Posts in category: ‘Tips of the Trade’

Can This Job be Saved? When Your Boss Tells You to Rein it In.

Brian Neville-O’Neill recently sent me this Reddit conversation in which an engineer complains that he is consistently reprimanded by his boss “for over stepping my bounds.” As the sole engineer at his company, he interfaces with multiple departments yet has no job description or guidelines for working with other teams. Advice from fellow engineers? Find another job.

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It’s Time to Get Over IGES

About five seconds into your average conversation about CAD translation, someone will invariably mention one of the venerable and long-held neutral formats: STEP or IGES. Neutral CAD formats are the great equalizers of CAD interchange; the old stand-bys of an increasingly multi-CAD world. They provide the bridge to migrate geometry from one proprietary CAD system to another. While direct translation or newer direct modeling techniques now often preempt the use of neutral formats, chances are high you'll need to rely on them at one time or another. But a word of caution: while STEP and IGES are often grouped together in the same breath, they are certainly not equivalent. In fact, if formats were horses, it's probably time to send the IGES pony to the glue factory.

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Why History-Based Modeling Still Matters

Imagine the horror. The untimely disintegration of a particularly brittle parametric model explodes right in the face of an unsuspecting designer, an unwary victim of a thousand unresolved dependencies. What manner of creature developed such an intrinsically complex system? After all, direct modeling is the new hotness. History-based modeling is old and busted. We're going to push and pull our way to a better tomorrow. Hold on there just a minute, slick.

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The One True Part Number System

The debate around part number systems is often reduced to a pitched battle of absolutes, pitting the cold simplicity of the Generic Numbering Coalition (GNC), against the historically focused Confederacy of Intelligent Numbers (CIN). There’s no shortage of arguments about one approach over the other. But you don’t have to play that game; there are always other possibilities. Let’s understand why.

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Should You Hire New CAD Help? Nope.

Business is good and you're anticipating a big new project. The development team seems stretched, and you think it might be time to add headcount. But as a manager, you know that finding the funds and approval for a new employee is rarely easy. And nobody wants to hire someone today, only to have to lay him or her off 6 months from now when the current projects wrap up.

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Intelligent Numbering: What’s the Great Part Number Debate?

What's in a part number? That which we call a part by any other number should assemble as easily? Every company struggles with defining part numbers. Should you use an intelligent numbering system that embeds important identifying information or go with easy-to-mange generic numbers? Choosing between these opposing methodologies might seem intimidating; solid arguments exist for either approach. Crowning a winner is not going to be constructive, but understanding how the underlying issues affect your company certainly will be.

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Six Tips for Better Design Reuse

The trick to getting better products out the door faster is design reuse. You start with a legacy model, incorporate a vendor’s new PC board, add some mad curves to the grip, and before long, your electronic ice cream scoop is on the market and you’re collecting a Red Dot award. Read the rest of this entry »