15. Computer Aided Design (CAD)
• Recall the basic process of design (or at least one of the many)
• The important phases of this diagram are,
The ongoing refinement of the overall design
The ongoing refinement of the detailed design
• This diagram (or at least the main concepts) form the basis for CAD systems. A complete CAD system will provide as much of the structure above as possible.
• Some of the tools provided in a CAD environment are,
Innovative and conceptual design
Structuring of part (e.g. assemblies)
Knowledge based/intelligent design tools
Engineering design information (standards lookup, or electronic catalogs)
• Some applications are well suited to 2D CAD systems,
PCBs (Printed Circuit Board Design)
ICs (Integrated Circuit Design)
Mapping (road maps, topographical maps)
• Consider the example of a sheet metal layout
• 3D CAD systems are becoming widely used for Mechanical design in a number of businesses these days including,
• CAD systems provide advantages such as,
Graphical display of hard to visualize information (e.g. 3D warping of plastic part)
Standardized drawings, and documents
Customer perception is improved
Productivity improvement over time
Evaluation of alternate concepts
Analytical investigation of parts
Detailed drawings and specifications
Preliminary ‘construction’ of design prototype
Easy bridge to prototype construction
• A very brief history of CAD development is listed
1940s: First digital computer developed
1950s: Commercial computers become available
1955: CRTs begin being used in military projects
1957: APT II (Automatic Programmed Tool) developed for generating NC control. Automated NC used in industry.
1959: Stromberk Carlson develops a system to interpret graphics on tape, then output them to a screen, or print on special paper
1963: Ivan Sutherland presents a paper on “Sketchpad” which allows interactive graphics
1965: Lockheed introduces a CAD/CAM system, and a FEM system. McDonnell introduces CADD
1966: Business world sees Wall Street Journal title “Electronic Sketching; Engineers Focus on Screen to Design Visually via Computer; Keyboard Enlarges, Rotates ‘Drawings’; Lockheed, GM Enthusiastic About Uses”
1971: David Prince writes first book on computer graphics
1975: ICAM (Integrated Computer Aided Manufacturing) project is begun by US Airforce
1976: Color raster graphics technology begins to develop.
1979: Development of IGES begins
1980: Introduction of PCs revolutionizes all markets
1990s: Solid Modeling on low end systems
Allow a user to input geometry, and other information
Provide methods for manipulating the geometry
Provide for display output for the user
Allow storage of the design in formats which can be used in other CAD and CAM packages
• There are other features of great value to a CAD system,
Don’t forget the manuals, They can help get through the tough times. If not, you may spend a lot of money calling help lines.
• Each CAD package allows us to manipulate the geometrical model using various interactive techniques.
• Editing Geometry depends upon the representation the geometry is stored with.
• If an elemental (remember: lines, circles, arcs, etc.) geometric model is used, then the methods are much different than a B-Rep model.
• The major editing methods used are for Elemental, Surfaces, and CSG.
15.4.1 2D Curves and Lines
• A number of functions must be provided to allow editing of 2D geometrical entities, such as lines, circles, arcs.
• Some of the basic editing functions are listed below,
Basic Entity Creation (lines/ circles/ arcs/ etc)
create using exact coordinates
two screen points for line ends, circle radius/center/diameter/etc
trim lines back to intersection
trim line to perpendicular point
cut a circle/arc on one side of an intersection
nearest tangent of line to an arc
intersection of circle with another line
trim line to perpendicular point
• There are a number of ways (philosophies) for creating drawings using the basic elemental editing techniques. A few popular methods are listed below.
Construction Lines: A set of construction lines are set up, then segments of the lines are selected for the actual drawing
Trimming: The construction lines are all drawn, then the unwanted parts are trimmed off
Navigation: A line figure is built up using successive line segments.
Parametrization: Objects such as rectangles, circles, arcs, etc. are created using their dimensions, then positioned with traditional methods.
• Most surface modeling packages rely on the elemental definition of lines, and points.
• There are a number of basic philosophies for creating surfaces,
Swept profiles: a profile, and a path in space are used to sweep out a surface.
Rotated Profiles: a Profile is created then swept about an arbitrary axis
Extruded Profiles: a profile is created, then grown in one direction.
