Reverse engineering is a technical process. That is to conduct reverse analysis and research on a project target product, to deduce and obtain the design elements such as the product's processing flow, organizational structure, functional performance specifications, etc., to produce products with similar functions.
What Is Reverse Engineering?
The traditional positive design process is to create new products from scratch, and then to the production and manufacturing stages. But what if the original CAD file is lost or the original CAD data of the part cannot be obtained? Therefore, with the development of technology, it was transformed to capture the appearance and size information of the finished product through 3D technology (such as 3D scanners, CT scanners, and three-coordinate measuring machines), and then reconstruct the CAD files of the original parts through 3D modeling services. (Surface reconstruction), also known as the reverse engineering process.
Reverse Engineering Requires a series of steps to gather precise information about product dimensions. Once collected, the data can be stored in a digital archive. Often, engineers enhance the design with new developments and innovations. Sometimes the design of the original model is completely copied.
Reverse Engineering is the process of dissecting the finished product to learn the functional specifications of materials and how to combine them. When a physical or manual model goes through the process of measuring → CAD data creation → 3D printing (RP output) or CAM output, it is called reverse engineering. This process can save time and cost in product development. To accelerate the timeliness and quality of product development, reverse engineering technology has been developed.
Phase 1: 3D Scanning Services
After using the 3D Scanner to scan the appearance size of the object, the point data of the object is generated, that is, the electronic file in STL format.
Phase 2: 3D Modeling Services
The scanned point data is used for point, line, and surface reverse 3D modeling service to reconstruct the surface data of the object appearance (surface modeling) to obtain the original CAD file (STEP file format).
Why Is Reverse Engineering Necessary?
- Lost original CAD file:
The original design file has been lost, damaged, and cannot be restored, or the data file cannot be opened and the format cannot be modified. At this time, the CAD file (3D scanning + reverse modeling) will be restored through 3D Scanner scanning and reverse 3D modeling to quickly obtain digital data.
- Differences in how products are designed:
In the past, designers may only do 2D graphic design, and then convert the data into 3D through CAD software; but now designers often make a 3D model by hand first, so a reverse engineering tool is required to convert this manual model into a 3D surface model, to facilitate the follow-up work.
- Analyze competing designs:
Analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of competitors' products, it is usually preferred to use 3D Scanner technology to extract dimensional information and represent this information as a point cloud or automatic real-time mesh to further improve the quality of its products.
- Accelerate R&D innovation:
Shorten product redesign time, and quickly capture design concepts through reverse engineering, replacing the traditional human eye redrawing time by hand.
- Product design moves towards freeform surface modeling:
At present, consumers' demand for products does not only consider functionality, but the appearance of products has also become an important factor for consumers to consider. However, due to the appearance created by the designer, if the traditional manufacturing method is used, the designer's concept may not be fully expressed, so it is necessary to use reverse engineering tools to meet the designer's requirements.
- To assist manufacturers in rapid production:
Manufacturers can use reverse engineering to quickly produce parts without purchasing expensive parts from OEMs with long lead times.
- It is not easy to obtain forward design data:
Based on commercial secrets, the original factory does not provide the original CAD data to the downstream manufacturers, but only provides the sample to the manufacturer, so it is necessary to restore the original CAD data through reverse engineering tools.
- Test positive design results:
Another important function of reverse engineering is the inspection of finished products, which is called CAV Computer-Aided Inspection (Computer-Aided Inspection). Generally, quality inspection only tests the part of the finished product. Through reverse engineering tools, a comprehensive quality inspection can be performed on the finished product, which improves the quality stability.
- Preventive Maintenance Program:
Reverse engineering can also be a key strategy in a manufacturer's proactive maintenance program. By reverse-engineering critical components, before they fail, manufacturers can stock spare parts and reduce unplanned downtime.
Common Reverse Engineering Application Timing:
- The original factory terminated the production of goods.
- The files or components provided by the original factory do not conform to the design and need to be remade.
- The original factory no longer exists, but consumers still need the goods.
- The original design has been lost, damaged, and cannot be restored, the data file cannot be opened, or the file format cannot be modified.
- Original design flaws that require improvement, such as thin or thick walls, require a process of digital modification and reproduction.
- To make the designed part last longer, the product must be modified by design.
- Analyze product strengths and weaknesses, or identify new developments through original designs.
- Optimizing design parts so that the designed product can be made new or remanufactured in a cheaper way.
- Analyze the advantages and disadvantages of competitors' products and further improve the quality of their products.
- New product sample development.
- Design of imitation and modification of products.
- Rapid mold making.
- Rapid prototyping.
- Digital inspection of products.
- Medical field tomography.
- Design and manufacture of clothing, helmets, etc.
- Reproduction of artworks, archaeological artifacts, etc.
Reverse engineering originated from hardware analysis in the commercial and military fields. Its purpose is to deduce the design principle of the product directly from the analysis of the finished product when the necessary production information cannot be easily obtained.
But on the other hand, reverse engineering may be mistaken for a serious infringement of intellectual property rights. But in practice, it may instead protect intellectual property owners. For example, in the field of integrated circuits, if a company is suspected of infringing intellectual property rights, reverse engineering techniques can be used to find evidence.