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Reverse Engineering Tips and Tricks in Solid Edge

Siemens Valued Contributor Siemens Valued Contributor
Siemens Valued Contributor

Reverse engineering is becoming more accessible than ever to companies wishing to make use of legacy designs. With the rapid growth of high-resolution 3D scanners, even parts designed on the drawing board can be digitally represented and modified to suit contemporary designs without complete reconstruction. Powerful reverse engineering capabilities in Solid Edge allow you to produce products faster. This post demonstrates some tips and tricks to reverse engineering in Solid Edge.


Preview the STL file in Solid Edge file open dialog -

In Windows 10, go to the “Choose default apps by file type” setting and set 3D Viewer as the default app for STL files.

STL preview.pngAssigning 3D Viewer as the default app for STL files

This will enable the preview of STL files in windows explorer and Solid Edge file open dialog.

STL preview1.png


Make sure the STL file is opened with correct units -

STL files do not have units information embedded in them, so Solid Edge needs to know what units the STL file needs to be opened with. This can be done using the Import Options dialog from File Open dialog when opening the STL files.

Import Options.pngSTL Import Options

Turn off the ‘Heal mesh faults’ option to improve the file open performance –

When opening STL files, there is an option to heal the mesh faults. This option will increase the file open time. It’s better to turn off this option when opening large files. The mesh faults can be later healed using the Geometry Inspector command. This helps improve the performance of the software, so you can open files faster.


Remove mesh faults before using the Reverse Engineering commands -

Reverse Engineering commands, particularly Delete Mesh, Fill Holes, Automatic and Manual Region commands may not work on the mesh body if the body has faults. Use the Optimize and Geometry Inspector commands to heal the mesh faults first.

If the faults are not healed, then you can manually remove them using the Delete Mesh command. For this you should first run the Geometry Inspector command, identify the faults and highlight them. With the Geometry Inspector command still running, you can start the Delete Mesh command and remove the faulty mesh facets. Note that you need to remove all the faults to successfully complete the command.

Highlight faults.png




Highlight faults.png


Smoothen the mesh to better recognize the regions automatically -

Use the smooth mesh command to smoothen the mesh. This will help the Automatic Regions command to better recognize the regions, as can be seen from the models below.



Use designated colors in Manual regions command to tag the regions with standard geometry -

Both the region commands, Automatic and Manual, use the following colors to tag the regions with standard geomtery type.

region colors.png

In Automatic command this is automatically done, but in Manual you need to select it from the color palette.

color pallete.png


There are two advantages of using the designated colors –

  1. You can extract the surfaces using the Extract surfaces command without the need to specify what type of surface to extract.
  2. You can use the tagged regions in other commands e.g. A planar region can be used for sketch plane or can be used for Mate relationship in assembly.


No need to paint the whole region to extract or fit the surface -

Creating the regions can be a tedious job and might take lot of time. One trick to save time is not to worry about painting the whole surface which needs to be extracted. A partial painting can be enough to extract a surface. You can then extend the extracted/fitted surface.

partial paint.png


Hope these tips will help you to make the most of reverse engineering capabilities in Solid Edge, so you can quickly import and use scanned data to facilitate your design process.