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European Journal of Scientific Research ISSN 1450-216X Vol.29 No.1 (2009), pp.136-146 EuroJournals Publishing, Inc. 2009


Reverse Engineering in Fabrication of Piston Crown

A. R. Ismail Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 UKM Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia E-mail: Y. C. Soon Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 UKM Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia S. Abdullah Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 UKM Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia R. Zulkifli Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 UKM Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia K. Sopian Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 UKM Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia M.N.A. Rahman Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Faculty of Engineering Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, 43600 UKM Bangi, Selangor, Malaysia Abstract This research paper present the applications of the reverse engineering method on the modeling of four strokes engine CAMPRO PROTON piston crown. Raw material aluminum has been choosen to be the replication of the piston engine. The nonconventional method which is the contact method using the layout machine (Laymatic Pro Mate) used to get the piston engine surface data. The digitized result-point clouds measured and kept into data system layout machine and later translate into IGES format. By using the Unigraphics NX2 software, the IGES format file is imported for the surface generation. In the Computer Aided Design (CAD) modeling stage, justification is taken to create the piston engine surface. Then face analysis is done on generated solid body to trace any defect that might appear. The accuracy of the model will be analysis to estimate the errors. The last stage presented is the fabrication stage. By using the 3 axis CNC machine the piston crown will be machine. The physical comparative study will be done to evaluate the errors comparing the duplicate CAMPRO piston crown and the real CAMPRO piston crown.

Reverse Engineering in Fabrication of Piston Crown Keywords: Reverse engineering, modeling, surface, fabrication


1. Introduction
Recently, pressure from the competitor has reached the point where rapid product design and optimization need to be embraced within the product development cycle. A short lead-time in product development is strongly demanded to satisfy needs, resulting from the globalization of manufacturing activities and the changes in the market requirements. In engineering areas such as aerospace, automotives, shipbuilding and medicine, it is difficult to create a CAD model of an existing product that has a free-form surface. In these cases, reverse engineering (RE) is an efficient approach to significantly reduce the product development cycle (Bardell et. al. 2003). Bardell et al. (2003) defined reverse engineering as systematic evaluation of a product with the purpose of replication which involves either direct copies or adding improvements to existing design (Chuang and Yau, 2005). According to Zhang (2003), reverse engineering refers to the process in which designers acquire a design concept of a product from digitization of a physical model, and create the CAD model to realize approximation to the physical model: the model created can be reused, modified and optimized (Chung and Liao, 2001). Even though different equipment might be used for data measurement process, the reverse engineering steps used in the process is about the same. Fig. 1 show the common practical procedure flow chart used in reverse engineering. Lee and Woo (1998) have proposed a novel procedure that integrates technique of RE and rapid prototyping (RP) technology (Feng et. al. 2001). The procedure implies pre-processing based on algorithm for cross-sectional data reduction on the bases of curvature calculation between neighbouring points. Feng et al. (2001) presented the effects of the scan depth and the projected angle on the digitizing accuracy of a laser/CMM scanning system. Speckle noise in the CCD laser images is considered the primary source of random error. A bilinear empirical model has been established and is able to provide predictions of the systematic error with less than 25 m deviation (Kim and Choi, 2002). Son et al. (2002) have proposed an automated laser scanning system which can automatically generate a scan plan by investing a complex free-form part whose CAD model is given (Lee and Woo, 1998). The automated part positioning system can save much time, improve the quality of captured data and the registration process is simplified. Thereby, redundant data processing is drastically reduced and errors caused by human operator can be minimized. Bardell et al. (2003) have proposed a method of automating the verification of an acceptable free-form surface, using coordinate measuring machine (CMM). Computer-aided geometric design (CAGD) is used to analyze the surface for optimum continuity and assess the CMM data accuracy (Chuang and Yau, 2005). Park and Chung (2003) have proposed a procedure through which 3-axis NC tool-paths (for roughing and finishing) can be directly generated from measured data (a set of point sequence curves). An algorithm to calculate the finishing tool-path based on well-known 2D geometric algorithms has been developed to avoid difficult time-consuming computational (Lin et. al. 2005).


A. R. Ismail, Y. C. Soon, S. Abdullah, R. Zulkifli, K. Sopian and M.N.A. Rahman

Figure 1: Basic phase in Reverse Engineering (Park and Chung, 2003).

