Reverse Engineering

Bringing products back to life

Physical DigitalĀ® provides a range of services to support the recreation of 3D scan data into CAD models enabling analysis, optimisation and remanufacture of components and assemblies. Supported by the highest quality measurement data, specialist software and unrivalled industry experience, we can provide viable solutions to your needs.

Computer Aided Design enables reverse engineering

What is reverse engineering?

In mechanical engineering, the term reverse engineering (often abbreviated to RE) is used to summarise the process of reconstructing an object that already exists. The process begins with our designers working with the finished product and following through the design process in reverse, resulting in the dimensions and specification attributed to the original object, known as design intent. During this process, vital information about the geometry, size material and manufacturing methods is discovered.

RE is beneficial across a number of areas, including competitor analysis, legacy component reproduction or Original Equipment Manufacturer testing and investigation. It is most often used when the original manufacturing drawings no longer exist, or as manufactured parts require assessment and development.

Cutting edge CAD systems

The process begins by obtaining the dimensional information of the object, whether it is a mechanical component or freeform surface, the process is the same. In order to gather this data, the object must first be accurately digitised to create a digital copy of the object using our 3D measurement system, ensuring that the fine detail is captured.

Our experienced designers then use cutting edge Computer Aided Design (CAD) software packages to create, design and manipulate 2D and 3D digital models of the physical objects ready for analysis, design optimisation or manufacture.

More on reverse engineering

Reverse engineering for complex geometries

Where there is no information about the dimensions of an object except for the physical item itself, the quickest and most reliable way to reproduce it will be by reverse engineering. Where a product is freeform or organic in shape (a non-geometrical shape), designing in CAD may be challenging as it can be difficult to ensure that the CAD model will be acceptably close to the sculpted part.

We use powerful software to reverse engineer the surface to closely follow the physical model surface within the required deviation. Depending on the downstream application for the CAD model, different types of surfaces can be created, optimised for redesign, remanufacture, analysis, evaluation or 3D printing.

Reverse engineering for manufacturing

Using reverse engineering, we are able to provide you with a CAD model and/or manufacturing drawings either as scanned, or meeting a design intent. The design intent could be an interpretation of the original part. Or modified to suit more up to date methods of manufacture such as additive manufacturing, vacuum casting or computer numerical control (CNC) machining advances.

Design and reverse engineering

Reverse engineering it is often an opportunity to improve the product. The process often highlights faults in either the design of the part or assembly. Our experienced designers are able to identify areas for improvement and rectify as part of the reverse engineering task, giving even greater value to our client.

Specialist software and file types

Our team works with a number of specialist software suites, most notably Siemens NX (.Prt), which is a widely used cutting-edge CAD software. Additionally utilising powerful tools such as Geomagic Design X for advanced surfacing functions.

We are able to complete reverse engineering work in the following, providing a range of formatting options for export: SolidWorks (X_t), Catia V5 (.Catpart), Pro Engineer (.prt ), Rhino (3dm), AutoCAD (dwg/dxf), and Open Formats (.IGES / .Step / JT Open/ 3D PDF).

Related case studies

West Surrey Racing

Design Studio Scanning

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