During the tool design process, it is critical to have the right tools available to complete the project according to the required quality standards. This especially rings true when designing powerful and accurate portable machine tools used during the production process and plant maintenance in any industry in any location. Most tool designers do not use the tools they create daily so they must meet the requirements of production life. To meet these goals, tool designers must utilize a variety of crucial resources, some simple, some complicated, which include:
The Simple Tools
Believe it or not, the most important tools used during machine design include a calculator, sketchpad, and a pencil. The sketchpad and writing utensil has been crucial since the beginning of tool design and just as important today. While modern software is essential, a good designer should not rely on advanced computer programs alone. During the design process, most initial designs are hand-drawn before transferring into the software. The best ideas and executions originate from playing around on a sketchpad and brainstorming various options to help solve a challenge.
The More Complicated Tools
3D CAD Software
Once those sketches are more refined and feasible, powerful computer software sits at the heart of all toolkits. Like a graphic designer using Adobe Photoshop, most tool designers use SolidWorks 3D CAD software which grasps what designers need and bundles it into a user-friendly and visual package. As the software continues to evolve, additional features like quoting and cost estimate tools help designer’s delivery projects that are within budget and the resulting 3D files can be converted into stunning animations and physical parts on a 3D printer.
As the power of the mobile device improves, many designers are using mobile apps to achieve the tool design they need. Some of the most popular apps include:
1) Iscar IbaQus
The Iscar IbaQus app provides access to five applications used in metal-cutting operations while linking to Tech Talk podcasts. One of the applications, the Machining Calculator, computers an operation’s metal removal rate, power consumption, and cutting time.
- RealCalc Scientific Calculator
- RealCalc Scientific Calculator is an essential app in any designer’s toolbox. The software delivers all functions of a regular scientific calculator and best-of-all, it is free to use. The Android version works on tablet and mobile devices and can calculate percentages, degrees, fractions, and niche sums, including RPN operations.
- Sandvik Coromant Calculator
Finally, the Sandvik Coromant Calculator is an easy-to-use machining calculator that helps optimize milling, turning, and drilling applications allowing for the measurement of diameters, cutting speeds, and feed per tooth.
Many think a tool designer’s toolbox is a complicated hodgepodge of equipment and machines. While machines are important, the most crucial tools are a sketchpad, calculator, pencil, software, and the designer’s brain and eye for manufacturing. These critical resources help create a tool design that is efficient, within spec, and can produce beautiful components.