Imagine the number of design alternatives that come with the exploration of all possible permutation and combinations of a single 3D CAD design which is prepared. Now imagine the kind of business opportunities and the worth it can bring for a fabricator. Yes, we are talking about generative design approach in CAD for fabricators and, what all it holds in store.
A remarkable incidence in generative design approach, for Hack Rod’s racer car billions of data points were generated, which were used later by Dreamcatcher to design one ultimate chassis. Like Hack Rod, there are millions of fabricators across the globe trying to inculcate innovation in their deliverables by leveraging generative designs.
First look of generative designs
Generative designs in CAD addresses nature’s evolutionary approach to design and achieve the exact design goals. It empowers design engineers and fabricators to go that extra mile to explore multiple design options while including all the legacy factors of materials, manufacturing methods and cost constraints.
In its most fundamental form, mechanical designs are ripe for two functionalities – design automation and design optimization. Design optimization is being taken care of pretty well, with umpteen analyses software like ANSYS etc. and simulation capabilities of SolidWorks, Autodesk’s Inventor etc.
However, real challenges are in exploring multiple design options and implement them with a confirmation. Such challenges can essentially be eliminated with generative design approach in 3D CAD. CAD platforms and plugins can really automate the grunt work and confirm designs exactly as envisioned by design engineers.
Generative designs and fabrication
Generative designs isn’t a new concept, it has just been ballooned by recent sequences of events, one of which is cited above. But the catch here is the software intelligence. Depending upon the material and method chosen for fabrication, the software optimizes the design for its functionality.
The major challenge for fabricators is that even when standardized and general CAD models are released for fabrication there are engineering change orders which originate from shop floors. One of the reasons behind this is complex designs and shapes which are difficult to generate with a typical machine tool and spatial arrangement on the floor.
When there are numerous challenges with standard designs, one can imagine the difficulties fabricator would face with generative designs.
Changing the fabricators’ perspective
Apart from enabling formulation of complex geometry easily and allowing these designs to evolve very lucidly, generative design approach has several other takeaways as well. It empowers CAD design engineers to explore numerous design alternatives and select the most feasible one for fabrication.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that fabricating these generative designs has become easier by multiple folds, and CAD has contributed significantly. One of the notable examples includes APIs with CAD packages which are employed to generate CNC programs.
Plus, while undertaking CAD generative design approach, creativity isn’t affected even a bit; it rather opened new avenues. Quick design exploration shortens the design cycle time and iterations which ultimately give fabricators the edge to churn out better end products [on time]. It also creates a room for the inculcation of innovation in their deliverables through a cost effective medium.
First feasible option
With the generative design approach, all that a designer needs to do is to enable a basic 3D CAD model and let computer algorithms take it further to reach optimized designs. This approach essentially accomplishes the task of finalizing the design by selecting first feasible option while exploring each design permutation. Artificial intelligence associated with generative design approach in CAD brings out the most and the best design options.
Making impossible industrial designs – possible
Specifically, in CAD world, a generative design isn’t a very new concept; it’s been accepted for a couple years now. Yet, there are product design engineers and fabricators who struggle with design options. The only way further is to develop a native 3D CAD model [a smart move] to enter the realms of generative designs. The reason that fabricators struggle with limited design option is that they aren’t leveraging CAD enough for their progress. Once that is sorted, making products like chassis by Hack Rod will become more frequent.