) by first digitizing the whole part, splitting the part to expose internal cavities, digitizing the internals, and finally aligning all the data sets together. There are advanced techniques blending results from different digitizing devices (including a contact coordinate measuring machine) to capture features. A CT scan can also be used in conjunction with traditional digitizers to model internal features.

Reverse Engineering Defined

 Wikipedia defines Reverse Engineering as  “The process by which a man-made object is deconstructed to reveal its designs, architecture, or to extract knowledge from the object.” At CMMXYZ we are particularly focused on the second half of that definition: “… extract knowledge from the object.”

Our expert staff and state-of-the-art scanning equipment can quickly and easily obtain all the necessary data from your sample part then complete the Reverse Engineering utilizing the most innovative measurement software on the market. Visit the CMM Measurement Services page on our website to learn more!

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