A technology that helps close the gulf between the oft-separate
realms of design and manufacturing was on display here at IMTS 2008 in
Engine showed off a low-cost reverse engineering system that drove a
machining center in the MAG Industrial System booth.
The Next Engine system includes the company's 3-D scanner, which
sells for just $2,495. And Next Engine also bundles in sophisticated reverse
engineering software for another $2,495. According to Paul Noceti, a Next
Engine applications engineer, the reverse engineering software is a custom
implementation of Rapidform, which usually goes for about
$20,000 per seat.
In its demo
at the IMTS show, Next Engine used its scanner and the software to reverse
engineer a model of a Ferrari – a toy really. The Next Engine imaging system
first scanned the model, capturing 40,000 points per sq inch with an
accuracy of 0.005 inch.
was then run through the reverse engineering software, which Next Engine
markets as Rapidworks. The resulting CAD model of the part next went into CAM
software to generate tool paths for the MAG machining center, which then
machined an aluminum version of the Ferrari model. All these steps, which
normally consume their share of engineering time, took place right there on the
aside, this whole process is pretty standard stuff when it comes to reverse engineering – until
you consider the price, which is a fraction of what most reverse engineering
systems cost. "What's significant is the cost and ease-of-use," says Noceti.
"Our system opens up reverse engineering technology to a much wider user base."
Scroll down to watch Next Engine's reverse engineering in action!