Skins (Splines): a direct creation of points, then the splines that connect them
Polygon Approximation: polygons are defined which join up to define a surface
Sections: sections are defined for different points along a path, which then allow generation of complex transition geometries.
• Once surfaces have been created, they may be operated on by boolean operations.
• This method is often used as a preliminary stage to CSG editing.
• This is by far the simplest method
• Solid Primitives are progressively cut and joined to form new shapes.
Traditional Sources: Blocks, Spheres, Wedges, etc.
Surfaces: A Volume is assigned to a surface model
• CSG editing requires storage of the results of operations. This is because a part may be used many times to cut another part, for example a chamfered hole for a sunken screw.
• The fundamental CSG operations are,
Union: both parts joined as one
Intersection: Only where two parts overlap
Subtraction: only where parts do not overlap, One of the parts is typically discarded.
• Every CAD system uses a graphical display for user interpretation of the final part.
• The display methods discussed in the computer graphics section are all used in CAD packages. (Please refer to that section for examples, and explanation of how each display method affects the user).
• There are many techniques possible with computer graphics that make on screen designs easier to understand.
Placed manually, but updates when dimensions change.
Annotation: the user may add comments to drawings
text with a leader pointing to something
Fill Styles: hatching and other patterns selected
Line Styles: such as hidden, shadow, phantom, etc.
Color: helps differentiate when there are many lines
• This feature is of the greatest importance to a user
• Some onscreen input selection features are,
Boxes: a good example of this method is the zoom boxes
Types: all objects of a certain type are selected
Names: in some systems parts are named, and these can be used for reference.
Markers: symbolic markers can be placed on the screen to allow easy differentiation between object (like in Ideas)
Layers: drawings can be layered up, which allows easy separation of distinctive parts. One example is a factory layout, including separate layers for machines, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc.
• Objects often require manipulation on the screen, and certain parameters defined by a number of techniques,
select two points (they define a translation vector)
select a line (a direction vector)
about a pivot point by 1 angle (2 angles for 3D)
a magnification about a point by a factor
a copy with an offset for each copy
a copy with a rotation for each copy
15.6.1 Modern Hardware for CAD Systems
• The CRT is taken for granted now, but previously CAD systems underwent many metamorphosis.
• The array of current and previous hardware input devices are,
• Future hardware input devices include,
• Previous output devices include,
Virtual reality vision systems
• While this apparently seems easy, it is a very complex decision
• There are a number of factors which affect how the system is received,
Current computer use by employees
Perceived role of computer by employees
Cost of computer system and software
Maintenance requirements for computer
Availability of CAM Facilities
Successful implementation in similar facilities
Assuming more expensive is better
Assuming it will be well received because it will make work easier
Assuming that high tech means easier to use
Failing to get the potential users interested and involved in the decision to buy/selection/implementation
Neglecting the break in period
Not thoroughly examining the existing manual/computerized system which ALREADY WORKS
Forgetting that accountants want numbers plus a rate of return.
15.7.1 An Example Plan for Selecting a CAD system
1. Examine the existing situation. Involve staff to find out what they perceive as problems, and possible solutions. This establishes allies required for whatever decision you choose. (Expect some who will resist, but they can become allies if handled properly).
2. Identify key people with an interest in the system, and get them involved with selection.
3. Devise a definite list of requirements, to support existing functions, and problems which exist, and possible solutions.
4. Get the accountant on your side by consulting them about costs, budgets, etc.
5. Gather information about existing systems by visiting trade shows, reading magazines, talking to others using systems.
6. Talk to Salesmen and companies of interest.
7. Get the salesmen to present to the CAD selection group
8. Narrow the possible vendors to about three.
9. Talk to their other customers about their system problems, and advantages, support, etc.
10. Pick a package using the CAD selection group and management.
11. Prepare budget, using help from accounting, and include a large portion of the budget for training, and maintenance.
12. Schedule training and implementation dates. Ensure that implementation is gradual, and does not overlap with the busiest times
13. Propose the budget and schedule to management, and request approval.
14. Give a general announcement to all concerned, and those partially concerned. A General meeting will help. The more information the better.
