Learn about the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform Manufacturability Check tool that works with both Additive and Subtractive manufacturing processes to determine if your model can be produced.
At some point in the concurrent design process, someone has to ask, “Do we even have the capability to machine this?”. Really it is asking the question “Based on the size, shape, and features… can our machine handle this”?
A lot of the time, having a conversation with your machine shop or manufacturing partners can answer a lot of these questions but this workflow poses two problems.
- First, you are relying on back-and-forth communication which can drag on, add time to the design process, and can be an inefficient way to work.
- Second, this process requires many manual steps of someone physically looking at the size and features included in the part.
The 3DEXPERIENCE Platform has a purpose-built tool for this scenario called the “Manufacturability Check”. This tool works with both Additive manufacturing (3D printing) and Subtractive manufacturing processes to ensure both ends of the manufacturing spectrum are covered.
How to check the manufacturability of your models
Check by Process
The first way to ensure manufacturability is with the more manual “Check by Process” command (found in the Performing Check tab). The dialogue box that appears is split into two columns: one for Additive and the other for Subtractive. Each has a set of options to help check for the manufacturability of a particular part. These include options for maximum size, minimum wall thickness, and minimum hole diameter. These values are manually set to ensure that our current manufacturing capabilities are able to support the part as modeled. If any of the options are unimportant, they can be easily toggled off so the tool only checks what we care for.
Check with Resources
The more automated and efficient way to check manufacturability is to use the “Check with Resources” command. Before I even get to set parameters, a prompt appears to select an existing manufacturing cell (the 3D Representation of our shop machine). Once selected, the manufacturing cell brings along all the parameters that were manually input using the “Check with Process” command. If any changes are needed such as adjusting the minimum hole size if our smallest drill bit breaks, the parameters are easily modifiable at this stage. In other words, we aren’t stuck with values because we pulled them from our library. At this stage, multiple manufacturing cells can be added to check manufacturability against every machine in our shop at once. There is no need to test them individually when we can do it on a smooth bulk operation.
With a check complete, the final step is to review the results. The results are organized into the different criteria selected based on Additive, Subtractive, or any specific manufacturing cells tested. Additionally, the tool provides colored feedback to let the user know if we are passing or failing. In the example below, the sample subtractive machine passes but the additive as well as my Tormach both failed.
Expanding any of the sections provides more detail into why a specific method has failed and can give an indication of where improvements to the model need to be made. For example, my minimum wall thickness fails and I would need to increase that in the model.
With any process, removing the amount of manual work needed to check and approve something can lead to increased efficiency and reduced errors. Especially when relating to our manufacturability, ensuring that the parts designed can be machined by the in-house or manufacturing partner’s tooling is a great way to produce better parts in a faster way. Additionally, having a tool to help automate the check so another team member does not have to review every aspect of the design by hand can help speed up the time it takes to go from the initial design to the manufactured part. If you are interested in seeing how the Manufacturability Check can be another part of your manufacturing tool belt, contact us today!
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