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Reverse Engineering Tools Speed Time to Product Development


Powerful reverse engineering tools in Solid Edge combined with advancements in high-resolution 3D scanners mean that even legacy parts designed on a drawing board can now be digitally represented and modified without requiring complete reconstruction. You might not always have access to a part’s original design documentation. What happens if you need to repair a legacy part for a customer in that case? Reverse engineering is the solution to this design dilemma.


Now with the enhancements introduced in Solid Edge 2019, reverse engineering is much faster. Operations that previously took a few seconds now happen instantaneously, and new commands reduce surface editing steps and help speed the reverse engineering workflow. We’ll be taking a closer look today at what’s new for reverse engineering in Solid Edge 2019.  


The Reverse Engineering Workflow in Solid Edge

First, in order to understand how the reverse engineering tools added in Solid Edge 2019 benefit you, you really need to understand the overall process. We’ll start by taking a look at what a typical reverse engineering workflow is like in Solid Edge.


It starts, of course, with mesh data. Typically this data is imported from a 3D scan. What sets Solid Edge apart from other CAD tools out there is convergent modeling technology that is unique to Siemens. Convergent modeling allows you to perform traditional B-rep modeling on facet or mesh data.  


  • Open or Create a File: Open a part or sheet metal document that already contains a valid mesh model or create a new document from an existing .STL file format. The .stl file can contain one or more mesh bodies.
  • Clean Up the Mesh: Mesh models are not perfect, and require some cleanup in order to use for reverse engineering. You can remove, fill or smooth portions of the mesh depending on your needs.
  • Identify Geometric Regions: Identify regions as planar, cylindrical, conical, spherical, B spline or Freeform, and Non-extractable.
  • Extract Surfaces: Extract regions and use Fit to assign surfaces to selected regions.
  • Trim and Stitch Surfaces to Form Bodies: Use surfacing commands and trim the construction surfaces to size. Then stitch the trimmed surfaces together to form a construction body. Combine these to form a fully enclosed Boolean body.


Reduce Scanning Imperfections with Smooth Mesh Command

A mesh smoothing tool helps to reduce imperfections that are created during scanning of the source part, allowing for the increased usage of mesh bodies without having to reverse model them. This saves you time and effort from rework, so you can focus on the design task at hand that truly matters.


The Smooth Mesh command helps improve the quality of your model, because the size and amount of scanning imperfections can adversely affect the quality of extracted surfaces later in the reverse engineering process.  


To use the Smooth Mesh command, first identify the area to be smoothed by changing the mesh regions to green. Next identify the acceptable Smoothing Factor and the number of Iterations to perform. Then select Accept  Accept.jpg to smooth the identified mesh facets.


Smoothing Factor (1-100) sets the overall distance as a percentage that the facets can move from their original positions. The greater the percentage, the greater the allowed movement and the smoother the resulting mesh.Smoothing Factor Solid Edge Reverse Engineering.jpg1. Original body 2. Smoothing factor of 90 3. Smoothing factor of 10 Iterations determines the number of times the smoothing algorithm is run on the selected facet body.

The higher the value, the smoother is the facet body.


Fix Imported Geometry with New Mesh Surface Tool

Speed up reverse modeling with the new Auto-trim option of the Intersect command in Solid Edge 2019. This option helps to reduce surface editing steps in the reverse engineering workflow. Use Auto-trim to form closed volumes, closed surface loops or a continuous surfaces resulting from intersecting surfaces. This reduces the amount of manual surface trimming required to define the results, helping to speed time to reverse engineering.
Mesh Surface Tools Solid Edge Reverse Engineering.jpg

Reduce Surfacing Steps for Faster Reverse Engineering

 Also new to the Intersect command Intersect Command Solid Edge.jpg in Solid Edge 2019 is the Create Design Bodies operation. Use this to create solid design bodies from intersecting surfaces, or surfaces and solid bodies. Create Design Bodies eases the process of creating a body from surfaces during reverse engineering. It eliminates the need to trim, extend and stitch surfaces. That’s an entire step of the process you no longer have to do! You can use this to quickly find the volume of a surface as well.


Create Design Bodies Solid Edge Reverse Engineering.jpg


See the full documentation for what’s new in Solid Edge 2019 here.

Community Manager, Solid Edge
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