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by Chris Fisichella, August 21, 2015

No Need to Dumb Down CAD for the Sake of Finite Element Analysis

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Automated geometry simplification tools from Autodesk make it easy to allow well documented CAD to be ready for simulation tools.

As a design engineer, you are often asked to remove features from your model. I have heard the following reasons:

  1. To save disk space
  2. To make it easier to display large models
  3. To make it possible to run simulations on the models

In this blog, I’ll take on number three in that list because numbers one and two can be dealt with at the CAD administrator level. I would like to argue the need for simplifying models for the sake of making it possible to input into a simulation tool is no longer a valid argument. Successfully arguing this point causes an engineer to delete perfectly good features he/she spent time modeling. If you get a chance, check out this screencast hosted by Autodesk. It shows how a CAD model that is well documented can be quickly and automatically simplified (I’m thinking about the defeaturing tool right now) so that the model can be used in downstream tools such as Simulation Mechanical, Moldflow, and CFD.

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The engineers are typically long gone after the true need to refer to the CAD arises. In particular, production, service and sustaining personnel use the CAD to

  1. Source replacement vendors
  2. Find replacement parts
  3. Solve problems that arise after the products are in the hands of customers

Having an accurate database is very important. Indeed, meta data is sometimes filled out to aid in these recovery processes. Many times, however, these fields are overlooked at design time because their entry takes away from the important task of modeling the design. By allowing lettering, tell-tale chamfers, screw holes, and small features, the value of the CAD database is maximized. It will stand as a reference for prototypes, initial builds, first articles, mature product best CAD practice, and model obsolescence tasks.

SimStudio Tools is available with 2016 releases of simulation software from Autodesk.

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