Xie et al. (2005) have presented a multi-probe measuring system integrated with a CMM, a structured-light sensor, a trigger probe and a rotary table. Two types of scanning modes which is multiview scanning mode and rotating scanning mode have been used (Chung and Liao, 2001). Lin et al. (2005) have presented the measure method to get the better data points and the appropriate method to deal with points cloud data. Reverse engineering software is then used to create the free-form surfaces from the point cloud data (Meng and Chen, 1996). This research paper explains the modeling and machining of four stroke piston engine using reverse engineering method. The process include digitizing process by using layout machine to capture the point clouds and following by the Computer Aided Design (CAD) stage and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) stage using Unigraphics NX2 software to reconstruct the piston engine surface. Then, machining process with Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine is used to create the piston head engine. Finally, the accuracy of the replicated piston engine is checked by using Coordinate Measurement Machine (CMM) and block gauge.

2. Methodology
1). Studies on the Piston Engines Physical Characteristics Piston engine of CAMPRO PROTON which is being used as the reverse engineering object must be analyses first especially the shape, function and the tolerance needed. The critical dimension of the piston engine such as outer surface dimension and the cavity for connecting rod insertion must be made within the acceptable range so that the movement into the engine block will not be too tight or too loose. 2). Jig preparation (To Fix the Piston Engines Position) Two different jigs have been made by using the machining processes to ensure the fixed position of the piston engine. The first jig was created to hold the piston engine at the lower part to get the data points for the outer surface while another jig was created to hold the piston engines head by invert the position of the piston) to get the data points for the inner surface. Both of the jigs are made of chemical wood.

Reverse Engineering in Fabrication of Piston Crown

Figure 2: Jig Made Of Chemical Wood.


3). Digitizing Process using Layout Machine Data points at the piston engines surface are taken by using layout machine. Before capture the data points, data points measurements path have to be determine first to ensure a smooth flow of the digitizing process. Besides that, calibration of the layout machine needed to be done to avoid system error. This can be done with the zero presetting and proper installation of the probe. The determination of the reference point at the correct position is a very important step because the piston engine needed to be invert to get the inner surfaces measurement. The changing direction of the piston engine can be referring back easily by creating a suitable reference point. Hence, the points cloud measured will not be abstracted from the desired one.
Figure 3: External View of Standard Layout Machine (Pang and Narayanaswami, 2004).

4). Points cloud measurement Digitizing process using the layout machine is a contact method where the hard probe needed to be move to a point and the measurement can only be input by pressing the button to capture it (Michael, 2002). The end of the probe should be coinciding to the normal surface direction during the points cloud measurement.


A. R. Ismail, Y. C. Soon, S. Abdullah, R. Zulkifli, K. Sopian and M.N.A. Rahman

Figure 4: Surface Generated By Improper Probing Directions (Son et. al. 2002).

5). Computer Aided Design (CAD) stage By importing the file in IGES format from the MasterCAM software into Unigraphics NX2 software, the points cloud from different parts need to be fill up with different colors for easier identification. After that, the points are joined with lines to generate the surface. 6). Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) stage After the modeling application in Computer Aided Design (CAD) stage, the next step is using the manufacturing application in Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) stage. First the creation of geometry need to be done, follow by the creation of operation, program and tool. Since the raw material to be used is Aluminium, so the milling stages divided into three types which is mill rough, mill semi-finish and mill finish. In the rough-cut stage, the main goal is to remove material in the most efficient manner. In semi-finishing cutting, the purpose of the process is to create a near net shape of the product whereas in finish cutting, producing the desired surface finish and accuracy is the primary driving factor (Tokyo Boeki, 1996). 7). Planning the Rotation of Machining Work Piece The first stage is preparing the aluminium block in dimension 100mm (L) x 80mm (H) x 80mm (W). Then the aluminium block is clamped by using milling vise and placed in the Fanuc Robodrill Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine. The milling process started on the first face and follow by drilling process. After that, the work piece is rotated and the milling processes proceed at the second face. The next step involved rotation of the work piece to the third face and the milling process continue on that face. After the completion of the third face, the work piece is rotated again to the fourth face where milling process remove the material into cylindrical shape. Then the work piece is placed on the lathe machine to do the parting process in order to get the piston groove. The last step involved milling operation on the fourth face to get the desired shape of piston engine. Tool path generation techniques for this reverse engineering project included cavity mill, zlevel profile, contour area, drilling and face milling. The main advantage of the z-level machining is to maintain a stable cutting load during machining and increase the cutter life (Xie et. al. 2005).

