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Assembly Documentation

pete_yodispete_yodis OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 666 ✭✭✭
Onshape,

  I've been mulling this idea over for a while.  In my current place of employment in our engineering department we create 2D assembly drawings of subassemblies and such.  Pretty standard stuff.  We converted just recently to listing part numbers in the balloons rather than Item Numbers.  It is silly to create a unique identifier (item number) to point to another unique identifier (part number) when all documentation is electronic.  Our shop floor and manufacturing engineering department liked the change, however it did require some changes to what we call our op sheets for these assemblies.  The exercise in switching over to part numbers in balloons really got me thinking as to why even create documentation like this.  Essentially design engineering creates a 2D document wherein manufacturing creates their op sheet based off of that document.  Why not be able to combine the documentation and eliminate the need for 2 separate sets.  I have seen SolidWorks advertising that a customer of theirs started using Composer for shop floor documentation and not 2D drawings.  Composer was used to annotate and animate the assembly model going together.  The shop floor then accessed the Composer documentation via large screens.  This seems really efficient long term for product documentation, however Composer is way to expensive for what it does.  For the future it would be efficient if we didn't have to create 2D drawings, but instead created an annotated and animated version of the assembly model that could be played forward and backward for assembly purposes.  I think Onshape could really push a concept like this.  What do folks think?
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Comments

  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 1,854 PRO
    Like the idea of animated assembly, as long as not to time consuming to create and have to be easily accessed by the assembler or service technician. Google search for a pdf of a service manual/parts manual is now a pretty standard thing to do, maybe embed gif's or 3d model in the .pdf could give a better picture.

    I can not see tradition assembly drawings disappearing anytime soon so would imagine Onshape with have to be able to have a good method for producing exploded view's, BOM's and balloon's(with various numbering options including part number values). These drawing can be quite time consuming when trying to get detail right especially for parts manuals, look forward to doing these with onshape. 

    Direct link to produce boms in ERP would be a great feature, but outside of Onshape, would have to be a custom app to suit the erp app, sure it would be possible.
    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • pete_yodispete_yodis OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 666 ✭✭✭
    babart77 said:

    I can not see tradition assembly drawings disappearing anytime soon so would imagine Onshape with have to be able to have a good method for producing exploded view's, BOM's and balloon's(with various numbering options including part number values). These drawing can be quite time consuming when trying to get detail right especially for parts manuals, look forward to doing these with onshape. 

    I agree.  Onshape would need to support traditional assembly drawings for sure.  But, with a connected world where we talk of quickly linking to documentation from literally any device - I'm not convinced 2D assembly prints are the best use of our time anymore.
  • fastwayjimfastwayjim Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 218 PRO
    In the long term, Yes, I think we can all agree that engineering prints and tech pubs will go away - Both for internal (part & assembly prints) and external (user manuals) customers - as they are replaced with more rich formats like video and perhaps even some sort of interactive experience.

    In the mean time I think OS could easily tie into Google Docs to create some excellent documentation. It's not a far stretch to expect the mfg floor to have web access at each cell...
  • billy2billy2 Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 1,263 PRO
    I would like to focus on the engineering layout and getting it right. Then once completed, click one button which parses the layout creates individual web documents and sends emails to suppliers to make the updates.

    Maybe this is something from the Jetsons but I think it's doable. 

    How much time do you spend designing vs. controlling documentation?


  • pete_yodispete_yodis OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 666 ✭✭✭
    Onshape assembly model animations and a device like this would be great for the shop floor or technical support.  No drawings needed.  No google docs needed, just Onshape and a viewing device.

    http://www.theverge.com/2015/1/21/7868251/microsoft-hololens-hologram-hands-on-experience

  • billy2billy2 Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 1,263 PRO
    edited January 2015
    I saw the hololens earlier in the day. I want it, all of it.

    I really do believe there has to be a better way to convey a 3D design to a manufacturer than using a 2D print.



  • pete_yodispete_yodis OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 666 ✭✭✭
    edited January 2015
    With the world connected at all times and with a light weight platform (on the user side) such as Onshape provides, I think the door is open wide now for Model Based Definition - and one where viewing is handled on devices.  Auto and Aerospace are moving in that direction.  I think then it also makes sense to close the loop and provide a QR code or something like it on the physical part (and or shop paperwork) to point back to the URL for the Onshape model definition (and possibly configuration of the model).  That would be really efficient.  I would think folks would jump at the chance to use a system like that.
  • billy2billy2 Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 1,263 PRO
    edited January 2015
    Pioneers like you and me want it but I still run into too many machine shops that want me to work in inches.

