3D Laser Scanning in Reverse Engineering

Determining the three dimensional form of the object's shape plays a crucial role in virtually every step of the design and manufacturing process. When the concept was in its early development phase, its body was made out of wood, clay, or other accessible and flexible materials.

Today, such a practice still exists in the automotive design industry, but with more sophisticated methods like CAD services and 3D scanning, the practice has evolved.

Define Reverse Engineering

Reverse engineering is a kind of invention improving or sometimes by stealing & copying existing technology. An example of a self explanatory term is Reverse engineering, which is disassembling something and figuring out how it works before reassembling it. Some companies have imported products from other countries to reverse engineer and modify them.

Reverse Engineering Process

The process of reverse engineering includes more than just taking things apart; it also involves analyzing specifications and how they were manufactured. In order to determine physical properties of materials, it is important to generate data nearly identical to the original regarding dimensions and materials.

In addition to revealing its strengths, there can also be information about its weaknesses. By scanning an object or a product in 3D, you can compile all those valuable insights.

3D Scanning

3D scanners generate polygon meshes by combining laser and distance measurements. A laser triangulation system is used by some 3D scanning services to create a map of an object. By recording the time it takes for laser beams to hit a surface and return, others use time of flight systems to mirror an object's dimensions.

The data generated from a single scan cannot create a complete 3D model; a collection of scans based on a standard reference system is needed to produce a complete 3D model.

Importance of 3D Laser Scanning for Reverse Engineering

As companies can stay competitive despite the creativity of their competitors by using reverse engineering to deconstruct and identify specifications, they have an edge in the market.

Time & Cost Saving

3D laser scanning technology has risen as a result of the prominence of CAD in product development. Nowadays, most people are aware of the time & cost saving advantages of CAD design. With the advancement of technology, converting a paper sketch into a digital model is becoming easier and faster.


Prototyping is no longer necessary for improvements and refinements to the original idea. A virtual simulation can also allow products to be tested before a potential trial & error period is undertaken.

Using CAD

CAD and 3D laser scanning are common methods used by consumer product companies everywhere to integrate virtual product development into their workflows. By combining these technologies, companies can reverse engineer their own products quickly and accurately, allowing them to analyze the products of their competitors.

3D Laser Scanning Merits for Reverse Engineering

Accuracy Varying

Despite varying accuracy levels, 3D laser scanners produce much more accurate results than manual work. In nearly all cases, the device itself is faultless, regardless of the operator's precision. To minimize errors, consider working with professional electronics design services.

Low Intense Labor

In spite of the relatively high initial investment, 3D laser scanners should quickly pay for themselves. A digital model can be drawn without disassembling a product by hand. As an added bonus, reverse engineering using a 3D scanner and CAD takes much less time and effort. Getting consistent results saves companies money in the long run.

Fast Redesign

If you need to redesign a product or avoid copyright infringement issues, 3D laser scanning is the solution for you. By using an existing product to create a similar product, reverse engineering can save companies a lot of money on research and development.

3D Laser Scanning Application in Construction Industry

Construction has proven useful for 3D scanning technologies outside of product development. The dimensions and layout of a building must be accurately measured before builders dismantle it. The construction project can be better planned using CAD software by scanning the entire building and analyzing it in 3D. Alternately, you can take measurements at the site by hand or refer to blueprints.

Compare Structure Dimension

It is also possible to compare a physical structure's dimensions to the original plan by using a 3D laser scanner. The differences between the original CAD data and the full scan of a building should be readily apparent through cross referencing.

In order to verify the accuracy of the construction, scanning the structure at certain milestones would be a smarter approach. Performing a phase by phase comparison can prevent reworking or at least allow issues to be addressed immediately.

Error Checking

Inconsistencies between the actual structure and the CAD plan indicate an issue. The subsequent rework could cost the contractor a significant amount of money on top of the total budget if it turned out to be a risky mistake.

When the error is discovered after construction is supposed to be completed, it gets worse. There are a lot of risks related to 3D laser scanning, which makes it an expensive investment.

To learn more, watch the following video tutorial.

Video Source: TriMech Tech Tips Channel

Wrapping it Up

If the building in question was constructed many decades before CAD even existed, reverse engineering can be feasible on an existing structure, but it may not be practical.

Building a full size twin or adding a substantial structure to the building makes sense by reverse engineering. It would be easier to plan renovations based on the original CAD data if the building is relatively new.

3D Laser Scanning in Reverse Engineering