by Renaud Anjoran
When it comes to developing hard goods, there are often mechanical parts. They need to be designed before prototypes start to be made.
Mechanical parts can refer to internal mechanisms to drive trains and cases, and everything in between. In other words, all the components of a product that have a physical presence and are not part of the electronics design.
Design is generally carried out using computer aided design (CAD) software that allows individual physical components to be designed and developed in a three-dimensional space. As individual components are developed, they can be built into an assembly using the same 3D CAD software.
Some of the advantages of using 3D CAD software to design and develop products are:
The image above is a screen shot of a product designed using 3D CAD software. In this view you can see the green top section has been made transparent thus allowing the viewer to see inside the design. The red sections indicate problems from a clash point of view within the assembly itself.
These issues can be fixed before data is released to a supplier who would produce prototype parts. Without the 3D CAD, drawings may have been sent to the supplier, prototype parts made and only when the assembly was put together the clash issues would have been found. This would result in rework and additional parts being made for checking again.