• Ketchie CNC Machining

How to Get Legacy Parts Reverse Engineered Quickly and Accurately


Reverse engineering legacy parts with unknown origins can be a time-consuming process. Due to a lack of foundational part knowledge, engineers are often tasked with capturing their own part data, drawing a new model, and getting it approved all before precision machining even begins.


At Ketchie, we like to reverse engineer legacy parts for customers as quickly as possible, while maintaining exceptionally high standards of quality. As is the case with any project, the more we know about a part up front, the faster we can turn it around for you.


Key Information to Provide for Reverse Engineering Projects


We recommend submitting as much of this information as you can to speed up the reverse engineering process and get a perfectly functioning replacement part:

  • Sample part. If you have a sample part, we’ll definitely want to see it. Examining a sample part allows us to take note of materials, finishing, tolerances, and any other features that we’ll need to replicate.

  • CAD models or drawings. Yes, even if they’re incomplete! We’ve been known to make parts from sticky-note drawings and napkin sketches, but the more information your model or drawing includes, the better.

  • Part environment. To determine appropriate material and finishing operations, we’ll need to know where the part will function in the field. Let us know if it’ll be exposed to hot or cold temperatures, inclement weather, underwater or corrosive environments, or any other type of extreme setting.

  • End-use. In addition to where the part will be used, we’ll also need to know how it will be used in its end-use application. Will it endure significant wear and tear? Will it require any kind of hardening operations? Understanding the end-use application allows us to recreate a part that will last.

  • Tolerancing requirements. You may not have exact dimensions for your legacy part, but any information you can provide on the function and fit (e.g. slip fit vs. press fit) will help us create more accurate tolerance dimensions.

Once we gather all necessary information about a legacy part, we’ll determine if we’re ready to run the entire order, or if we’re going to run one part for testing purposes first. If the part has extremely tight tolerances or requires a challenging finishing operation like heat-treating, for example, we may run an FAI (First Article Inspection) to ensure the final part meets all critical requirements.


When you need a legacy part reverse engineered quickly and accurately, the team at Ketchie is here to serve you. Request a quote today!