Posts in category: ‘Tips of the Trade’

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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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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