CAD for machine design vs industrial design?

I'm somewhat new to the CAD area, and while looking around at different CAD
products I've noticed that there seems to be a (somewhat vague) distinction
between those oriented toward machine/mechanical design vs those oriented
towards industrial design. However, it's not entirely clear to me what the
differences are. On first blush the model examples they show all look the
same.
So I was hoping someone could shed some light on this. What is it, in terms
of features or capabilities, that differentiates one from the other?
Thanks for any info.
Pat
Reply to
Pat
Loading thread data ...
You can get a good idea of the differences from the two different pages of my online portfolio (Acrobat format), linked from the main page of my Web site. The first page is all machine design, with one exception. The second page is all product design which at least somewhat incorporates industrial design principles (I don't call myself an industrial designer).
'Sporky'
formatting link

Pat wrote:
Reply to
Sporkman
If I had to say one thing which I have used to make my final choices on CAD for now 20 years, it is ease-of-use.
Unfortunately for me, I have bought lots of CAD packages in both 2D and 3D before finding the ones which I consider easy to use.
SolidWorks handles what I need for medical plastic product design and its tools, though I am not designing things with elaborate surfacing of "organic" shapes. There are surfacing tools and they are getting more powerful in SolidWorks, but I rarely used them and are not knowledgable about the full range of capabilities. There have been flame wars about the surfacing subject in the past year or so, but it is mostly by some people hearabouts who have an agenda to promote their orator image.
If you are already in mechanical design, and work with other engineers and companies, you will need to collaborate with files you both can read and work with & will likely not want to deal with translation issues in a major way.
Hence, talk to other companies and consultants and get a feel for what is used.
SolidWorks has gone from zero users to something like 300,000 licensed users in about 10 years because it does perform for a lot of users and companies.
Bo
Reply to
Bonobo
Guess I misread your initial post slightly, although I think the graphics might be useful to help envision what is required for industrial design as opposed to machine design. Good capability for SURFACING is probably the most major thing that distinguishes CAD for industrial design, along with good capability with lofts and sweeps. SolidWorks has all that, but a couple of the higher end MCADs (like Unigraphics and Catia) surely have some tools for that which outstrip SolidWorks.
'Sporky'
Reply to
Sporkman
Promoting some other CAD package/s here in the SolidWorks user group, with a certain amount of persistance and rigor that makes one wonder why.
Reply to
Bonobo
Thanks for the all the replies.
It makes sense that surfacing abilities would be a notable difference, given the intent of ID.
Some other things I've seen comments about are the use of constraints to preserve "design intent" - which I guess is less common in industrial design products.
What about things like the ability to detect interferences between parts, compute part volume, mass, or center of gravity? Those also seem like things that would be less critical for ID applications.
Anyway, just something I started thinking about which made me wonder what the real differences were. Definitely a gray area though.
Thanks again for the responses. -Pat
Reply to
Pat
Pat asked "What about things like the ability to detect interferences between parts, compute part volume, mass, or center of gravity? Those also seem like things that would be less critical for ID applications."
SolidWorks handles all of these quite well, regardless of what you are designing.
Bo
Reply to
Bonobo
Pat asked "What about things like the ability to detect interferences between parts, compute part volume, mass, or center of gravity? Those also seem like things that would be less critical for ID applications."
SolidWorks handles all of these quite well, regardless of what you are designing.
Bo
Reply to
Bonobo
Machine design is about making a product work, industrial design is about making it look pretty!
Ken
Reply to
Ken
ooooh!! - compulsory attendance at Ed's SWW presentation for you my lad...
Reply to
neil
A competent IDer will do both...
Ken wrote:
Reply to
Twit
The difference between industrial design is that industrial design (ID) is concerned with "swoopy" stuff and mechanical design (MED) is concerned with prismatic stuff. ID is organic shapes and aesthetics, MED is blocky things and documentation. ID spends a lot of time with creativity and variations on a theme for a single product, while MED spends a lot of time varying a single product to fit multiple market spots or grabbing things from catalogs.
Now before the IDs and the MEDs jump all over me, I have to lay out the disclaimer that these are extremes and there is a blurred boundary. Sporky is a good example of that blurred boundary.
There are CAD packages like Rhino that cater to the IDS. They are non-parametric but very good at the freeform and aesthetic. At it's heart Rhino is a math engine that manipulates state of the art math models of geometry. Then there is SolidWorks which is parametric and therefore able to make many variations on a single theme easily. But it is also able to do a fairly decent job of the freeform but the freedom to model is a bit more restricted. And at the heart of SW there is also a math engine, but it is surrounded by algorithms to make it user friendly.
Reply to
TOP
Yes, but would you find those same features in a CAD tool oriented more towards industrial design?
Thanks, Pat
Reply to
Pat
Very true.
