Purveyors of feature-based parametric modelers constantly trumpet their ability to capture “design intent” in a model. (A typical example is “A through hole will always be a through hole.”)
Now after 42 years as a design engineer, I can honestly tell you that design intent will bite you in the mouse as often as it will help you! Why? Well, building design intent into a model presupposes that you know what will be happening in the future to your design.
I’ve got news for you. If you’re that good at predicting the future, you should probably pack up your CAD station and go down to the local track. You’ll make more money betting on the ponies! All kidding aside, let’s look at the typical example illustrated above.
This part was designed in SolidWorks and imported into KeyCreator.
In our Power Play #1 we already looked at how we can quickly modify this part even though it is not native to KeyCreator.
This time let’s up the ante! We can also quickly make a major modification that is a real headache to accomplish in SolidWorks!
Notice that the rectangular bosses that cross the bottom face of the original part stop short of the cylindrical wall.
In the original design, these bosses were created by sketching centered-rectangles that were then extruded upward from the main body.
The design intent was to create a rectangular boss whose dimensions could be quickly changed using the magic of parametric driving dimensions. (That sounds impressive, doesn’t it?)
Of course, when the manufacturing team got involved, their first question was, “Why can’t we just extend the bosses out to the cylindrical wall. (Illustrated to the right.) This is a cleaner, simpler part to fabricate.
Now if you anticipated this change in SolidWorks, you would probably have approached building the part in a different way.
Unfortunately you didn’t. With the current design tree, going for a root canal would probably be a more pleasant experience!
In KeyCreator, however, the change is astoundingly easy! We simple use the Offset Face tool and use Face Logic to automatically select a pattern of the four faces. These faces are then extended out past the current cylindrical face. (Four simple mouse clicks!)
The extended sections are then quickly trimmed using the Single Trim Function to get our final part.
The Offset Faces Tool used in this example is part of an extensive set of face manipulation tools that cannot be equaled by any other mid-range CAD solution.
Combined with the power of face logic and pattern/feature recognition, this one set of functions provides over one hundred powerful design manipulation tools!
So the next time design intent bites you in the mouse, think about coming to KeyCreator, where you can always modify your part regardless of your original design concept.