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The Prototyping Blog

the prototyping blog

No CAD Model? No Problem!

Posted by Molly Skiba on Mar 15, 2019

If you need a mold for an existing plastic part but don't have a CAD model or design prints, you're not out of luck. The Engineering Resource Center offers reverse engineering services to recreate molds for even the most complex parts. 

What Is Reverse Engineering?

Reverse engineering is defined as "the reproduction of a manufacturer's product following detailed examination of its construction or composition." This service is often used to recreate molds for plastic parts when the original design files or CAD model have been lost or never existed. 

CAD model

How Does Reverse Engineering Work?

Reverse engineering is accomplished by way of CT scanning. First, the existing part is scanned with a FARO ScanArm to generate a digital point cloud. The digital point cloud is then processed and analyzed with a software to stitch together surfaces to create a usable CAD model. The CAD model can be manipulated from that point if any necessary design changes need to be made.

Once we get a usable CAD model, it's business as usual. We will design & cut your new mold to recreate your precise part design. 

How Accurate Is It?

Our reverse engineering partners have advanced technology to handle even the most complicated parts, down to .002".

Who Uses The ERC's Reverse Engineering Service?

We have had customers in the service industry use this service to rebuild damaged molds for parts that were originally developed without a CAD model. 

For example, a large manufacturing company in the service industry once contacted us with a request to recreate a historic part that was still in production after 50 years. The existing mold had become damaged and no original CAD files ever existed. The manufacturer was challenged with fulfilling urgent orders for parts that could no longer be made with the existing mold.
 

Our engineers knew they would have to reverse engineer the mold. We used CT scanning to gather the necessary insight to create a CAD design that we were then able to use to re-create the mold. This fast and nondestructive approach also helped identify design issues and ensure highly accurate, detailed measurements. 

Need to use our reverse engineering service to recreate a mold for your plastic parts? Contact our engineers to get started!