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Importance of Reusability in CADD

reuse cadReusability is one of the important advantages of CADD. With CADD, it is never necessary to draw anything more than once. Developing a CADD symbols library further enhances the ability to reuse content. Building a parts library for reusability has increased productivity, decreased development costs, and set the highest standards for quality at the Test and Measurement Documentation Group at Tektronix, Inc. The parts library began by reusing 3-D isometric parts created by the CADD illustrator and saved as symbols in a parts library directory. By pathing the named symbols back to this library directory, each symbol becomes accessible to any directory and drawing file. This allows the CADD illustrator to insert library symbols into any drawing by selecting named symbols from the directory.

The illustrator adds new parts to the library as a product is disassembled and illustrated. Each part is given the next available number as its symbol name in the library as shown in Figure.

cad reuseOriginally, the CADD drawings were combined with text (written using Microsoft Word) in desktop-publishing software to create technical publications. Now, the CADD drawings are added to document files in specialized technical-publishing software. The entire parts library is available to both CADD and technical-publication software users (see Figure).

From the point of view of cost management, the parts library has saved hundreds of hours of work. From the illustrator’s view, the parts library helps improve productivity and frees time for new or complex projects.

 

Design Reusability In Solidworks

“I know that part’s here somewhere… I think I saved it in the XXX project folder…  We designed a similar assembly last year…” Sound familiar? If you’ve ever spent time hunting for previous designs or recreated the same content multiple times, you’re not alone. Fortunately, SOLIDWORKS includes powerful capabilities that minimize this pain and help you get your job done fast.

Design Library

  • Includes out of the box standard mechanical design content (like o-ring grooves, keyways, sheet metal punches, etc.)
  • Windows folder structure – easy to organize and share with co-workers
  • Easily add content you re-use (like drawing notes, feature sets, purchased parts and assemblies, company logos, welding symbols, start parts, and much more)

SOLIDWORKS Toolbox

  • Included with SOLIDWORKS professional and premium (turn on the add-in)
  • Thousands of standard hardware components (o-rings, nuts, bolts, washers, gears, retaining rings, bearings, pins, and much more)
  • Fully configured with all standard sizes and lengths
  • Autosize to your corresponding features
  • Can add BOM details and custom components using the “Configure Toolbox” wizard

Integrated SOLIDWORKS Search

  • Setup all locations you want to index
  • Tools > Options > System Options > File Locations > Search Paths
  • Set options like when to index and whether to show 3DCC results
  • Tools > Options > System Options > Search
  • Use the keyboard shortcut “I” to activate the search

3D Content Central

  • Free online resource
  • Thousands of vendors with configurable and downloadable 3D files and tons of user-uploaded content too
  • Preview 3D files right in the browser
  • Use integrated SOLIDWORKS search (if 3DCC set to show in results)
  • Drop right into SOLIDWORKS

Mate References

  • Add to any part or assembly you will re-use and want to snap into position
  • Use a circular edge between a cylindrical and planar face to get both concentric and coincident mates added.
  • Add up to 3 references and name the mate reference to get it to find mating components automatically. Just use the same name for the mate reference in the mating part.  Put into an assembly and they will snap together like magic.

Smart Components

  • Allow you to insert features, parts, or both. Think mounting holes and hardware for example.
  • Features can include full tolerances that will carry over.
  • Use a simple setup assembly when creating the smart component (I store them in my design library).
  • Create: edit the part in the context of the setup assembly and use Tools > Make Smart Component.
  • Use: insert and position the part in your assembly. Click the smart component icon in the graphics or right-click the part > Insert Smart Features.  Select what to include and any references needed.

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