CAD for machine design vs industrial design?

Discussion in 'SolidWorks' started by Pat, Nov 10, 2005.

  1. Pat

    Pat Guest

    I'm somewhat new to the CAD area, and while looking around at different CAD
    products I've noticed that there seems to be a (somewhat vague) distinction
    between those oriented toward machine/mechanical design vs those oriented
    towards industrial design. However, it's not entirely clear to me what the
    differences are. On first blush the model examples they show all look the
    same.

    So I was hoping someone could shed some light on this. What is it, in terms
    of features or capabilities, that differentiates one from the other?

    Thanks for any info.

    Pat
     
    Pat, Nov 10, 2005
    #1
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  2. Pat

    Sporkman Guest

    You can get a good idea of the differences from the two different pages
    of my online portfolio (Acrobat format), linked from the main page of my
    Web site. The first page is all machine design, with one exception.
    The second page is all product design which at least somewhat
    incorporates industrial design principles (I don't call myself an
    industrial designer).

    'Sporky'
    www.h2omarkdesign.com
     
    Sporkman, Nov 10, 2005
    #2
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  3. Pat

    Bonobo Guest

    If I had to say one thing which I have used to make my final choices on
    CAD for now 20 years, it is ease-of-use.

    Unfortunately for me, I have bought lots of CAD packages in both 2D and
    3D before finding the ones which I consider easy to use.

    SolidWorks handles what I need for medical plastic product design and
    its tools, though I am not designing things with elaborate surfacing of
    "organic" shapes. There are surfacing tools and they are getting more
    powerful in SolidWorks, but I rarely used them and are not knowledgable
    about the full range of capabilities. There have been flame wars about
    the surfacing subject in the past year or so, but it is mostly by some
    people hearabouts who have an agenda to promote their orator image.

    If you are already in mechanical design, and work with other engineers
    and companies, you will need to collaborate with files you both can
    read and work with & will likely not want to deal with translation
    issues in a major way.

    Hence, talk to other companies and consultants and get a feel for what
    is used.

    SolidWorks has gone from zero users to something like 300,000 licensed
    users in about 10 years because it does perform for a lot of users and
    companies.

    Bo
     
    Bonobo, Nov 10, 2005
    #3
  4. Pat

    Sporkman Guest

    Guess I misread your initial post slightly, although I think the
    graphics might be useful to help envision what is required for
    industrial design as opposed to machine design. Good capability for
    SURFACING is probably the most major thing that distinguishes CAD for
    industrial design, along with good capability with lofts and sweeps.
    SolidWorks has all that, but a couple of the higher end MCADs (like
    Unigraphics and Catia) surely have some tools for that which outstrip
    SolidWorks.

    'Sporky'
     
    Sporkman, Nov 10, 2005
    #4
  5. Pat

    Cliff Guest

    Probably surfaces <G>.
     
    Cliff, Nov 10, 2005
    #5
  6. Pat

    neil Guest

    by some people hearabouts who have an agenda to promote their orator image

    meaning?
     
    neil, Nov 10, 2005
    #6
  7. Pat

    Bonobo Guest

    Promoting some other CAD package/s here in the SolidWorks user group,
    with a certain amount of persistance and rigor that makes one wonder
    why.
     
    Bonobo, Nov 10, 2005
    #7
  8. Pat

    Pat Guest

    Thanks for the all the replies.

    It makes sense that surfacing abilities would be a notable difference, given
    the intent of ID.

    Some other things I've seen comments about are the use of constraints to
    preserve "design intent" - which I guess is less common in industrial design
    products.

    What about things like the ability to detect interferences between parts,
    compute part volume, mass, or center of gravity? Those also seem like
    things that would be less critical for ID applications.

    Anyway, just something I started thinking about which made me wonder what
    the real differences were. Definitely a gray area though.

    Thanks again for the responses. -Pat
     
    Pat, Nov 10, 2005
    #8
  9. Pat

    Bonobo Guest

    Pat asked "What about things like the ability to detect interferences
    between parts,
    compute part volume, mass, or center of gravity? Those also seem like
    things that would be less critical for ID applications."

    SolidWorks handles all of these quite well, regardless of what you are
    designing.

    Bo
     
    Bonobo, Nov 10, 2005
    #9
  10. Pat

    Bonobo Guest

    Pat asked "What about things like the ability to detect interferences
    between parts,
    compute part volume, mass, or center of gravity? Those also seem like
    things that would be less critical for ID applications."

    SolidWorks handles all of these quite well, regardless of what you are
    designing.

    Bo
     
    Bonobo, Nov 10, 2005
    #10
  11. Pat

    Ken Guest

    Machine design is about making a product work, industrial design is about
    making it look pretty!

    Ken
     
    Ken, Nov 10, 2005
    #11
  12. Pat

    neil Guest

    ooooh!! - compulsory attendance at Ed's SWW presentation for you my lad...
     
    neil, Nov 10, 2005
    #12
  13. Pat

    Twit Guest

    A competent IDer will do both...
     
    Twit, Nov 10, 2005
    #13
  14. Pat

    TOP Guest

    The difference between industrial design is that industrial design (ID)
    is concerned with "swoopy" stuff and mechanical design (MED) is
    concerned with prismatic stuff. ID is organic shapes and aesthetics,
    MED is blocky things and documentation. ID spends a lot of time with
    creativity and variations on a theme for a single product, while MED
    spends a lot of time varying a single product to fit multiple market
    spots or grabbing things from catalogs.

