TUTORIAL - How to Reverse Engineer a Design by Measuring Pictures

Jose Santos shares techniques for leveraging graphics programs software tools plus a few points of known measurement to reverse engineer an object from photos.

From MAKE:

In this tutorial, I will show you how to use a graphics editing program like Inkscape to measure pictures for reverse engineering. While I’m definitely not the first person to use this technique, I independently came up with the process after seeing a Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) when I was taking a machine shop class at a local community college a few years ago. Like many 3D printers and CNC machines, the CMM had a 3-axis Cartesian coordinate system for locating a touch probe. By probing various points on an object, the CMM can be used to scan and create 3D models.
In Inkscape (or your graphics program of choice), you can mimic a CMM using the built-in measuring tools. You will need to measure something with a known size to use as a reference for proper scaling. Then you will use guides to probe and measure points of interest on your picture. This technique can also be done in some Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs, which can be much more efficient for making models.

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Matt Griffin
Matt Griffin

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