Dear Desktop Engineering Reader:
Reverse engineering is one of those things that often seems like it is more of a pain in the neck than it should be. You know the drill: Scan in your object, clean up all the noise, convert the file, and then fire up SolidWorks, import the data, and start working to make something out of what you got. It's only about a day and half into the project that you find out that you have a bunch of non-machinable surfaces. Sad as it is to report, but there is no law of nature saying that the reverse engineering process has to have so many inefficient steps all the time. A good example of the new nature of things is the HighRES for FARO for SolidWorks plug-in from ReverseEngineering.com.
HighRES for FARO for SolidWorks is part of a family of products that integrate data collection with CAD/CAM. Essentially, the integration turns SolidWorks into a dynamic digitizing platform, eliminating traditional import steps. By dynamic I mean that as you scan, your data imports into SolidWorks so you can work on it with free-form freedom in real time. You have all the reverse engineering tools right there integrated into SolidWorks: open/closed line, open/closed spline; create circles, arcs, and rectangles; measure point-to-point; and so forth. And since it is HighRES for FARO as well as SolidWorks, you can even adjust the digitizer's sensitivity while you're working inside of SolidWorks.
HighRES for FARO for SolidWorks, as well as other family members, are offered in packages with increasing functionality to meet a variety of needs, such as creating 3-point sketch planes automatically, or aligning CMM coordinates to CAD coordinates for real-time comparisons and bringing data into SolidWorks as native entities.
Other members of the the HighRES family support AutoCAD Inventor, KeyCreator, Mastercam, Pro/ENGINEER, Rhino, and Siemens NX and Solid Edge. Along with FARO, MicroScribe, ROMER, and 3d Creator scanners and digitizers support this tight HighRES software integration.
That said, here's what I recommend you do, take 5 minutes and watch this video called aptly enough “HighRES for FARO for SolidWorks.” The music is pretty good for one of these things, and there's no narrator with one of those voices that kind of remind you of that lug who sold you on investing your rollover 401(k) in credit default swaps.
What you'll see is SolidWorks and a part being scanned in. Keep an eye on the SolidWorks model as the FARO scanner is put to work in the picture-in-the-picture on the lower right. Then tell yourself that you'd rather go about reverse engineering the old-fashioned way. Repeat 100 times, and maybe then you might breakdown and check out ReverseEngineering.com has to offer you in the way of convenience and efficiency. HighRES for FARO for SolidWorks is the way things are supposed to work. Check out the show.
Thanks, Pal — Lockwood
Anthony J. Lockwood
Editor at Large, Desktop Engineering Magazine