Computer Modelling for Product Designers
Advances in 3D computer modelling technology have literally opened up doors for CAD designers, enabling them to take their designs into a whole new dimension. In the universe of 3D design, solid modelling has become an essential tool in the design world. Within that world, the final design still exists on a 2D plane showing a top, front, and side orthographic views, as well as isometric views, sections, and details. Ironically, although this method is what is traditionally needed in working (shop) drawings for manufacturing, a 3D solid model is the easiest way to achieve the final 2D drawing. Once in 3D form, the drawing can be maintained parametrically, even in its 2D state. Once the model is in a solid form, all types of analyses are available, including mass properties, finite element analysis, fluid analysis, interference analysis and motion analysis, among others. Models generally are not created in a void. Much of the time, each individual model is a component part of a larger assembly. The designer has the ability to work within the assembly to create or modify component parts in much the same manner, as you would work on a fully functioning machine. In this way, designers can test out the functionality of the design as well as produce finished assembly drawings. Let us also not forget the glitz of 3D design. From a 3D model you can add materials, textures, lights, shadows and reflections. You have the ability to create a photograph of something, from any viewing angle, exterior or interior, which does not exist in reality. Using a solid modeller is not as difficult as it may first appear. In fact, it is much easier than working with other 3D interfaces. The design procedures are relatively natural and intuitive to a 3D designer. The time investment is equal to or less than that of 2D drafting, but the final pay off is overwhelming. Not only do you have a parametric model with all of the uses described, but also more importantly, you are building a third-generation 3D database that will serve your company for years to come. This presentation will demonstrate the construction of 3D computer models using AutoCAD and 3D Studio Max, showing the benefits of technology, and how easy it is to use, even in the application of complex features.
Sydney Design '99 International Design Congress Publication