So is the main difference then between ID and MD CAD packages primarily just the tools (i.e. menu picks) the designer is given for creating models, where an ID oriented package gives you better tools for doing the curvy, swoopy, organic stuff, while an MD one gives you better tools for creating common "mechanical" shapes and solids?
Pat
Reply to
Pat
If you are going to get serious about product design, I personally think you will wind up with more than one CAD package, and that is just the way it goes.
If you buy SolidWorks, you really will likely want the Pro version and all those addins as they are very valuable additions. Likewise, you may find you eventually need the full "Mold Flow", and if so, the cost of the full package for analyzing your plastic molded parts will set you back another significant 4 figure chunk of dollars.
If you get heavily into surfacing, you may then have to buy a package (Rhino or others) to do advanced surfacing, but I doubt any one package will replace the need to have a CAD application like SolidWorks. I've bought, used and tried a lot of 3D solids from InCAD (early 90s on the mac), Ashlar Vellum/Cobalt/..., SDRC I-DEAS, AutoCAD's smorgasbord, & looked at ProE, Unigraphics and I've stuck with SolidWorks for ease of getting up to speed in getting real work done fast.
It really depends on what environment you are working in. If most people you are going to work with use ProE, then I'ld bet you would be best using a directly compatible product so your collaboration works fast.
Reply to
Bonobo
If you are going to get serious about product design, I personally think you will wind up with more than one CAD package, and that is just the way it goes.
If you buy SolidWorks, you really will likely want the Pro version and all those addins as they are very valuable additions. Likewise, you may find you eventually need the full "Mold Flow", and if so, the cost of the full package for analyzing your plastic molded parts will set you back another significant 4 figure chunk of dollars.
If you get heavily into surfacing, you may then have to buy a package (Rhino or others) to do advanced surfacing, but I doubt any one package will replace the need to have a CAD application like SolidWorks. I've bought, used and tried a lot of 3D solids from InCAD (early 90s on the mac), Ashlar Vellum/Cobalt/..., SDRC I-DEAS, AutoCAD's smorgasbord, & looked at ProE, Unigraphics and I've stuck with SolidWorks for ease of getting up to speed in getting real work done fast.
It really depends on what environment you are working in. If most people you are going to work with use ProE, then I'ld bet you would be best using a directly compatible product so your collaboration works fast.
Reply to
Bonobo
Answer = no, that's too simplistic, but you're headed in the right direction. Think of MD (or MED) as not only the ability to create prismatic shapes and solids, but also to use those in proper fashion to create and sometimes analyze complex assemblies. So, there is the ability to create and handle assemblies with large numbers of parts and also (absolutely necessary) subassemblies, to deal with geometric relationships between components, and to generate engineering drawings (with proper tolerances) to create manufacturable items, to calculate centers of gravity and moments of inertia based on density information, and to included metadata useful in bills of material, etc., etc., etc.. Industrial Design often requires some limited amount of the above (but often minus the need for engineering drawings) and also the necessity to do other things besides just "swoopy" features. Creating draft for molds, for instance, especially since a large percentage of ID design work is for injection molded plastics. But there is SUCH a huge overlap of requirements (e.g., draft is also necessary for most kinds of casting/forging design) that most of the major-player CAD companies out there have found it to be in their best interests not only to provide only pretty complete tools for one, but also to provide pretty complete tools for the other . . . SolidWorks included. Most of the differences between CAD softwares in these areas are in degree only, and in the number of bugs and quirks, and in stability and in quality of technical support. There are exceptions. IronCAD targetted mechanical design specifically and left out most tools for anything else. Think3 went the opposite direction. Neither company is doing well as a result. McNeel (Rhino3D) is probably an exception there also -- they've done well enough by targeting a small segment, but doing it quite well and in ways useful to people who use other softwares.
Mark 'Sporky' Stapleton Watermark Design, LLC
formatting link
Reply to
Sporkman
IDs might require things like G2 tangency and a broader range of surfacing tools. For example the ID part of Unigraphics (NX) can take a scanned in sketch and use it as a basis for a cad model. IDs might also require more splines and the like.
On the drawing side, IDS might require more types of pictorial views like 2 and 3 point perspective and oblique as well as the ability to make renderings. IDs might also require the ability to output to 3D printing type devices or to make sketch like renderings of a model.
Reply to
TOP
After reading Mark & TOP, I have to say that you are still faced with the choice of starting somewhere, and just expecting you will likely broaden your 3D applications later.
SolidWorks offers a broad array of tools to do actual products and machines in a whole variety of ways with drawings and bills of material & some simple Cosmos & Mold Flow built into the SWKs Pro package and then the large array of add-on 3rd Party providers, and as such is a darned good starting point.
Bo
Reply to
Bonobo

PolyTech Forum website is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.