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Designers should think like a Machinist when Modeling

June 16, 2014

If I model it, yes, it can be made, but at what cost?

I feel that every Designer and/or Engineer should spend some quality time in the Machine Shop.  Believe me, even the Machinist would like you to spend some time there as well,  so (the proverbial) we can have the most functional, highest quality, and cheapest part available … that will do the job.

The Designer needs to think of the entire life cycle of the part, from raw stock through customer interface.

  • Raw Stock – does it come in a standard size, and is it available?
  • Model Features – are they per standard sizes either by company or industry standards?
  • Multiple Features – are they common or is every hole, slot, radius, etc different?
  • Tooling Features – is it necessary to have a sharp corner or would a standard tooling radius work better at the bottom of a pocket?
  • Standard Tooling – can existing tools (cheaper) be used or is custom tooling (more expensive) necessary?
  • Edges – typically, your standard break edge note should suffice, but if you must, chamfers are preferred for outside edges, and a radius for internal edges

Best tip:  Consult your fab shop prior to releasing your design.  They can provide valuable insight (suggestions about raw material, finishes, cutters, cost, etc) into producing the best possible product.

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