[Editor’s note: In a recent post, Dave Martin made the case for designing for reuse. He urged product developers to create models in such a way that they can be easily modified in future revisions. “Engineers, designers, and managers often make decisions that prevent data from being leveraged in the future,” Martin wrote. But with a little forethought and extra effort, they can save time and costs in future revisions.
His tips for creating more reusable designs included following design intent, minimizing external references, and complementing parametric modeling with direct modeling. Now he’s adding two more to the list for those who want to get even more out of design reuse.]
Imported data is more difficult to reuse, because it cannot be changed as easily or quickly as native geometry. When designing your model’s overall shape, CAD packages can offer three paradigms for surface creation:
A Creo Freestyle model of a vehicle’s shape.
These various paradigms can be used together. Parametric curves can be used as inputs to style surfaces, and style curves can be used to generate parametric surfaces. Dimensional controls can be created in style geometry so that it can be modified just like standard parametric features. Parametric surface editing tools can be used to manipulate freestyle surfaces created by subdivisional modeling.
Native surface geometry increases both design intent – the capacity to react to changes – and design reuse.
If you can’t find your data, you can’t reuse it. The main cause of data not being searchable is improper naming, which leads to part proliferation, making your parts even harder to find. Improper part naming happens in a variety of ways, including:
When people can’t find parts, they make new ones. This results in part proliferation, and the more parts you have in your database, the harder it is to find the ones you actually want to reuse.
The solutions to improper part naming and part proliferation include:
If your organization suffers from not being able to leverage existing designs to create new ones, with a little effort you can turn that around. By reusing existing data instead of creating new data from scratch, your design organization will increase its efficiency and accelerate product development cycles.
If you’re exploring 3D CAD software for yourself or your team, make sure you download our Buyer’s Guide to Purchasing 3D CAD Software. It will show you how to compare softwares, what questions you should ask vendors, what to look for when it comes to pricing, and questions you’ll want to ask your team throughout the process.
The book is free. Download yours today!
Dave Martin is a Creo, Windchill, and PTC Mathcad instructor and consultant. He is the author of the books “Top Down Design in Creo Parametric,” “Design Intent in Creo Parametric,” and “Configuring Creo Parametric,” all available at amazon.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dave currently works as the configuration manager for Elroy Air, which develops autonomous aerial vehicles for middle-mile delivery. Previous employers include Blue Origin, Amazon Prime Air, Amazon Lab126, and PTC. He holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT and is a former armor officer in the United States Army Reserves.