3D Printing

Reverse engineering in 3D printing

Reverse engineering has been one of the classic industrial applications of 3D printing technology for some time. In this article, we would therefore like to take a closer look at the concept of reverse engineering and its outstanding importance in connection with 3D printing.

What exactly does reverse engineering mean?

Literally translated, this term means “reverse development”. It is a process that aims to “revert” an object back to its original design plan by examining its structure, states, and its response to environmental changes.

Why is reverse engineering needed?

A classic application of reverse engineering is found in the replication of components for which no design data is (any longer) available, such as in older systems or vehicles.

Another application is the analysis of wear and tear of heavily stressed components.

The goal is usually a representation of the existing object that is as true to detail as possible, which usually takes the form of a 3D model of the original object. This often requires a more or less complete dismantling of the object.

From 3D scan to 3D print

In quite a few cases, however, dismantling can be replaced by a professional 3D scan. However, it is precisely these cases that interest us at this point. The prospects offered by the 3D scan technology not only significantly reduce the disassembly effort, but also significantly accelerate the entire reverse engineering process.

In the next step, 3D printing technology enables the data obtained in the 3D scan to be converted into a physical model quickly and inexpensively. The display models created in this way are often used to analyze the wear of heavily stressed components. In this way, for example, it is analyzed at which points a mechanical component in an engine wears out the most. The data obtained in this way can be implemented in the form of an improved model using 3D printing. This component, in turn, is either processed directly or subjected to further tests.

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“Copy” of components

Another case of reverse engineering is when no design data (any longer) is available for a component. As mentioned above, this is often the case with older vehicles or systems, for example in the area of ​​special machine construction. In these cases, the scanning of the model is used to obtain data for “copying” the component.

How can we help you?

Would you like to realize your own reverse engineering 3D printing project or are you interested in reverse engineering 3D printing? Contact us!

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