    I think we'll have to drag people along. I hope I'm wrong and you are right.



  • pete_yodispete_yodis OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 666 ✭✭✭
    It could be done for assembly documentation in house - that one is the slam dunk I think.  Agreed the outside machine shops might take a little while to come around for part fabrication.
  • billy2billy2 Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 1,263 PRO
    edited January 2015
    Outside shops can be trained. I stopped creating drawings years ago, instead I post critical dims, geometry, material, finish & qty for all parts needed to my website and then send machine shops a link to the website.

    I mostly work with my friends and after a short period of time. It works really well and I save tons of time not creating or controlling drawings. You can make/control stuff without drawings.

    I shrunk my website image down so you could see all the parts, for real, it looks much better than this:


    I walked through a friends machine shop to see what they did with the drawing. Turns out the receptionist printed it and inserted it into a traveler folder for the job. I knew the machinist who wrote the CNC program from a file I supplied and he never looked at the drawing. We had talked earlier and I told him the criticalness of the part and the material. I got my parts and no one ever looked at the drawing. 

    I talked to the owner of the machine shop and explained to him how much time is required to create and maintain drawings, pdf's, posting and control. I told him changing an engineering layout takes far less time than updating all the documentation and we need to figure out another way to work together. I showed the receptionist how to print an image off the website for the traveler and everything is working fine.

    Now I'm a design engineer and rarely make more than five of one thing. Typically prototype work. I've designed tight tolerance machinery, automated equipment, plastic injection parts all types of stuff all without drawings. It can be done.




  • knuckledraggerknuckledragger OS Professional Posts: 9
    Nothing wrong with inches;).  Most of the shops we work with generally work from the 3D models but the higher end shops with all the fancy certifications require drawings and revsions levels on the PO.   We prefer to work from 3D models in our shop with some sort of reference document calling out critical stuff.    Are there plans to have some sort of supplier portal that will allow machine shops  access to parts directly with the appropriate access rights or sharing.    Most will want to drag down what ever format works best for them we generally work with STEP files for non native Solidworks stuff.    They will not need full blown design capabilities just want to get the correct model.   Might be nice to get some sort of notification if the model they just setup on for that rush job was changed at the last minute prior to hitting cycle start.
  • traveler_hauptmantraveler_hauptman Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 419 PRO
    @Knuckledragger‌'s idea is interesting. However most of the shops I've dealt with keep their cad/cam stations at least a little bit distant from the machines, if not in a separate room, so I'm not sure what sort of notification would be better than a phone call.

    I do often send a draft drawing for quote and follow up with a finalized drawing for manufacture. Being able to point a fabricator at a non-editable but translatable part, and see in the history when he opened it or translated it, would give me a lot more confidence that he is working with the drawing or model revision that I want him to be.
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 1,854 PRO
    @Knuckledragger there's going to be some point of no return, for me its normally when I hit send on my email. I have just found the recall email feature in outlook also in the gmail lab so you can get an email back which has not been read, this will be handy, there are times when I've sent files for manufacturer only find something I want to change, then had to resend with the message please delete the first one's follow by phone calls hoping parts aren't already cut or cut without seeing the second email. 

    Like I said theres always going to be a point of no return but hopefully with Onshape and some rethink of the way we do things this can get closer to the cycle start button.

    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • knuckledraggerknuckledragger OS Professional Posts: 9
    Yes a phone call is best unless we could hook the notification to a large siren or cattle prod.   Was thinking today as I was updating the revision block of a drawing for a change.   When we are programming parts and a change comes in it is sometimes not entirely clear what the changes are without a lot of discussion or instructions.   It would be nice to overlay the differences to get us a clearer understanding of what changed.   Our current CAM package allows us to import tool paths from one revision to the other and then we can simulate to see what is over or under cut.   I suppose most packages have a file compare feature so nothing new here.     Might be nice though if a guy did get tasered as a result of a notification to get a really clear idea of what the changed between the 5:00pm part and the 3:00 am part.  
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 1,854 PRO
    edited January 2015
    @Knunckledragger might move a bit off the subject but I am exciting by Onshape in this area so will continue.