    Now before the IDs and the MEDs jump all over me, I have to lay out the
    disclaimer that these are extremes and there is a blurred boundary.
    Sporky is a good example of that blurred boundary.

    There are CAD packages like Rhino that cater to the IDS. They are
    non-parametric but very good at the freeform and aesthetic. At it's
    heart Rhino is a math engine that manipulates state of the art math
    models of geometry. Then there is SolidWorks which is parametric and
    therefore able to make many variations on a single theme easily. But it
    is also able to do a fairly decent job of the freeform but the freedom
    to model is a bit more restricted. And at the heart of SW there is also
    a math engine, but it is surrounded by algorithms to make it user
    friendly.
     
    TOP, Nov 11, 2005
    #14
  15. Pat

    Pat Guest

    Yes, but would you find those same features in a CAD tool oriented more
    towards industrial design?

    Thanks, Pat
     
    Pat, Nov 11, 2005
    #15
  16. Pat

    Cliff Guest

    At some point some one may actually want to make something
    besides paper.
    What about CAD/CAM?
     
    Cliff, Nov 11, 2005
    #16
  17. Pat

    Pat Guest

    Very true.

    So is the main difference then between ID and MD CAD packages primarily just
    the tools (i.e. menu picks) the designer is given for creating models, where
    an ID oriented package gives you better tools for doing the curvy, swoopy,
    organic stuff, while an MD one gives you better tools for creating common
    "mechanical" shapes and solids?

    Pat
     
    Pat, Nov 11, 2005
    #17
  18. Pat

    Bonobo Guest

    If you are going to get serious about product design, I personally
    think you will wind up with more than one CAD package, and that is just
    the way it goes.

    If you buy SolidWorks, you really will likely want the Pro version and
    all those addins as they are very valuable additions. Likewise, you
    may find you eventually need the full "Mold Flow", and if so, the cost
    of the full package for analyzing your plastic molded parts will set
    you back another significant 4 figure chunk of dollars.

    If you get heavily into surfacing, you may then have to buy a package
    (Rhino or others) to do advanced surfacing, but I doubt any one package
    will replace the need to have a CAD application like SolidWorks. I've
    bought, used and tried a lot of 3D solids from InCAD (early 90s on the
    mac), Ashlar Vellum/Cobalt/..., SDRC I-DEAS, AutoCAD's smorgasbord, &
    looked at ProE, Unigraphics and I've stuck with SolidWorks for ease of
    getting up to speed in getting real work done fast.

    It really depends on what environment you are working in. If most
    people you are going to work with use ProE, then I'ld bet you would be
    best using a directly compatible product so your collaboration works
    fast.
     
    Bonobo, Nov 11, 2005
    #18
  19. Pat

    Bonobo Guest

    If you are going to get serious about product design, I personally
    think you will wind up with more than one CAD package, and that is just
    the way it goes.

    If you buy SolidWorks, you really will likely want the Pro version and
    all those addins as they are very valuable additions. Likewise, you
    may find you eventually need the full "Mold Flow", and if so, the cost
    of the full package for analyzing your plastic molded parts will set
    you back another significant 4 figure chunk of dollars.

    If you get heavily into surfacing, you may then have to buy a package
    (Rhino or others) to do advanced surfacing, but I doubt any one package
    will replace the need to have a CAD application like SolidWorks. I've
    bought, used and tried a lot of 3D solids from InCAD (early 90s on the
    mac), Ashlar Vellum/Cobalt/..., SDRC I-DEAS, AutoCAD's smorgasbord, &
    looked at ProE, Unigraphics and I've stuck with SolidWorks for ease of
    getting up to speed in getting real work done fast.

    It really depends on what environment you are working in. If most
    people you are going to work with use ProE, then I'ld bet you would be
    best using a directly compatible product so your collaboration works
    fast.
     
    Bonobo, Nov 11, 2005
    #19
  20. Pat

    Sporkman Guest

    Answer = no, that's too simplistic, but you're headed in the right
    direction. Think of MD (or MED) as not only the ability to create
    prismatic shapes and solids, but also to use those in proper fashion to
    create and sometimes analyze complex assemblies. So, there is the
    ability to create and handle assemblies with large numbers of parts and
    also (absolutely necessary) subassemblies, to deal with geometric
    relationships between components, and to generate engineering drawings
    (with proper tolerances) to create manufacturable items, to calculate
    centers of gravity and moments of inertia based on density information,
    and to included metadata useful in bills of material, etc., etc., etc..
    Industrial Design often requires some limited amount of the above (but
    often minus the need for engineering drawings) and also the necessity to
    do other things besides just "swoopy" features. Creating draft for
    molds, for instance, especially since a large percentage of ID design
    work is for injection molded plastics. But there is SUCH a huge overlap
    of requirements (e.g., draft is also necessary for most kinds of
    casting/forging design) that most of the major-player CAD companies out
    there have found it to be in their best interests not only to provide
    only pretty complete tools for one, but also to provide pretty complete
    tools for the other . . . SolidWorks included. Most of the differences
    between CAD softwares in these areas are in degree only, and in the
    number of bugs and quirks, and in stability and in quality of technical
    support. There are exceptions. IronCAD targetted mechanical design
    specifically and left out most tools for anything else. Think3 went the
    opposite direction. Neither company is doing well as a result. McNeel
    (Rhino3D) is probably an exception there also -- they've done well
    enough by targeting a small segment, but doing it quite well and in ways
    useful to people who use other softwares.

    Mark 'Sporky' Stapleton
    Watermark Design, LLC
    www.h2omarkdesign.com
     
    Sporkman, Nov 11, 2005
    #20
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