Posts in category: ‘Tips of the Trade’

Stop whining about MBD and accurately model your products

Why is it so important for 3D data to be exact? After all, drawings on a drafting board weren't a mathematically accurate representation of designs and they got the job done just fine. Right? Well sort of. We’ve all heard the stories of someone faking in a dimension to show the right value, causing the 2D drawing to become a less accurate representation of the final product and out of sync with the 3D model (if there was one). The results of these out of sync documents usually amount to an unhappy boss.

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Stop laughing at 2D CAD

It’s amazing to see where computational mechanics is heading and how different modeling techniques are constantly evolving. Not even twenty years ago, mechanical systems were drafted as plane sketches with an endless array of symbols and norms to convey as much as possible about an accurate and common three dimensional shape. Now however, we have the full 3D CAD experience ready and easy to manipulate.

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PhotoView 360 rendering tips: make them more interesting!

PhotoView 360 is a great photorealistic rendering platform that is built right into SolidWorks. I have been using it for nearly 10 years professionally, and believe it is the best option for rendering any non-organic object. This article is a continuation of an older post here on GrabCAD, and is focused more on how to use some of the more advanced tools to make better scenes, more interesting compositions, and more dramatic lighting.

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How to hand off a project without infuriating the next engineer

Handing off a project to another engineer can be daunting. Aside from the personal attachment (the project is your baby), it can be difficult to articulate where the project has been and where it needs to go. My background is in design engineering for the retail fixture industry, so I have worked for companies that are project based, not product based.

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How should engineers work with graphic designers?

Engineers are an analytical bunch. Function always comes before form. Take street signs, for example. Virtually all of these signs were written in all capital letters. This didn't change until recently - when research proved that that a combination of uppercase and lowercase characters is easier for the elderly to read. Now, signs are being replaced with the easier to read text. The engineers at the Federal Highway Administration didn’t make the decision to switch to a more attractive type until someone provided research that proves that it’s easier to read.

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ECOs are stupid II: The price of unincorporated change

The venerable Engineering Change Order (ECO) has certainly had its day in the opulent halls of classical change management, but thanks to technology, ECOs might very well be on the path to extinction. Last time we mentioned that ECOs are slow and stupid, we emphasized that reducing overall ECO cost involves more than just reducing avoidable change. The second half of that battle involves the change process itself, evolving it to be both more agile and effective. Protip: It’s all about addressing the weaknesses of unincorporated change.

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Design for Assembly: taunting from the manufacturing floor

When it comes to design, sometimes what works in the uninhibited realm of solid modeling (where just about anything is possible) doesn’t make a bit of sense in the real world. A good design engineer knows this from experience. A bad design engineer may be lacking that same experience and may be in need of some hard feedback in order to improve. While you could pore over Powerpoint error count metrics and root cause analyses to systematically highlight specific design deficiencies, there’s a far simpler way: a good old-fashioned hasslin’ from “Bulldog.”

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