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Taking a Closer Look at CMM Reverse Engineering

cmm reverse engineering

CMM reverse engineering is a method of creating a 3D virtual model from an existing physical part for use in 3D computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), computer-aided engineering (CAE), or other software. The process involves measuring an object and then reconstructing it as a 3D model. Its uses include cost estimation, supplying documentation, analysing product functionality and subcomponents, and identifying potential infringement against any patents that exist.

The Process

The reverse engineering process always begins by analysing the intricacies of the part in question and defining what needs replicating. Following this, physical data is captured through state-of-the-art laser scanning technology creating . The next stage is to process this data, refine it, and then produce the model in the format required. Finally, the reverse-engineered CAD model is then reviewed and verified to ensure it is accurate per the measured data.

Application Example

There are lots of occasions when reverse engineering is essential in industries such as Aerospace, Automotive, Defence, Motorsport, Oil and Gas and more.

  • Automotive: Design sheet metal die tools that were hand-worked and have no digital record, digitise hand-made clay models at design studios.

Frequently Asked Reverse Engineering Questions

CMM reverse engineering is used across many manufacturing industries however many don’t fully understand the concept and what can and can’t be achieved. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we encounter when discussing reverse engineering with potential customers…

Do you require the physical part?
Yes, the physical part is always needed at first but only for the data collection phase. This phase only makes for a small portion of the total project time and 90% of the process generally occurs digitally.

Can drawings be directly produced for manufacturing?
No, additional steps are required before manufacturing can occur. It’s important to remember that reverse engineering is NOT engineering and without additional information, we are not able to derive tolerances nor nominal values. Once the reverse engineering process is complete, additional considerations will be needed to apply manufacturing tolerances.

Is it possible to reverse engineer the internal features of a part?
Yes, internal cavities can be captured and modelled. At Status, we’re able to reverse engineer all internal features (destructively) once the entire part has been digitised. The part is then split to expose internal cavities.

Will the reverse-engineered model be an exact replica of the original part?
No, it will have slight differences from the physical model.

Do I need a reverse engineering service to create a replica part?
No, it isn’t always necessary to replicate a part through reverse engineering. Instead, parts can be replicated by digitising the original into an STL model and then getting it 3D printed.

Reverse Engineering Solutions at Status

Here at Status, we’re a full-service metrology partner. Our fully-trained metrology experts and cutting-edge scanning technology enable us to provide exceptional reverse engineering services for a range of or on-site at your premises using the latest portable technology. We’ve provided reverse engineering solutions for customers across the Automotive, Aerospace, Defence, Oil and Gas, Marine, Precision Engineering industries and more.

Ready to take a closer look? Get in touch with us today on 0115 939 2228, send an email to or complete your details on our enquiry form: