The process of capturing object form through surface data sampling and generating a CAD model of the part is termed reverse engineering because the process is the opposite of the normal design and manufacturing sequence. In the context of general manufacturing methods, reverse engineering is an important process for instances where a product initially exists as a designer’s model in a medium such as styling foam or modelling clay. The digitisation process can be achieved through spatial measurements taken manually by a co‐ordinate measuring machine (CMM). However, 3D computer vision systems are now being applied to the reverse engineering task owing to their ability to rapidly digitise the more intricate and free‐form surface patches that are common in many modern consumer items. New modelling software reduces the large number of data points into a more manageable number which can be translated into CAD drawings. The CAD drawings permit generation of CNC machine tool cutter paths or production of stereolithography “masters”.
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