    Let's imagine your my machinist and I want you some parts made, you are very capable at using and learning 3d CAD (otherwise you would not have a CNC machine) and I convince you to use Onshape, I send you an email asking to quote some parts with a link to my Onshape workspace but only allowing access to the parts and drawings I want made. You do the quote from my Onshape files, no download req. You also create a new branch showing me suggested changes to suit your machines, I receive the quote and remove your access to my files(this is optional). I review your branch and merge your excellent change suggestions as well as a few more from me, I then email you a purchase order with a new link to my parts of which I have now re-added you for access(if you were removed). You will see the updated version in versions section, versions should be cross referenced on the quote and purchase order.  You could now create another new branch for yourself to add the bit's you need for programming tool paths and download a step file to build the parts, as the owner I would like to receive a message telling me you have done so. Once I know you have downloaded the step, alarm bells (or tasers) should go off before I make a change to this part.

    Does that make sense? Is it better than current work flow's? 






    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • knuckledraggerknuckledragger OS Professional Posts: 9
    It is certainly pretty cool concept would be nice nothing worse than plowing through a part only to find out you made the wrong revision.    A lot of times it is nice for really hot jobs to start on the prep work while the designers is still adding some features.    The drawback of getting a head start is you run the risk of not catching all the changes.   Sort of venturing off topic of modeling  and detailing but the platform would allow such collaboration. 
  • brucebartlettbrucebartlett Member, OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 1,854 PRO
    edited January 2015

    Knuckledragger said:
    A lot of times it is nice for really hot jobs to start on the prep work while the designers is still adding some features.    The drawback of getting a head start is you run the risk of not catching all the changes.  
    Onshape will be ideal for that, the machinist (or any other subcontractor/supplier) can add a branch with their changes/suggested changes for the designer to review and merge back onto the main branch if they are accepted.


    Engineer ı Product Designer ı Onshape Consulting Partner
    Twitter: @onshapetricks  & @babart1977   
  • caradoncaradon OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 300 PRO
    edited January 2015
    Bruce said:

    Knuckledragger said:
    A lot of times it is nice for really hot jobs to start on the prep work while the designers is still adding some features.    The drawback of getting a head start is you run the risk of not catching all the changes.  
    Onshape will be ideal for that, the machinist (or any other subcontractor/supplier) can add a branch with their changes/suggested changes for the designer to review and merge back onto the main branch if they are accepted.


    I have a pretty big project coming up (injection molded part, several million units/yr) where collaborative design between internal R&D and the molder would improve the design process a lot. I'm eager to find out how smooth the collaboration in Onshape will be on a true multidisciplinary collaborative production project.
    I'm getting excited to blow everyone's mind. :)

    Dries
  • billy2billy2 Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 1,263 PRO
    edited January 2015
    @‌ knuggledragger

    What if I sent you an assembly and asked you to make all the parts in that assy. I could easily annotate materials for each part. I could point to press fits, surface finishes and tight tolerances and ask that this be done. You'd see what I'm making and this allows us to build something gaining from your vast experience to help me make something that'll work.

    I would like to click an OS button and only the machined parts appear, turn on annotations and you're ready to machine.

    Mike can you work this way? I wonder if machinist want to be involved with the design or do they not want to think about the functionality and just make what's on the piece of paper. I guess I'll answer that, I only work with the guys that want to help me make something that works.

    "Nothing wrong with inches;)."
    No Mike, inches must go. Inch bad, mm good. This planet needs one set of units and it ain't inches.




  • knuckledraggerknuckledragger OS Professional Posts: 9
    Bill as an engineer hack job shop machinist I prefer to work with the designers as they release parts try to talk them out of 1.5 inch deep pockets wtih a .032 inside radius stuff like that.    I think alot of real machinist have a ton of knowledge to offer but for various reasons just make whats on the print.   They are in a tough spot if they add a little to the soup to make things better but the parts are rejected by QC due to not perfectly adhering to the print/Model it gets sticky.    Perfect example is probably the just make it a slip fit...this is somewhat arbitrary and open to interpretation.    I think for small shops with good working relationships this sort of systems works out.   For folks like Boeing not a useful solution they need to adhere to some sort of rigid pass fail fully defined sort of world so each side is not open to interpretation.     That world someday may not include drawings but think we are a ways off.   It might be worth while to build in some sort of QC function.   Many of the newer CMM machines are automated but in the end need to be programmed like CNC machines to inspect the part.  If the measurement paths could somehow be built into the model a large company with the fancy CMM or optical machines might just be able to fixture the thing up and let the machine have at it.   The result would be a fully defined part with an inspection history everyone happy particularly the guy that did not have to make and update the drawings.

    It would seem sad to think of a world with out slugs........on second thought maybe not.
  • billy2billy2 Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 1,263 PRO
    edited January 2015
    Did you mean to say 38mm deep with a .7mm radius?

    There's production, there's prototyping and these 2 are different. As you know, I do prototyping and I typically want my parts tomorrow.

