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What is Reverse Engineering?

Reverse engineering is the process of starting with an existing physical component and taking the necessary steps to turn this into a digital file. This digital file can then be manufactured (3D printed or otherwise) to create additional copies of the original part.

This process is particularly useful where parts have become damaged and replacements are no longer available. Used alongside CAD, any imperfection or damage to the part can be fixed. We can also improve the design to ensure the same defect does not occur again.

A typical example of this is shown in the picture below, where the original gear (left) is missing teeth from the central part. This was 3D scanned and then finished in CAD to replace the missing teeth. The centre and right images show the gear replicated using both the MJF (middle) and SLA process (right).

For simple parts, reverse engineering can be completed by manually taking dimensions from the original part and transferring these into CAD. For more complex parts, 3D scanning can be used to create an exact copy of the original geometry.

If you are not sure which method is best for your project, do get in touch and we would be happy to discuss your requirements.


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