Popular Airsoft Guns Reverse Engineered, Helping Bring Back Offshore Manufacturing and Secure 300 U.S. Jobs

Recently, my company had the opportunity to reverse engineer parts for popular Airsoft guns once manufactured abroad.  When this particular gun maker learned that its offshore manufacturer was using its proprietary tooling to “back door sell” guns made with the equipment, it closed down operations and moved manufacturing back to the United States, which helped secure 300 domestic jobs.  But no CAD models or prints of the gun parts were accessible when the gun maker returned production back to the U.S., and that’s why 3D Engineering Solutions stepped in. The gun maker employed our reverse engineering services to digitize the assembly of air gun parts, which helped make manufacturing once again possible.

         
3D Engineering Solutions Reverse Engineered Parts for Airsoft Guns.
©iStockphoto.com/ilia-art

 

Upon moving its production abroad, the gun company paid for custom injection molding tooling for each of the gun components. Tooling cost for each component is expensive, ranging between $50,000 and $200,000.  It’s a big capital investment and another operation was basically dodging this investment.  And that’s a real theft—the theft of the use of tools.  Parts are cheap to make once you have tools.  Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for this type of theft to happen with overseas manufacturing.
To acquire the correct air gun part dimensions, we did 3D laser scanning of the different components.  Our engineers worked with the client, helping them figure out exactly what they wanted.

 

About the Author
Rob Glassburn is a registered Professional Engineer and Vice President of Operations at 3D Engineering Solutions in Cincinnati, Ohio.  His career has been spent in the engineering world, where he attained certifications in Tolerance Stacks and GD&T, and Six Sigma Green Belt (DFSS and DMAIC).
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