Pitfalls Related to CAD in Mechanical Design – Part One

Model and Keep in Minda all Relevant Elements in CAD

CAD - Computer-aided designWith experience, an engineer learns to model all relevant elements in CAD and keep them in mind throughout the entire design phase.

For example, if you’re designing a sports-related product that automatically pitches baseballs and softballs, it would be a mistake to not model balls of various sizes to represent the entire range of baseballs and softballs listed in the requirements. The design could progress and show great promise for some time, only to realize (perhaps at the prototyping stage, which is far too late) that the largest ball in the spec cannot be successfully launched by the mechanism.

In a similar scenario, it is advisable to always model the electrical connectors, wiring and routing. Once again, there are times when a design proceeds to the prototype phase, only to find that connectors or wire routing interfere with other components and render the design imperfect. These are costly (and potentially embarrasing) situations.

Furthermore, when you model relevant elements in CAD, remember the hidden or suppressed elements too. In order to focus on other aspects of a design, engineers commonly hide or suppress CAD models. Yet, if you forget about this, the potential downfall is ending up with a flawed design.

As you can see, these are important issues that can have a high level of impact on your performance, on the project, and on the company overall. Steer away from these types of mistakes by following our suggestions (or other good habits that you develop), and you will ensure that the high level of impact that you bring into the picture will be a positive one.

How To Resolve This Issue
  • Model all relevant elements in sufficient detail.
  • Evalute and/or simulate elements that will be in motion, throughout their entire range of motion.
  • Unhide and unsuppress all relevant CAD models from time to time.
  • Use the CAD software’s ability to group parts and assemblies into folders, so that you can hide and unhide more easily.
  • Use view states, if your CAD software offers that or similar capabilities.
  • Conduct peer design reviews, as well as cross-functional design reviews.



**The article above is an excerpt of "Top 10 Mechanical Design Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)". If you enjoyed this article, sign up below to receive the full PDF!

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