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By Jeremy Losek, Sep 14th, 2021

Get Your Design Converted Into a 3D CAD Model

Computer Aided Design, or CAD, is the use of computers by engineers to create electronic design files. CAD software increases the productivity of the design engineer, and the output can be used directly for manufacturing processes. The data contained in the CAD model translates to the actual dimensions of the physical part produced from it.

Why is it Important to Have a 3D CAD Model?

First of all, a CAD file is necessary for the manufacturer to be able to assess the part. A CAD file is required for the quotation process, and required for the manufacturing process. Since the machines get their instructions from the data contained in the file, they are dependent on the file data to issue the machining commands, whether to machine an injection mold tool or to CNC machine a part. It is the digital representation of the physical part that provides production accuracy and repeatability.

Another reason a CAD model is important is that is can be analyzed by CAD software programs to provide production feedback. These software programs can provide very valuable information regarding the manufacturability of the part. At the Design For Manufacturability (DFM) stage, the software can point out critical areas of a part that may cause performance or cosmetic issues when the physical part is made. Knowing this information up front can allow for pre-production design revisions to eliminate or mitigate the issues, thus saving the time and money of having to re-work tooling had the issues not been known pre-production.

Important Questions You Need to Answer When Getting a CAD Design

The more information you can share with your CAD designer the less likely you are to run into design issues. Answering these three questions will give the CAD designer additional information that will help guide the design process:

1. What Production Process Will be Used to Make Your Part?

One of the most important things to consider when creating a CAD design is what production method will be used. Designing a part that will be produced with plastic injection molding has different requirements than a part that will be produced with CNC machining. For example, a part designed for the CNC machining process might require different design aspects to be injection molded. If a CAD designer is aware of the production process in advance, s/he can make sure the design conforms to it.

2. How Many Parts Do You Plan on Producing?

While part quantity might not directly affect your CAD design, it can dictate  the preferred production method, which does affect the design, as described above. For example, if you only plan on doing a small run (like under 100 parts), CNC machining might be the more cost-effective method. For larger runs (like over 500 parts), it becomes much cheaper and faster to use plastic injection molding.

3. What Material Do You Plan on Using?

Not all materials are the same. You need to consider the environment your parts are going to be operating in.  For example, if your parts will be operating in a hot environment, then you will want a material that can tolerate high heat. Another consideration that may affect your design is the strength of materials. For example, one material may allow you to create thin walls in your design and remain structurally sound, while another material maybe too brittle to use at the same thickness. Choosing a material ahead of time can help eliminate design issues, as those material weaknesses and strengths can be accounted for.

Get Started on Your 3D CAD Model With Our Partners at ZVerse

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Disclaimer: ICO Mold partners with ZVerse for professional 3D CAD model design services and is not responsible or liable in any way for designs produced. ZVerse guarantees that all files will be manufacturable via the chosen manufacturing process. For additional information, please see the Warranties section of our Terms and Conditions.

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