RE: Low Cost Reverse Engineering

From: Craig Dechtenberg (
Date: Mon Jun 16 2003 - 21:17:35 EEST

In choosing a reverse engineering solution, you will want to consider
the nature of the majority of the parts you will be reverse engineering
(particularly size and complexity), the accuracy you will require (for
most r/e applications it's not too strict), and what you will ultimately
wish to do with the data. For instance, if the parts you will be
reverse engineering are primarily defined by prismatic geometry (planes,
lines, circles, cylinders, etc.) or fairly continuous surfaces, then a
touch probe scanner will work well - such as a FaroArm (industrial
strength, high accuracy) or a Microscribe (for smaller parts, less
accurate). Using these types of devices also gives you the very
convenient ability to create native CAD geometry directly into CAD
software like SolidWorks or Rhino, using add-ons such as RevWorks or the
newly popular Scan2000 (

If, on the other hand, most of your parts have higher complexity and
detail, then a touch probe digitizer could be tedious, and a laser
scanner may be more efficient. Laser Design, Inc. (
has been making laser scanners for inspection and reverse engineering
for 15 years, and their portable scanners (PS series) are very accurate,
small and light weight, reasonably priced, and can do very small or very
large parts. Using a scanner, of course, yields a point cloud which you
will typically need to transform into some other format to be useful.
Geomagic Studio is great at making STL or surface models from the point
data, or (as mentioned previously) Rhino can import the point data
directly. However, you will still probably want to get at least the
Geomagic Capture module, which is used to collect, filter, edit, and
combine scanned data before sending it elsewhere.

These are just some general guidelines ... hope that's helpful.

Craig Dechtenberg
3D Output, Inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Henry Sommer
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2003 9:01 PM
Subject: RE: Low Cost Reverse Engineering

Get the free trail of Rhino and try it out. There is also a new and
young package out there that is around $5,000 called GSI studio. They
watch this list and will probably contact you. However, which one you
get depends on what you need to do. Imageware is the only one that can
do Class A work. If you get a scanner it will come with software that
will let you do alignment and manipulation of point or polygon data.

The Minolta products are good (relatively) low cost hardware that have
some software with them. I have seen demo units for sale before. Faro
arms are also low cost and portable. It all really depends on the
details of what you want to do and how you want to do it. The surfaser
is also low cost but I have never used one.

Henry Sommer

-----Original Message-----
From: []On
Behalf Of Ian Unwin
Sent: Friday, June 13, 2003 7:50 AM
Subject: Low Cost Reverse Engineering

Hi All
Within a larger proposal submitted within the last few weeks, my
management have agreed to allow me to set up a reverse engineering
capability. Unfortunately I wasn't successful in getting the full amount
of money requested in my proposal so I am having to readdress how I
demonstrate the benefits of RE in-house.

In my previous job I used a combination of Imageware Surfacer, Raindrop
Geomagic Studio, Solidworks and Magics to produce RP masters for
silicone tooling. However, some of these software packages are expensive
- namely Surfacer and Studio. Can anyone recommend cheaper alternatives.

I was maybe thinking about using Rhino3D (as it states that it can
import point data - probably small data sets only) for surfacing and
Soldiworks for solid modelling - any comments?

Also any views on low cost data capture devices (inc. used equip) -
accurate enough for general RE of mechanical / consumer type components
- would need to be portable. Regards

Ian Unwin
ES&CM Business Group
S&E Spectrum Solutions
Room C29D
Malvern Technology Centre
St Andrews Road
Worcestershire WR14 3PS
United Kingdom
T +44 (0)1684 896730
F +44 (0)1684 894803
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