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Surface development and engineering From concept to fully finished solutions
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  • E in the E
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Case Studies

SurfDev - Bespoke Custom Rear Diffuser


SurfDev were asked to support a client in the creation of a styled rear diffuser for an Audi A4.  The combination of high end optical 3D scanning and the use of Icem Surf software (Automotive OEM software of choice for ‘A’ class surfacing) for freeform 3D Design offered the client a process and deliverable in line with that used by any OEM.

The existing part on the vehicle was a one off part created by hand using a number of techniques. The client wanted to take this to the next level and manufacture a number of parts to a consistent standard of quality, using modern manufacturing techniques.

Equipment and software used.

Icem Surf– OEM Automotive ‘A’ class surfacing software.

GOM Atos 5Mp Optical Blue light scanner

GOM Tritop Photogrammetry

GOM Professional Software.


This was a complex project where the logical and planned capture of the data using 3D scanning was key to a successful final deliverable. The Data needed to be captured in a number of layers to make sure we clearly understood the form and shape of the component as well as the fixing techniques both on the new part and the carryover areas on the vehicle.

In this instance we attended the clients site for the scanning. The client fully oversaw the scanning and provided support in the removal of parts as and when needed.

We are fully mobile and are able to 3D scan offsite as well as in our own scanning workshop and Design office.

Post the scanning phase the data went through a minor phase of post processing and was then imported in to our design software. The full layered ‘data set’ was then aligned to car line co-ordinates. By doing this we were able to interrogate the 3D scan data and establish that we were able to reverse engineer the part on a symmetrically opposite basis.



As with any reverse engineering project the input of the whole team is imperative to provide best design for the client. In this instance we had an initial meeting with the toolmaker. The main points of discussion were manufacturing technique, toolmaker requirements, minimum draft angles etc. For reference this was all done around the existing part.

With all the information at hand the design work could now start in earnest. We devised a new die angle allowing us make the part using a simple open and close tool with minimised post manufacture processing / finishing.  By observing the input of the manufacturer and incorporating our experienced design techniques, we kept the tooling as simple as possible thus keeping tooling and part price to a minimum.

The design stage was broken down into two segments. These being the visual shape and the fixing / hard points. As with any project the smallest features or tooling considerations form the starting point and subsequently the part development and final deliverable.

The part was then developed to a point where the ‘A’, ‘B’ surfaces and fixings were incorporated into a completed digital model. This was reviewed by the client and sent to the manufacturer. It would be fair to say that although the design is based on the initial scan data, many changes were made to improve fit and finish, symmetry and packaging / clearances.

After a short period, we received feedback from the manufacturer with some small changes required. These were quickly incorporated in the final release model.


The parts are now going through the tooling and manufacture process.

We will give you an update of the completed results as and when they are ready.

If you have any questions about our 3D scanning, Reverse Engineering, or design process please don’t hesitate to ask.

Please contact us if you have a project that you need support for.


Neale Williams.

Tel – 01621 744900

Mail –

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