Creating a Part Using Computer-Aided Design

CAD stands for Computer-Aided Design. It provides us with the ability to save, share, and edit designs. At ShapeMaster we utilize two software: SolidWorks by Dassault Systems and Fusion 360 by AUTODESK. 

At ShapeMaster, we believe that it is important to start with a sketch in a few basic views including side view, front view, top view, and orthographic projection view. The more details that you show on paper will allow for the ability to work through the design and find problems before creating a CAD model and dimensioned prints. Many times, when a product is rushed and CAD models have no dimensions, there can be issues for the draftsperson or machinist making the parts. As with any project, with greater detail and features shown and notated, there will be higher accuracy on the final product. Once a length, width, and height is known, a few details for the part can begin to be modeled on computer software. Simple items can be modeled in CAD in under 30 minutes. 

Most software we use will then allow you to take the model and create a print that has all of the nomenclature and a title block for use in conveying the following: 

  • Type of material
  • Color of material
  • Standard industry thickness or tolerance
  • Special properties 
  • Who has drawn this print
  • Who has checked this print
  • Date
  • Part Number and/or Name
  • Revision number or letter

Once a model in CAD space has begun, you have options for how you wish to save this design and export it so that others may view or use your work. The part that you can see in the photo to the right was modeled in 5 minutes in SolidWorks, with color added and saved in three photos to convey the concept part. This part has the potential to be used in many ways. If saved as an STL file, it could be 3D printed into a pen holder or multiples could be created to be pieces for a game. 

This began as a 4’’ square drawn on the top plane and was then extruded upwards with a 5-degree angle on all four sides 4’’ tall. Next, a .5’’ radius was applied to all four edges and the top surface to soften the block. A wall thickness of .150’’ was chosen and the inside was shelled. The shell feature is a commonly used tool that allows you to take a billet or block and create a hollow item. Finally, color was applied. To show the corner radius and additional detail, the display style was turned on to show a wireframe with surfaces.