Posts in category: ‘Tips of the Trade’

CAD modeling etiquette: Do your colleagues need a refresher?

I hear it every day from other engineers: “I could use that model in my assembly, but it's so bad. I might as well just remodel it.” Bad modeling techniques and a lack of solid expectations (or standards) in the hardware industry have driven the majority of us in product design at least a little crazy over the course of our careers. Unfortunately, for many, “bad models” are an everyday reality. Trouble is, the definition of a “good” model depends on who you ask. That's probably not how engineering should work.

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How to design for roll forming

Reduce manufacturing costs. Improve lead times. Decrease shipping costs. Maintain consistency and quality. Sounds ideal, right? It may seem like a tall order, but all of these production goals are possible through roll forming—if your design is optimized for this process.

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The multi-CAD Thunderdome: everyone enters, no one really leaves

Speak another language? ¿Habla otro idioma? latlh Hol jatlh? Whether you hail from Austin, Santiago, or Qo'noS, knowing multiple languages is an indispensible asset. Driven by the growing importance of international business, multi-lingual skills are increasingly in demand to support a macro Globalization trend. But what in the name of Kahless does this have to with engineering design? CAD is the means by which we express the language of design.

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ECOs Aren’t Dead, But They Are Slow and Stupid

In engineering, change is fundamental; product design is a highly iterative process. While change is necessary, it can also be quite costly. Most reasonable estimates place the cost of a single Engineering Change Order (ECO) in the thousands of dollars just in the design stage, with quickly compounding cost for changes later in the lifecycle. Ouch.

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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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