Reverse Engineering Software for Point Clouds


Can someone give me a good idea of what may be a good software to use either stand-alone or as an add-on to Rhino 5, to be used with Point Cloud data?

There will be a variety of mechanical and fashion items being scanned.

There needs to be a very high degree of detail in the scan (like car uni-frames/uni-bodies), as well as ability to process the point cloud simply and easily with non-uniform and standard geometric type surfaces.

Thanx …

Many who are serious about reverse engineering point clouds use this:

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Thanx Dale.

I looked at that and a number of others.

Sticker shock!

$20k for the X version, and $10k for the ‘lite’ version.

That doesn’t include the scanner!

I’m living in the wrong world, thinking that things should be reasonably
priced, eh?

Mesh2Surface (Rhino plugin) is pretty reasonably priced.


@cadman777, i am teaching in that field and would say you can get very far using freeware like cloudcompare and meshmixer for the pointcloud and mesh handling. For reverse engineering we use Rhino and many custom tools. There are various plugins which you might take a look at, eg. Mesh2Surface (mechanical modeling), RhinoReverse (freeform), Resurf…

btw. our scanner came with above mentioned overpriced software as well but nobody uses it.


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Thanx Chris.

That’s one on my list of considerations.

Thanx clement.

Can you be more specific by providing a list of add-ins and stand-alones,
and what each one is used for?

Thanx …

Hi Chris,

well i’ll try, starting with the standalone freeware:

CloudCompare for working with pointclouds, tasks like cleaning, smooting, filtering, registering scans, normal generation, analyzing cloud/cloud or mesh/cloud deviations, mesh generation from point soups etc.

MeshMixer for checking meshes, cleaning dents, filling holes, smoothing, refinement, decimation, segmentation and overal inspection of meshes. Also used to make shells for quick printing and sculpted changes, booleans etc.

The PlugIns (add-ins as you say) mentioned above used in Rhino (not free) and their range of application are listed above in brackets. In general they are used once you have build a clean base mesh from your 3d scan (pointclouds or mesh) and need to create accurate Nurbs surfaces from it. You might just google the PlugIn pages online to find out about the desired operation area. I think RhinoReverse works best if you need fully freeform like shapes, whereas Mesh2Surface is more suited for mechanical shapes and forms.

Of course Rhino offers to create your own funky tools, for all application ranges.



Thanx for the info.

I have R5, and have had it since R1 (got it during first Beta!).

This may be a better way to do the scanning thing.

Do you have any recommendations on reasonably priced scanners?

The keys for me are: simple, accurate and adequate coverage for small
details and surface flow.

in which price range and for what purpose ? Do you need color scanned as well ?



I’m just starting out.

Color is an unknown.

Doing car uniframes, motorcycles, machinery, parts, maybe clothing and

Something I don’t have to fight with to get the job done, and something that
won’t be labor intensive.

Look into NextEngine. Moderately inexpensive, moderately functional.

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Here is a long list with a lot of info:

if you need color and high accuracy you’re in a different ballpark. In case of a larger investment i would suggest to call a reseller and let him showcase. Some also offer to rent the device for a day so you can get your own impression. Note that 3d scanners include software as well so it is worth to consider that in your own comparison.

Some basic questions are outlined well here, you’ll find professional devices on that page too.


Thanx Clement.

I’ll let you know how I make out.

Much obliged!

Thanx Chris.

That’s one I looked at, but didn’t think it could do what I wanted.

Guess I’ll have to call them and inquire further …

NextEngine is dysfunctional – due to litigation.

This thread is 6 YEARS OLD!!! Stop with this, please.

lol. Show me the rules? :face_with_monocle:

Its not a rule, but ideally it’s relevant to something ongoing.

On the internet in general it’s frowned upon. necroposting - Google Search

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haha. So you could [algo] ? create a language for (not expiring threads) too then?

And I could just start creating new threads and ppl might get upset if the thread already exists in a proverbial tomb someplace?

I wonder what odd language could be derived for that…