Reverse engineering of obsolete components for realisation using additive manufacturing

McAlister, Craig (2015) Reverse engineering of obsolete components for realisation using additive manufacturing. Masters thesis, UNSPECIFIED.

[thumbnail of 2016McAlisterMSc]
PDF (2016McAlisterMSc)
2016McAlisterMSc.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs.

Download (8MB)


Additive manufacturing (AM), or 3D printing as it also known, is a technique used for the direct manufacture of parts, one which is becoming more accessible to not just engineers in industry, but also non-technical users with minimal technical knowledge or experience. The aim of the research was the investigation of the possibilities that AM presents for realising the manufacture of obsolete parts from older systems. Consideration of multiple AM techniques and their individual benefits and drawbacks is presented. To reverse engineer (RE) a part for additive manufacture requires the use of 3D modelling software packages as well as access to AM equipment to fully investigate how to best produce replacement parts. The thesis also considers various data creation and scanning technologies, used to digitise the geometry of parts, a key component in the RE process. The digitised component can then be manipulated in modelling software to provide the files required for AM. To replace components from older systems that are no longer in production can incur massive costs with respect to their manufacture using various moulds, machinery and tools. Using AM, it is shown that these costs could be greatly reduced, and material waste kept to an absolute minimum. With the incorporation of 3D modelling and simulation/analysis software, the mechanical performance of a component is also analysed. A component from an obsolete coffee roaster was subjected to the process of RE for replacement. The desktop AM machine used produced a part of sufficient quality to allow its use as a sandcasting pattern. By using AM instead of a traditional pattern, time savings and thus cost savings were achievable in the manufacturing process. A larger version of the component was scanned to create the 3D model from which the sandcasting pattern could be created. This was not successful as the 3D scanners could not produce a scan of satisfactory detail to work with. An investigation into the capabilities of the scanner was then carried out to determine if lower priced scanners are a worthwhile investment. This showed that while they are not ideal for 1:1 scaled replications of geometries, they are useful should a miniature version be required. It is recommended that scanners do not represent the same value for money in terms of quality produced that low end desktop AM machines do.

Item Type:
Thesis (Masters)
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
15 Nov 2016 09:24
Last Modified:
12 Sep 2023 00:20