When you have an Artec 3D scanner, SOLIDWORKS CAD software and a Stratasys 3D printer added to your operation, it opens up new possibilities. Let’s look a reverse engineering workflow to make perfect-fitting 3D-printed fixtures.
In this post learn how we fixed a squeaky ceiling fan with 3D scanning, 3D CAD and 3D printing.
- First, 3D scan a can of WD-40 for reference
- Import the scanned geometry into SOLIDWORKS to help design a bracket to mount the can
- Finally 3D print the bracket so the spray can be placed on the end of a broomstick to fix the problem.
3D scanning the WD-40 can with Artec Studio was easy. The scanner can pick up full-color data, which helps with the very plain cylindrical surface for registration.
Using Geomagic for SOLIDWORKS for reverse engineering, the body of the can was easy to make with simple revolves of cross sections of the mesh, but the head was auto-surfaced. It was easier that way.
Then it took approximately 15 or 20 minutes to draw up a simple bracket in SOLIDWORKS that could be used to put this can on the end of a broomstick. Most of the magic is in the Boolean operations of features combined to draw chunks of material through the can and subtract one body from the other. Creating these perfect nesting fits to what is otherwise tricky geometry.
The bracket was 3D printed overnight on a Stratasys FDM machine. The print was lightweight because of the sparse fill that I used so that it didn’t use very much material. And the next day I was able to fix the problem with my ceiling fan.
Companies use this technique for jigs and fixtures, end-of-arm and robotic grippers, and all sorts of other manufacturing aids and tooling applications. So much so that recently Artec Studio added new features to be able to create basic CAD primitives like the cylinder and perform basic Boolean operations like add, combine, and subtract.
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