REVERSE ENGINEERING A PROPELLER

Reverse engineering is used to recreate something that is no longer on the market. We have a great example of how modern technology can transform old components that are no longer available. In this case, Albatross Marine ran out of “new old stock” of boat propellers. Dan Lee took that challenge and solved the problem with 3D scanning and reverse engineering.

Reverse Engineering a Propeller

FIRSTLY 3D SCANNING, THEN REVERSE ENGINEERING

At first, Dan had to scan the propeller. Using a Shining 3D Einscan H handheld 3D scanner, the propeller was able to capture with an accuracy of 0.25 mm. Prior to that, AESUB spray was applied to the surface for greater accuracy of the obtained 3D model. It has the feature to evaporate in a few hours without cleaning and leaves no traces on the piece.

3D scanning with3D scanner EinScan H.
3D model of the propeller in 3D program.

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AFTER 3D SCANNING WITH EINSCAN H, REVERSE ENGINEERING FOLLOWS

The next phase of the process involves reverse engineering the propeller in a 3D program. In most cases, it also involves drawing a new component within a 3D model due to certain errors or other various corrections. Knowledge of shapes and technology is key here. Often, mistakes are already made on the original piece, so the duplicate can actually be the upgrade.

Reverse Engineering after 3D scanning with EinScan H.

REVERSE ENGINEERING AND CORRECTIONS

The part we want to scan could sometimes be slightly different from what we actually need to do. In this case, only the central axis and one propeller blade were modeled. Dan then made two duplicate blades and arranged them all around a central axis. In this way, three perfectly balanced blades were created by reverse engineering.

Boat Propeller.

MANUFACTURING AFTER 3D SCANNING AND REVERSE ENGINEERING

The new propeller will be made with a 3D printer and machined to create the new stock that will be available to buy through Albatross Marine. A new version of the hyperMILL program also allows the use of this option. In this way, they will be able to carry out even more similar projects, as reverse engineering makes it possible.

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