Reverse Engineering in Fabrication of Piston Crown

Figure 5: Planned Steps of The Machining Process.


3. Results
Digitizing process using layout machine to get the clouds data takes quite a long time which effective time taken is about 25 hours. The time taken includes setting up the layout machine, calibration, and digitizing as well as correction action. Point clouds measurement from the digitising process can be divided into two sections which is outer part and inner part. 1) Outer Part of Piston Engine Digitizing process at the outer part can be done at four directions starting from the center of the pistons top ring. Point clouds at each direction are given different colors for easier identification. The points are then combine and joined together to generate the solid object for the outer surface.


A. R. Ismail, Y. C. Soon, S. Abdullah, R. Zulkifli, K. Sopian and M.N.A. Rahman

Figure 6: Point Clouds.

Figure 7: Points Combination.

2) Inner Part of Piston Engine Point clouds measurement for the inner part of the piston engine is done by using layout machines hard probe follow the path that have been planned earlier. Same as the outer part, point clouds measured also given different colors for easier identification.
Figure 8: Inner Surface Points Cloud.

Reverse Engineering in Fabrication of Piston Crown

Figure 9: Surface Generation Process


3) Surface Generation The combination of outer part and inner part of the piston engine by referring to the reference point will produce a three dimension solid object as shown below in Figure 10.
Figure 10: 3D Generated Surface from the Digitizing Process.

4) Practical Machining Process By following the planned steps in machining process, the duplication of piston engine have been successful. It can be clearly seen in Figure 11. As for the machining time, the total time taken for the whole machining process is about 8 hours and 14 minutes. This can be checked on the.lpt file for each program created and sent to Fanuc Robodrill computer. However, the actual machining time is slightly longer than the calculated one because the calculation ignores the effects of the acceleration and deceleration of the CNC machines. Especially in a tool path consisting of many small path segments, the machining time is drastically increased because the cutter frequently has to accelerate and decelerate while moving along the tool path (Yu, 2003). 5) Accuracy Check The reverse engineering product-piston engine have 3 groove which cant be measured using the Coordinate Measurement Machine (CMM) since the smaller probe head is 2mm whereas the piston groove is smaller than that. So block gauge is used to check the thickness of the groove. Other dimension of the piston engines outer surface is checked by using CMM. From the result, the standard deviation, = 0.1048. This means that the accuracy is about 0.1048mm.


A. R. Ismail, Y. C. Soon, S. Abdullah, R. Zulkifli, K. Sopian and M.N.A. Rahman

Figure 11: Steps in Practical Machining Process

Figure 12: Original Piston Head.

Reverse Engineering in Fabrication of Piston Crown

Figure 13: Reverse Engineered Piston Head.


4. Discussions
By referring to the modeling result, the generated surface is not symmetry. However, some modification has been done to make the piston engines dimension symmetry. The digitizing process is done only at the side of the piston engine for the inner part and the mirror method is used to create the other side. Another important principle for the piston engine is the constant thickness. This is important because the piston engine receives high temperature and the continuous expand and shrinkage process will avoid the crack of the piston engine. Since the piston engine used in this reverse engineering project made from the casting process, therefore the surface might not be smooth enough. The point clouds measurement on the rough surface will create unwanted lines. The digitizing measurements using the layout machine have the accuracy of 0.1mm. The accuracy might unable to fulfill the require tolerance since the layout machine actually more suitable to get the point clouds for bigger object such as car.

5. Conclusions
Reverse engineering is a process that can reduce the product development cycle besides cost saving. Effective use of reverse engineering application is expected to penetrate market in the future. For the contact method, CMM is the most suitable measurement equipment to measure object such as piston engine with the general accuracy 0.0025mm. Another faster method which is non contact method using the laser scanning is an alternative that can save more cost and time comparing to the contact method.


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