Reverse Engineering using an Artec 3D Scanner with SOLIDWORKS

Article by Rod Mackay updated March 3, 2019


Do you need to tweak a critical component but have no CAD data or drawings? Has one of your machine parts been discontinued?

Discover the power of reverse engineering using an Artec 3D Scanner and SOLIDWORKS!

Portable handheld scanners can be used anywhere to capture the specific data you need. The latest 3D scanning equipment and software from Artec has become the industry standard because of their wide range of capabilities, quick operation, and ease of use. From fashion to medicine, art to aerospace, users in all sectors have discovered how to take advantage of applications like these:

  • Reverse engineering
  • Inspection and quality control
  • Design and development
  • Surveying

Introducing the Artec 3D Scanner family

Discover the limitless possibilities of 3D scanning with Artec’s portable handheld devices. Lightweight, mobile and compatible with several popular tablets, Artec 3D scanners can be used absolutely anywhere to ensure a smooth capturing process without having to relocate objects to a particular place.

Artec 3D Scanners

Artec Space Spider, Eva, and Leo 3D Scanners

The Artec 3D Scanner family includes:

  • Artec Space Spider is a hand-held 3D scanner designed specifically for CAD users and perfect for reverse engineering, product design, and quality control.
  • Artec Eva is a hand-held 3D scanner, ideal for making a quick, textured and accurate 3D model of medium sized objects such as a human bust or an alloy wheel
  • Artec Leo is a smart professional 3D scanner for a next-generation user experience; see your object projected in 3D directly on the integrated HD display.

Creating 3D scanning masterpieces requires smart and powerful software to capture, process, analyze and edit data. With Artec Studio 13 and an Artec 3D Scanner anyone can achieve professional results with the most comprehensive and straightforward 3D scanning software on the market today:

CASE STUDY: Redesigning an out of production part

To explain the scanning process, we’ve outlined an example in which an automotive customer needed to redesign a discontinued manufactured engine component without having CAD data or drawings of the component.

Step 1. We scanned the part using the Artec Space Spider and accompanying Artec Studio 13 software

Artec Studio software is designed to capture, process, analyze, and edit data. It is powerful while still being fast and easy to use. With smart geometry and colour recognition, there’s little to no prep time before scanning and no need to add markers or targets to parts.

The scanning process is made up of capture, optimize, and fuse. Programmable and automatic features reduce the time from scan capture to fused mesh. When we scanned the automotive part, this process took 20 minutes, from beginning the scan to a finished model exported directly into SOLIDWORKS.

Scan of an automotive engine component (a cap) – shown in Artec Studio software

Scan of an automotive engine component (a cap) – shown in Artec Studio software

With .001985 inches accuracy, the Artec Space Spider ensured that the data we collected led to an end component that connected correctly with existing components.

Key features of the Space Spider:
  • Allows for 50 um accuracy
  • 8 Frames per second
  • High density point cloud data
Scan exported from Artec Studio directly into SOLIDWORKS using the Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS Add-in

Scan exported from Artec Studio directly into SOLIDWORKS using the Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS Add-in

Step 2. We reverse engineered and altered the part using the Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS Add-in

Normally when you import an .STL file into SOLIDWORKS, it is known as a dumb solid or graphics body. SOLIDWORKS has powerful tools, but the Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS Add-in, with its smart features, significantly reduces the amount of time you’ll spend reverse engineering from scanned data. Using the full power of SOLIDWORKS with the added convenience of Geomagic software, you can pull information directly from scanned data via regions detection, mesh sketches, auto feature detection, reference geometry detection, and more.

Regions detection and mesh sketch using the Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS

Regions detection and mesh sketch using the Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS

Completed redesign with full design tree and component, ready for assessment and manufacture


  • By using the Artec Space Spider and Artec Studio software, along with the Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS Add-in, this critical engine part was redesigned and ready for assessment in just seven hours.
  • We were able to remove guesswork and trial and error, resulting in an efficient and accelerated work flow.
  • Artec’s compatibility with Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS (which lives handily within the SOLIDWORKS interface) gave us full access to the power and performance of all the software tools.
  • Overall, we spent far less time than if we had measured components and created sketches manually.

Would you like a demo of Artec solutions?

Contact us today to schedule a demonstration or get pricing from one of our Artec experts. We’ll show you how Artec scanning solutions can improve your inspection, reverse engineering, and design processes.

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Rod Mackay

Rod has been using 3D CAD software for over 25 years and has trained thousands of designers to use their CAD systems more effectively. Rod is the Javelin Webmaster and is based in Ottawa, ON., Canada.