I’m reading an interesting post on GrabCAD by Khadija Ouajjani that discusses the testing of a 3D design.
Ouajjani is a mechanical design engineer working in aerospace, where part design is critical. She explains how her designs undergo a proper analysis to determine if they will successfully meet the challenges they’ll face when put in their intended environment.
The first analysis is, “Know where your part is working, and how it works, and how it reacts with the whole environment.” Ouajjani considers vibration, heat and impact effects that the part might be subjected to.
She follows with several analyses, including static, where the part undergoes the expected stresses; dynamic, where its motion is analyzed; vibration; and thermal.
It’s a good read, especially if you are not a trained engineer, who would normally consider all these aspects of design when developing a part.
But I suspect many readers of this publication are new to the idea of making and perhaps have undertaken the task of learning 3D CAD tools to enable the creation of new parts. While that’s a definite advantage in the world of 3D printing over those who cannot create their own designs, the piece by Ouajjani points out there are steps to take beyond learning 3D CAD tools.
You must also engineer your part to survive and thrive in its intended environment.
For many personal projects, such requirements are minimal and can even be ignored completely in many cases. However, those who are developing anything sophisticated, it may be reasonable to add some engineering skills to the project.
However, gaining engineering skills is not something you just do on a weekend; it takes considerable training to become proficient and completion of accredited programs to become certified. Thus in many cases, it may be best to find yourself a friendly engineer who can assist in the development of your project.
Either that or you may be surprised when your parts fail.