Rotational and Helical Surface Approximation for Reverse Engineering

H. Pottmann*, T. Randrup

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Given a surface in 3-space or scattered points from a surface, we investigate the problem of deciding whether the data may be fitted well by a cylindrical surface, a surface of revolution or a helical surface. Furthermore, we show how to compute an approximating surface and put special emphasis to basic shapes used in computer aided design. The algorithms apply methods of line geometry to the set of surface normals in combination with techniques of numerical approximation. The presented results possess applications in reverse engineering and computer aided manufacturing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)307-322
Number of pages16
JournalComputing (Vienna/New York)
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Computer aided design
  • Computer aided manufacturing
  • Helical surface
  • Line geometry
  • Reverse engineering
  • Surface approximation
  • Surface of revolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Numerical Analysis
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics


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