15. Follow schedule, and evaluate after each stage of implementation.
15.7.2 A Checklist of CAD/CAM System Features
• A list below is suggested for hardware, but in light of recent advances in consumer computing, most of the previous concerns, such as special plotter papers, are no longer problems.
Uninterruptable power supply (UPS)
Screen resolution (768*1024 or 1024*1280 are suggested)
screen size (14” is absolute minimum)
Exact or faceted with planar polygons
Surface formats: IGES, DXF, CDL
Files for systems such as NASTRAN
Can be linked to a user written program
• Design interfaces have been continuously improving over the years,
Keyboard Entry, with printed output
Keyboard Entry with graphic terminal output
Icon and Menu Driven with on-screen graphics
• As computers become cheaper, and more powerful, the only interfaces of real importance are the Graphical User Interfaces (GUI).
• An example of novel technology is the visual scanner available for 3D input.
15.8.1 Graphical User Interfaces
• The current demands on user interfaces are,
ability to interrupt processes
deal with many processes simultaneously
• The common trend is to adopt a user interface which often have,
A pointer device (such as a mouse)
Support for multiple windows, which run programs simultaneously
Windows can be moved, scaled, moved forward/back, etc.
• The history behind these machines are,
Development of Mouse based graphical interface at Xerox Palo-Alto Research park (70s)
Personal Computers began providing graphical programs for system management, games, etc (Early 80s)
MacIntosh, Sun, Apollo, Silicon Graphics, and others introduced mouse driven, fully windowed computers (Mid 80s)
MacIntosh Competitor IBM PC gets OS/2 and Microsoft Windows (Late 80s). Marking massive movement to Windowed environment by all players in scientific computing.
X-Windows becomes a new, and widely accepted standard on workstations (Late 80s)
Microsoft introduces Windows, bringing windowed interfaces to the last major computer platform.
button: An item which is shown within a window. When a user points at it, and presses a mouse button, it initiates an action.
icon: A small graphical symbol on the screen which can be opened to expose a window
menu: A pop up menu which stays hidden until called up by mouse. This simplifies problems of crowded screens.
mouse: a very popular input device for graphics programs. The use can point and choose an item. Contemporary alternatives are track-balls, joy-stick, dial boxes, tablets, etc.
scrollbars: At this side of some graphical, and text windows are bars which can be used to move the window around, to see previous text, or hidden areas of a graphics screen.
slider: A bar chart type of input, where the user can use the mouse to pull the slider along, and change an input value
window: A panel for keyboard and mouse I/O, which can be layered on a screen with other windows, like paper on a desk. The user often selects to work in a specific window by pointing the mouse into it. A Window may be closed, to become an icon
• Popular window systems are (not a complete list),
OS/2: IBMs attempt to take control of the operating system used on the IBM PCs, and bring full capability to PC architecture.
Windows 3.1: Microsoft’s answer to the MacIntosh interface
Windows 95: Microsoft’s answer to Windows 3.1: adds a true multitasking environment.
Windows NT: Microsoft’s answer to Windows 95: adds more capable network and file security issues.
MacIntosh Interface: The proprietary windowed operating system, considered one of the forerunners in user friendly systems.
Sunview: The original windowed systems used on Sun computers
X-Windows: A defacto standard for newly developed windowed operating systems.
Openwindows: Sun’s new windowed operating system which is a superset of X-Windows
Motif: A competitor to Openwindows, also based on the X-Windows standards
• The Implications of X-Windows will be very important in future computer purposes. Some of the X-Windows Features are,
intended for networking, including display of programs across a network. The implication of this is that I may sit at a Sun computer in my office, and run Ideas across the network from the SGI lab.
Shared definitions makes software very portable between machines. (The quantity of public domain software is huge).
The user interface is very similar when going between different X-Windows based machines.
Easy to Customize for an individual user
The differences between systems like Motif and Openwindows are mainly based on definitions of things like buttons, fonts, etc.
When using X-Windows, a program (called the X server) runs which controls all the windowed graphics. Programs that use X are written to let it set up buttons, get input, call functions, etc.
• Windows NT is not yet as capable as X-Windows, but if the trend continues it will become more similar over time.
• Automatic GUI generators are available on commercial systems. One example is given for a system which allows window layout, then automatic program generation.
Problem 15.1 Create a time-line of CAD technologies.