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Preliminary Assessment Of Different 3 D Scanning And Reverse Engineering Tools For Undergraduate Projects

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

CAD/CAM in Manufacturing Education

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

13.991.1 - 13.991.11



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Paper Authors


Atin Sinha Albany State University

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Atin Sinha is the Regents Engineering Professor and Coordinator of the Engineering Program at Albany State University. He received his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Tennessee Space Institute in 1984. He had worked in aeronautical research and industry (National Aerospace Laboratory-India, Learjet, Allied-Signal) for 12 years before moving to academia in 1990. He is a Registered Professional Engineer in Oklahoma. His current research interest is rapid prototyping and reverse engineering. He is also engaged in motivating undergraduate students in inquiry based learning through laboratory experimentation.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Preliminary Assessment of Different 3D Scanning and Reverse Engineering Tools for Undergraduate Projects Abstract

With the availability of affordable 3D scanners the process of reverse engineering has become more readily adaptable to a large number of manufacturing applications from medical devices to reconstruction of obsolete parts. The process constitutes of scanning the object, cleaning and merging the scans, patching holes to create 3D computer model, subsequently resizing or redesigning the part in a CAD environment before constructing the prototype. In order to introduce students to this emerging technology, the procedural steps are currently being worked out to introduce one or more undergraduate projects at a sophomore level engineering course with a new system consisting of 3D scanner, software, CAD tools and 3D printer.


During the last two decades, a collection of technologies known as Rapid Prototyping1 (RP) has evolved into a mature alternative form of manufacturing that has made significant inroad into various fields. In RP a physical part is created by an additive process driven by solid model definition created by CAD software. The RP technologies, Stereolithography, Selective Laser Sintering, Fused Deposition Modeling, Powder Binder Printing, vary in their choice of materials and processes as in cost and durability of the finished part. However, all RP technologies have significantly shorten the product development cycle from months to weeks by eliminating mold making, casting, finishing processes and directly develop the prototype for concept modeling, form and fit checking, functional testing etc. A new technology with more far reaching impact is emerging in the last few years which can generally be categorized as Reverse Engineering.

What is Reverse Engineering?

Reverse engineering has been defined by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) as the process of taking a finished product and reconstructing the design data in a format from which new parts or molds can be produced. The steps involved in a reverse engineering process can be classified as: obtaining and analyzing the dimensional data, creating the CAD model and transforming it into a prototype which can be checked against dimensional and functional requirement or improved further for new application. Traditionally reverse engineering can be performed by first creating a true 3D computer model in a CAD software such as SolidWorks, SolidEdge, Pro-Engineer etc. from the geometrical data obtained from the real life object by visual observation and direct measurement and then making the prototype. A process of reproducing a part for which no engineering drawing existed from data collected from Coordinate Measuring Machine to create computer definition that was fed into the CAD/CAM system has been described in the 1989 SME publication2.

A more recent technological innovation has made it possible for obtaining the geometrical data directly from a real life object by scanning it with a laser beam. Though there are fundamental differences among the 3-D scanners made by different manufacturers, all of them first make multiple scans (up to 10 or more) of the solid object from different angles and align them with

Sinha, A. (2008, June), Preliminary Assessment Of Different 3 D Scanning And Reverse Engineering Tools For Undergraduate Projects Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3615

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