Over engineering is costly to any design, so is guesswork but that shouldn’t be considered standard practice anyway. With the help of 3D CAD software, both can be avoided or replaced by reliable analysis that are easy to do.
Any modern 3D CAD software can perform advanced stress analysis for any part or assembly, if so required. The resulting data can later be exported to popular document formats for reporting and presentation purposes. The creation of the simulation is not hard to begin with, and the test results are dependable because all computations are done automatically thereby inhibiting human error. If a how-to resource is needed, Instructables has a vast library of user-created manuals for specific 3D softwares.
Before setting up the environment of the analysis, the user needs to define the material of the part. This is easily achieved by the simple selection of the material from updated libraries that are often packaged with the chosen 3D CAD software. If not available, then data can be user-inputted. For testing purposes, properties such as mass, volume, and density should be defined.
The next steps are intuitive. Setting up the environment is as simple as assigning a fixed area, and area that a set amount of forces, with the direction is applied. A simulation can then be run, wherein the result of the pull or the push is presented accompanied by a heatmap of the applied forces.
Design failure or over engineering can thus be easily predicted in controlled environments. This important design process has been simplified by 3D CAD, and as such, is no longer tedious to accomplish. This makes it more than ever easier to create machinery for any industry in the world that seeks efficient design.
Before the existence of computer-aided design, or CAD, engineering was slow work. The planning and design process took months of labor, and the end results were usually far from perfect due to the required meticulousness of technical machinery. Designers, who often rely on draftsmen, had to wait long before they saw the prepared plans, and likewise, draftsmen were under constant stress with every revision to the original ideas agreed upon. The production and assembly drawings had to be manually synchronized with each other, which resulted in a process that was overly tiring and complex.
However, everything sped up and cleaned of most error points with the help of CAD. Computers with capable hardware and good input equipment can take ideas and translate them to later-modifiable and actionable objects with the help of 2D, and even 3D CAD software. Production drawings for parts, at least the simplest ones, now only take minutes to create, check, print, and send to the factory for production. Design errors are minimal with the help of shapes adapting instantly to inputted measurements, unlike in physical drafting where even the slightest mistake in the calibration of devices like the compass, ruler, protractor, caliper, and T-square, will result in a flawed design. And if things go wrong, you can always call a reliable IT support service to get things up and running again.
You can create a plan for a simple assembly, and then later take each part one by one and apply the dimensions retroactively, and you won’t have to worry about matching dimensions and scales. The computer does the heavy lifting; all that is needed from the designer is the design. CAD has eliminated the need for draftsmen and designers to be separate individuals, because much of the time spent on drafting has been reduced. The designer can design his machinery and prepare the drawings required simultaneously, thereby minimizing the errors lost in relaying his designs to other people who will prepare the plans for him.
Standardization has also immensely profited by the arrival of CAD. Assembly and production drawings are easily linked together and can be manipulated to great extents. For example, a machine that only requires changing a few key components but otherwise is the replica of an already-made, thoroughly tested unit can be produced with less checking requirements and more focus on important analysis for the modified factors of the design. This is done with the help of digital libraries that house previous designs available for use instantly, in contrast with physical libraries where momentum is constantly interrupted by physical exertions.
Additionally, 3D CAD significantly cuts down time for engineering design by giving the ability to perform visualizations. This range of abilities include rendering with background and lighting for presentation purposes, creating exploded views for easy understanding of assemblies, and simulating advanced dynamic operations for the movement of complex designs. Static and dynamic stress analysis can also be performed with dependable results, thanks to the added ability to assign materials to specific parts with complete, updated composition data and appearances.
Properties such as mass, area, volume, and density affect the reaction of materials to applied static and dynamic loads, which can be presented in CAD-generated reports that are easily exportable to popular document formats, printed, and archived with official specification sheets. Such are a CAD software’s reliability in giving visualization and advanced analysis. These used to take months to complete, not even including the production phase, but with CAD it would take only a few weeks, if not days, for ideas to complete conceptualization, design review, production, and delivery to the customer.
And the learning curve is not steep. Anybody can prepare a production drawing even on first acquaintance with any CAD software, the given visual nature of which is created to be user friendly but with options that power users can explore. But to efficiently use any system, professional training can be acquired by signing up for specialized classes. Modern design and engineering schools have such courses in their standard curricula. And for anybody wanting to learn without leaving home where there is a capable computer lying around, online courses like the ones offered by CAD Institute are available.
CAD has sped up all industries with the reliable, easy to learn, and efficient method it provides. Without its gifts, civilization as we know it will slow down to a crawl, quick availability of superbly designed machines will become impossible, and manual labor overhead expenses for engineering design firms will skyrocket. Any serious machine design enthusiast or student should learn to use CAD software because it continues to be a universally acclaimed set of tools, and the growth of engineering will halt without it.
Computer-aided Design aka CAD is the use of computer and different tools to aid different aspects of design (analysis, creation, modification and optimization). CAD is a tool that helps the designer to increase his productivity, to improve the quality of the product, to increase the levels of communication through documentation and to aid in creation of a database for manufacturing.
If used for mechanical design it is called MDA (mechanical design automation) or CAD (computer-aided design) and in this field it uses vector-based graphics to delineate objects that were traditionally drafted or to produce raster graphics that are used to present the overall appearance of the object in question. But, shapes aren’t everything that is provided by CAD, it also involves dimensions, processes, materials and tolerances.
Cad can be used for both 2D and 3D a creation which is why it is so important tool in many industries like shipbuilding, automotive and aerospace. It is also used for computer animations that can be seen in movies and advertisements.
CAD is used in various ways, and it would be futile to list everything that had a taste of CAD in its production, but in general CAD is integrated and used as a part of following products:
- CAE aka computer-aided engineering
- FEA aka finite element analysis
- CAM aka computer aided manufacturing
- Motion simulation
- Photo rendering and so on.
World of CAD is vast indeed, which can be seen in free CAD programs that can be used. These free CAD products are like demo versions of real CAD infused programs, but they can be used to enter the world of, for example 3D rendering.
In this day and age 2D design is out of use, and 3D design has taken over and CAD is essential in fast and high quality designs. There are also several types of 3D modeling, but 3D solid modeling is most common and it also has two types of its own:
- First is parametric modeling which hallows the designer to use “design intent”. This means that all objects and features of the design are modifiable through the change of the original part of design.
- Explicit (direct) modeling includes the ability to modify the geometry of the design without going into history tree of the same. In this case the designer doesn’t need original sketch to change geometry of design.
Technology of CAD changed through years. At the beginning CAD was written in ALGOL, FORTRAN and similar computer languages, but object-oriented programming caused change. Typical CAD based software you see today is build around major C modules, all of which have their own APIs. Interactions between NURBS geometry, b-rep aka boundary representation and GUI (graphical user interface are basic pillars of modern CAD system.
Modern CAD systems are made to support multiple platforms and they don’t need any special software to run. But for those that have some bigger and more complex designs in mind some more advanced graphics card, and multiple CPU’s as well as a lot of RAM is advised.