3D Scanning and Reverse Engineering a Handgun Grip
Custom handgun grips are extremely popular amongst shooters, both for enhanced look and feel. A grip panel manufacturer was consistently running into the issue of poorly fitting prototypes, delaying their product’s time to market. They wished to cut down much of the development time wasted in fitment trial and error.
Custom grip manufacturers would traditionally rely on hand measurement devices such as calipers, to properly re-construct the mating geometry between the panels and the handgun frame itself. Another method would be the use of a photograph of the geometry with a reference scale present in the image to attempt a reconstruction. Neither of these options are ideal.
If an identical exterior geometry was desired, such as the replacement of factory grips with a set cut from exotic wood for an enhanced look, the laborious contouring task had to be done carefully, slowly removing material and checking progress until the look and feel were a match.
The grip panels first needed to be prepared for scanning. The stippling on the exterior was not to be reproduced in the model, as this manufacturing process was to be changed on the new grips. If present in the 3D mesh, the stippling would make the reverse engineering process much more difficult, therefore the cutouts were filled in and smoothed over with modeling clay.
Both panels were scanned using Creaform’s HandySCAN 700, therefore no surface prep was needed.
The scan data from both grips were imported into Geomagic Design X, where they were aligned and remodeled using Geomagic’s advanced reverse engineering tools.
When taking hand measurements, there exists a large propensity for human error. This could be through incorrectly reading the measurement scale, error stack between measurements, and many other reasons.
The HandySCAN 700 is accurate to 0.03mm (0.0012″), essentially making the resulting scan a perfect measurement device from which to build a 3D model.
Geomagic’s Design X software is the premier reverse engineering tool on the market, and is NeoMetrix Technologies, Inc.’s software of choice. Using it’s plethora of automated modeling functions, there’s no quicker way to reproduce accurate handgun grip models.
Pistol grip to be scanned
Pistol grip scanned data
Pistol grip final surface model