How Many Types of 3D Scanners are Used for Reverse Engineering?

3D scanners have gained popularity as an indispensable tool for manufacturing and prototyping products. Reverse manufacturing is a popular way to replicate existing items or get a better understanding of them.

3D scanner reverse engineering has a lot of exciting potential for manufacturing companies. With all the 3D scanner options, how can you know which ones to choose? Here are some of the scanner types used for reverse engineering.

What Is Reverse Engineering?

Reverse engineering is the process of working backwards from a finished object to create a new item that matches the original object. It’s also often used to gain a better understanding of how something works.

Traditional reverse engineering involves using an existing machine or object as the design plan for a new object. The process often involves taking an item apart to see how it’s assembled and what it is made up of.

However, new 3D scanners have made reverse engineering easier than ever. They create accurate 3D models of items without the need for trial and error using CAD software.

How Can 3D Scanners Be Used for Reverse Engineering?

3D scanners create 3D models of the objects they scan. When it comes to reverse engineering components, this is a very useful ability. Once the scanner has created a model, engineering teams can view the results and even edit them.

The 3D mesh model has millions of points that capture an object’s shape and size.

Scanners can be used on items in a wide variety of sizes, and once they are rendered as 3D models, there are endless ways to use that data for production, research, and refinement of your next product.

What Is the 3D Scan Reverse Engineering Process?

Using a 3D scan is more efficient and more accurate than traditional reverse engineering.

Before scanning your item, you’ll need to cover any transparent or reflective parts of your item with something matte. This step is important because it ensures accurate results and prevents the scanning lasers from reflecting back at themselves, which could damage them.

After this, you can use your scanner to acquire data points in the shape of the item you’re scanning. The lasers will map out millions of points onto a digital mesh.

The next step is to refine your 3D scan and ensure it accurately reflects every detail of your prototype. Your first scan creates a general outline, but further scans fill in details until you’re left with a complete and accurate scan.

You can then use your accurate scan to create a 3D model that you can tweak or use as is.

Which 3D Scanners are Best for Reverse Engineering?

There are several types of 3D scanners available, and they each have their strengths.

Laser-based 3D scanners are some of the most reliable and widely-used options, and they use lasers to capture millions of points on a given object that can be used to make accurate measurements. Many of them are portable, as well.

Other 3D scanners use structured light to measure objects. They project a grid of lights onto the object being scanned, and the grid allows the scanner to measure distances. This option may require more preparation and specific lighting.

Both options can be used for reverse engineering, and Tangent Solutions offers the latest technology to our clients. Contact us today to learn how we can help with your next project!

Sean Kepler

Sean is lead engineer with his previous career stemming from mechanical engineering, automotive dynamics, and aerospace. Pulling from real-world experience, he has over 15 years of experience as a designer and in fabrication. Before creating Tangent Solutions, Sean was the lead designer for many winning off-road race teams as well as mass-market production companies

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About Tangent Solutions

Tangent Solutions offers the latest in 3D scanning technology paired with 15 years of CAD design experience, to bring your ideas to reality. Our team specializes in reverse engineering and data verification.