WHAT IS REVERSE ENGINEERING? Reverse engineering is the process of duplicating an existing product without the aid of drawings, documentation, or computer models. In traditional engineering practices, the product designer creates a drawing to show how an object should be built and then the object is manufactured by following the design drawing. In reverse engineering, however, the steps are inverted. Engineers begin by identifying the system components and their interrelationships. The object is then taken apart to discover its structure, function, and operation. The duplication of the part is made possible by capturing the physical dimensions, features, and material properties. Next, a CAD drawing or other representation of the system is created and then a reproduction of the original system can be accurately created based on that drawing. WHEN TO REVERSE ENGINEER? There are many situations in which reverse engineering can be used to reduce costs, increase efficiency, and improve product quality: • Substituting an original part design that has inadequate or no documentation available • Redesigning a part to eliminate a bad feature or to reinforce good features • Analyzing competitor products • Supporting new modifications where original CAD Models cannot • Updating obsolete products with current technology • Updating or creating as-built documentation • Supplying a part with little downtime that is missioncritical to a system, reproduced in large quantities, or reflects a big investment • Performing fine element analysis or computational fluid dynamics on parts for which no design information is available Reverse engineering is an important discipline that can greatly extend the useful life of machines by allowing the machine owner to fabricate his or her own parts when the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) has discontinued the product and enable parts to be updated with new technology, redesigned to add new features, or even eliminate flaws. HOW CAN 3D MEASUREMENT IMPROVE THE PROCESS? To reverse engineer an object, you need to know its physical dimensions. Unless the dimensions are extremely precise, the reverse engineered product will not be an accurate reproduction of the original and may not function properly. The easiest, fastest, and most affordable way to measure parts and products for reverse engineering is with a lightweight Portable Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) that offers both contact and non-contact measurement. A Portable CMM can precisely measure dimensions either Through contact with the object or with a laser scanner. The data collected, also known as a point cloud, is converted into surfaces then exported to a CAD package for refinement, analysis, and generation of cut tool paths for CAM. The industry leading Portable CMM system is the FaroArm, an articulating measurement arm that captures dimensional data by hard probing the surface being measured. The FARO Laser Line Probe can be combined with the FaroArm to add laser scanning capabilities. The FARO Laser Line Probe is small enough to remain attached to the FaroArm so the system, known as a ScanArm, can operate as a contact (hard probing) or non-contact (scanning) device without any alterations to the machine itself. The ideal system is the newly released FARO Edge ScanArm HD. The new system is a breakthrough in laser scanning technology, providing: • Rapid scanning speed (nearly 4x faster than previous models) with a scan rate of up to 560,000 points/sec • Reliable, repeatable and highly accurate measurement data as a result of superior optical performance • Blue laser technology that reduces noise and provides high-definition data quality • Ability to seamlessly scan across diverse surface materials regardless of contrast, reflectivity or part complexity
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