r e v e r s e  e n g i n e e r i n g

3 d  s c a n


What you want/need to know about reverse engineering

A 3D Scan of an object using a laser scanner produces a collection of points with a certain density (which depends on the used equipment). This collection of points is usually called a Point Cloud. In order to be able to use these data, the points have to be interconnected, and form a triangle mesh. This step is mostly done by dedicated scan software. The mesh can be further processed within Rhino 5. This process involves mesh repair, mesh correction.

In order to manipulate and correct measurements, the mesh has to be turned into a NURBS model. The easiest way to do that is by using a plugin, which automates certain Rhino routines. The created model can then be printed or milled.

This sequence from scan to fab is called reverse engineering.


Reverse engineering in Rhino is not the easiest thing, and utterly time consuming. Luckily adequate software is available. The two best plugins are Mesh2Surface and RhinoResurf,  simplifying reverse engineering tasks in Rhinoceros. The plugins help engineers and designers to convert digitized objects – point clouds & meshes – to printable and millable models.

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Mesh2Surface streamlines and optimizes converting scanned data into a perfect NURBS model. The tools available are:  Fit basic primitives; Revolved and extruded surfaces; Advanced editing of profile for revolved and extruded surfaces; Segment meshes based on fillet areas; Measure the fillet radius; Constraint extracted shapes; Find the symmetry of the object; Align an object to the world coordinate system; Build best fit free form surface from part of the mesh; Create curve based free form surface; Deviation analyzer. Mesh2Surface does it all.

For instruction videos, click here

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RhinoResurf for Rhino, a reverse engineering tool that gives Rhino the ability to reconstruct NURBS surface(s) from mesh or point cloud with specified precision. RhinoResurf also provide features for free-form surface modeling from polygon lines or meshes.

RhinoResurf is designed in a way that the plugin is very user friendly, and easy to understand. Once loaded manually on first use, it will automatically load itself into the Rhino environment later. The new commands will be added to Rhino’s existing commands, and a new submenu called RhinoResurf will be created.

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NextEngine HD Desktop Scanner

NextEngine‘s desktop scanner is an affordable tool, with unprecedented specs. At 100 micron or 0.1 mm accuracy, it is top in its class. The data the scanner produces are clean, scanning fast and precise. The all-new electro-optical architecture and sophisticated new algorithms use an array of lasers to scan in parallel sweeps. The secret behind this big change is new technology developed by NextEngine.

The optional multi-drive makes it possible to scan an object in one go. Two axis make the drive turning and tumbling, giving the scanner an unobstructed view of all sides of the scanned object. The sophisticated scan software takes care of the rest.

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Included standard with every Scanner is NextEngine’s powerful ScanStudio application. ProScan is an essential software upgrade to the standard ScanStudio user interface. This additional software expands the Scanner’s speed and range. New algorithms enables the laser array to sweep twice as fast, while still capturing all of the same detail. Delivers two times as many points per second. A new longer range scanning mode with an ultra-wide field scans larger areas in a single pass. Larger objects can be captured with fewer scans, saving time and effort. The raw point output density increases from 100 to more than 400 points per mm2 in macro mode, with up to twenty million 3D points per object to create highly detailed digital models.

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HDI 109

The HDI 100 series of 3D scanners is the most compact, advanced 3D scanning system using blue LED projection technology available on the market today. Designed for demanding industrial applications that require accurate and repeatable 3D scanning results (down to 34 microns with HDI 109, 60 micron with HDI 120), the HDI 100 series is ideal for reverse engineering, rapid protoyping and 3D inspection, measurement, and visualization.

The IP67 qualification means that the scanners can survive in a dusty or wet environment. Ideal, reasonably priced for outside and industrial scan jobs. Download the datasheet here.

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HDI 120

By connecting multiple HDI 3D scanners to a single PC, you can automate the 3D scanning process. The system
generates complete digital 3D models without any motion control to reduce scanning time.

Using the included FlexScan3D software, you can process the data directly at the capturing stage with
built-in data editing, alignment, and merging capabilities without exporting to a separate post-processing software
application. The final output can be exported into different file formats depending on your needs: PLY, OBJ, STL, ASC, FBX, 3D3. Download the datasheet here

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