Reverse Engineering Your Laser Scanners Are Bad (And You Should Feel Bad)

X-ray computed tomography

There are a number of 3D scanning companies offering what they call reverse engineering services. These 3D scanning companies have perfected their pitch. No doubt you’ll hear about the exciting new laser scanner they just acquired, or how their software can instantly create complete CAD models straight from their scan data. So far as non destructive testing goes, these 3D laser scanning services offer one of the best methods available today.
But not the best. That distinction goes to industrial CT scanning.
If You’re Still Using Laser Scanning for Reverse Engineering, Then You Should Be Embarrassed
Yes, laser scanning has its uses, like as a value added service after a more thorough 3D inspection. Yes, 3D scanning companies using lasers can give you a complete CAD model for you to work with, reverse engineering the object piece by piece and pixel by pixel.
Of course, as any engineer will tell you, all the good stuff’s likely hidden away inside the part. If an object is important enough to demand reverse engineering, then the chances of acquiring enough useful data from the exterior surfaces only are slim indeed. Yet until recently there wasn’t a reliable way to inspect the internal makeup, density, or components of an object without destroying it in the process.
Today, industrial CT scanning lets you go where other 3D scanning companies can’t. And industrial CT scanning inspection services aren’t just useful as a form of reverse engineering. Already, design engineers are using this X-ray technology to reduce their first article inspection costs, inspect welds, wall thickness analyses, and more. Like in laser scanning, this form of NDT inspection can still create highly detailed CAD models.
Just like MRIs are the best way to create a 3D image of the human body, an industrial CT scan is the most reliable and accurate way to look inside an object. Period.
Although not as fast as laser scanning, CT scans provide far more useful data when reverse engineering. Focal sizes can be adjusted (from 200 microns down to just five microns) as needed, while objects of various sizes can be accommodated as well. It gives quality engineers and inspectors an unprecedented level of accuracy, plus the convenience that comes from working with a digital 3D model.
For reverse engineering, first article inspection, or any type of NDT inspection services, you won’t beat industrial CT scanning, at least now with the lasers used by most 3D scanning companies.