3D reverse engineering with 3D scanning
Interview with 3D technology expert Georgy Kazakevich
- If we want to understand what reverse engineering is, what do we need to know first?
- First of all, you need to understand what the task of 3D scanning consists of . This term is actually vague, because 3D scanning as such implies simply collecting information that needs to be processed. The raw data does not give us any practical result.
Remember what computer games were about fifteen to twenty years ago: a few pixels jump on a flat screen. Computers of that time could not calculate information more than by these few pixels. Over the past years, computing power has grown tremendously. Each of us has a mobile phone in our pocket, which is more powerful than the computer that counted the flight of Americans to the moon. So now, sitting at your desktop, you can process colossal arrays of information. And 3D scanning, as I said, is nothing but a collection of information.
- For what purpose are we collecting this information?
- To solve problems in two directions - geometry controland reverse engineering (reverse engineering). These are two completely independent processes, and they are usually dealt with by different departments. Reverse engineering is the mission of the design department. It is used if it is necessary to scale or change the geometry of the product, and there is no design documentation. The object is scanned, and based on the scan data, we get a CAD model that can be edited. That is, reverse engineering is, relatively speaking, the translation of a material object into digital form. But this is not only a borrowing, but also the ability to transfer a manually made object to drawings.
Reverse Engineering in Industrial Design in the Automotive Industry
- So reverse engineering isn't always copying?
- Yes, not always. And here we are dealing with industrial design. Take the auto industry . Firstly, car bodies are created by designers. Secondly, it is very important that the air flow is correctly distributed around the machine - this affects fuel economy. Naturally, there are digital models that allow blowing in a virtual wind tunnel and checking the body for streamlining. But any digital model is always an assumption. Cheaper scanning technology allows major manufacturers such as BMWor Mercedes, use it to develop new enclosures. They recreate a full-size model of the machine and blow it in a real pipe. After that, they can carry out some minor additional processing in order to achieve the optimal air flow pattern. Then the case is simply scanned and transferred to the CAD / CAM system. That is, from a real object we get a virtual one, which is then replicated. This is just a good example of the fact that reverse engineering is not only copying.
But if you talk about reverse engineering somewhere, there will certainly be people who say: “That's what they do in China. This is bad". Why it is bad, they cannot explain, and it makes no sense to argue with them. You just need to look at the indicators. The fact is that China is now one of the fastest growing economies in the world. For the past ten years, this country has been number one in the world for the use of 3D scanners .
Take the same BMW. You don’t have any drawings, but you can get them using a 3D scanner. Yes, of course, the production methodology will not be known to you, it will have to be developed. And this is another answer to those who say reverse engineering is just copying. In fact, this is just a hint in which direction to move. It is very important for a normal enterprise to develop production technology, and this costs much more money than to create a drawing.
The reverse engineering process
- Let's talk about what the reverse engineering process involves.
- It is graphically presented, starting with scanning and ending with testing the received part. Reverse engineering- This, of course, is not just receiving drawings. And even not so much getting the blueprints, but making them a certain part and understanding that you have achieved your goal.
As an example, we took the impeller, which is a component of the assembly used at oil and gas enterprises. Let's say this node is of foreign manufacture (which is very common). Since the oil and gas sector is now under sanctions, many enterprises are trying to independently produce spare parts for devices that were previously supplied from abroad. So, we have a node, it is working properly, but its impeller has broken. And we can’t buy a new one. If you buy domestic, then you have to change the entire periphery around. Accordingly, if there is the same node with a working impeller, we can scan it and create a 3D model in CAD. Then, depending on the desired production method, we either export the model to a CAM system to process it in a standard way on a CNC machine, or transfer it toadditive installation. In the second case, as we see, the production cycle is shortened. In addition, it must be understood that the export to the CAM system and the creation of the CAM model do not occur automatically (although there is special software for this). This is all human labor.
Lower part of the pump casing and its CAD model
- Please tell us about your practical experience in reverse engineering.
- I will mention several interesting projects carried out by experts of iQB Technologies.
For example, a pump housing. It is inside a certain assembly. There were problems with these bodies - they cracked and burst. Buying a new one means changing the entire periphery, which, of course, is much more expensive. It turned out that the lower part, on which the pump stands, bursts, possibly due to too much stress or poor-quality metal. At the same time, neither the inner nor the upper parts were damaged. At the request of the customer, we scanned the lower part of the case and made its CAD-model. Based on this model, the company makes its own part on its own and uses it as a spare part.
Reverse Transmission Housing Design
Another example. The customer provided us with a transmission case. The task was to get a CAD modeland drawings from a real transmission, which we did.
3D scanning and obtaining a 3D model of a lamppost base
And here you see a lamppost base that is familiar to all Muscovites. There is a project to replace all such socles in Moscow. It was required to obtain a model of a modern basement and make certain changes to it. We created a 3D model and completely digitized it. Why was this done? It was necessary to observe the exact dimensions, since under the sockets there is an electrician and various additional equipment. In addition, fasteners that close on the post will not be replaced. Thus, the design of the new basement using reverse engineering allowed us to minimize changes and, accordingly, reduce their costs.
Motorcycle crankcase protection
And finally, such a project. Our customers were collectors of rare motorcycles . If a breakdown occurs, parts must be ordered from abroad - in Russia they are almost impossible to buy. We received spare parts similar to damaged ones (taken from another motorcycle of the same model), or parts that often break. We scanned these parts, built a CAD model on them, and now they are manufactured in Russia.
To summarize: reverse engineering is when we have something physical, but no digital, and we transfer an object from the physical world to the digital one, where we can already refine it, prepare it for something, or simply send it to production.
IQB Technologies invites you to the exhibition "Metalworking-2019" at the Expocentre Fairgrounds! We will present unique 3D solutions at our booth in Pavilion 5.1, as well as hold a practical conference with a demonstration of 3D scanning and modeling (May 29 from 11:00 to 14:00). Details and registration for the conference here .