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Reverse Engineering Automotive Dies That Maintain Part Tolerances

Die blocks cut, pierce and form sheet metal into automotive parts.

Die press manufacturing is used throughout the world to produce the metal parts found in cars. So, if dies are prevalent, then why is reverse engineering them so important to automotive engineers?

It’s because of the die components that cut and form the sheet metal into automotive parts — called blocks.

Die blocks are ground and modified iteratively during the die making process, so they yield parts that meet the tight tolerances of the automotive industry.

This often leads to block geometries that vary from their computer-aided design (CAD) models. Because of these variances, it can be difficult to fix or replace a block.

Reverse engineering — with the help of laser scanning and ANSYS Discovery SpaceClaim — bridges the gap between the real-world die block and its CAD model.

How SpaceClaim and Laser Scanning Reverse Engineer Automotive Dies

When automotive engineers laser scan a real-world die, the scan produces a 3D point cloud. When this point cloud is triangulated, it yields a faceted mesh of the geometry that can be used to reverse engineer the die.

SpaceClaim excels at handling faceted meshes that are produced by laser scanners. It offers tools that create ideal and complex surfaces that are based on the mesh.

A 3D faceted mesh rendering of a die produced via 3D laser scanning and SpaceClaim.

For instance, automotive engineers can double-click to select regions of the mesh with similar curvatures. This enables them to quickly fit planar and filleted surfaces. Other tools that enable engineers to quickly create complex surfaces, while maintaining tangency, include:

  • Blend.
  • Fill.
  • Combine.
  • Spline.
  • Split.

SpaceClaim’s functionalities support the creation of ideal, squared features in addition to surfaces with complex slopes and tangencies.

Reverse Engineering Tools Within Spaceclaim

SpaceClaim also offers tools that are specific to reverse engineering. For example, “Extract Curves” helps engineers create ideal lines, curves, holes and slots that are based on the faceted data.

These features can then be extruded using the “Pull” tool to produce accurate geometric features.

CAD geometries of die blocks that are reverse engineered from 3D scan data.

Other tools, like “Deviation” and “Stripes,” show the engineer how accurately the CAD geometry matches the faceted data and how well the surface features blend into each other.

Deviation analysis in SpaceClaim with tolerancing, color settings and sample spacing that are defined by the engineer.

SpaceClaim’s speed and reliability makes reverse engineering user-friendly and accessible. It helps engineers recreate complex die block geometries into CAD models. This helps the engineer fix or replace the die if it ever fails.

Learn how to reverse engineer and convert scanned data into 3D models. Or, try out a demo of SpaceClaim.