    I use the machineries handbook for press fit tolerances and yet the pin still falls out. One of my friend tapers the pin slightly to prevent galling during the press action and after he's done, you can't get the pin out with pliers. I prefer to say "press this into that" and I'll supply the machine shop with the pin. This works best for me. Press/slip fits are an art.

    I would create an inspection path for a CMM.

    We've talked about this in the past Mike, I'll create the CNC path also. But would you run it? I really think you'll have to create the paths because you won't trust my paths running on your machine. But, what's changed, is that we can do this simultaneously now with collaboration. 

    I think the future might look like this:
    1. I invite you to a project during the design phase and I identify machine parts
    2. You look over the layout trying to understand what I'm doing
    3. You start laying down tool paths to parts, let's hope CNC is native to OS.
    4. We both finish at the same time and you make me parts.
    5. Later, I change the layout, tool paths update and you'll create new paths for new parts.

    This should save some time and help me design better parts. Maybe I can get that 24 hour turn around I've always wanted.


    Production work, someone else can figure that one out.




  • traveler_hauptmantraveler_hauptman Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 419 PRO
    It would be cool of the CNC machine and Onshape could talk to each other so it's really a two way street.

    Having a real-time view of the machines progress in roughing out the part while I'm working on detail features would be a kick in the pants.
  • kevin_quigleykevin_quigley Member Posts: 304 ✭✭✭
    Reading all this with interest but seriously wondering where it is all going.

    Firstly, the idea that we will not have drawings is a very long way off. Drawings are contractual documents, literally signed off for ISO procedures. In my business, which is a tiny little product design business, we deal with companies of all sizes and I have yet to see a project where drawings are not a contractual requirement.

    animated exploded assembly and instructions are excellent. Dassault have a fantastic tool in Composer but they cocked it up by charging £5500 a seat. I have customers using this for fitting instructions, maintenance manuals etc. all great but they still need a printed manual or at least a pdf version. Autodesk have Inventor Publisher (£2k) which is very similar. PTC have Arbortext aka IsoDraw which is also great but more focussed on hard copy. There are also many others (Deep Exploration, Quadrispace, Sim-Lab etc) ar varying prices. We use SimLab for creating 3D PDF but to be honest it is rarely used now as the "fad" for 3D PDF seems to have passed. In all honesty we are seeing a return to hard copy or digital 2D PDF often combined with photo real animation on a website. We are also seeing much of this work transfer to in house teams away from the likes of ourselves or graphic design companies.

    But the biggest question I have relates to the design process. Maybe it is different in different places but most UK designers I know tend to work in partnership with the companies who prototype and manufacture the product. Maybe its the people I know, but nobody would dictate to a manufacturer how to build a part without at least have long conversations and design reviews. 

    every project we do we run screen share design reviews during the early design phase, or go visit the manufacturers to discuss best practise. Once underway we do weekly SKype calls and post data to a shared Dropbox or GrabCAD Workbench. If a toolmaker wants to change something we have a meeting, review the data, do a live change(if feasible) then release updated data and drawings. 

    I have also worked on some pretty big infrastructure projects through a customer and even in those cases there is a circular path through design, validation, tooling, production. 

    My point is, the software is kind of irrelevant to this process. It is the communication backbone that matters. For us, the breakthrough came with Glance in about 2001. Live low cost easy screen sharing. When you share a screen you can use any tool you need. Now thanks to Facetime and Skype you can easily share live video as well and scribble down sketches, then share the photo or (if you have a Wacom) the screen.

    lets see OnShape get the toolsets it needs to justify its existance as a CAD system otherwise it will just become another glorified screenshare/collaboration system.
  • traveler_hauptmantraveler_hauptman Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 419 PRO
    @KevinQuigley‌ I think you capturing the essence of it all when you say that software is irrelevant, that it is communication that matters. That sums it up for me.


  • billy2billy2 Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 1,263 PRO
    You are right @kevin about communicating ideas, it is key to designing a great product. 

    I don't think 2d abstractions capture the design well enough for me to insure parts made with them will work. The time to create and control them is long, tedious and expensive. I'd rather spend my time doing an analysis (we've discussed this in a previous thread).

    I've never sued anyone for a bad part, don't want to, you'd lose to much sleep. Look, for everyone to make $, you have to do it right the first time, no re-work. Meetings and shared data works better for me than drawings and a team of draftsmen. I never want to have sue someone for making a bad part, luckily I've never have to.

    What if you wanted to make this:



    Now this is what I really want:


    From this you can see that the part needs inline boring and slip fits for the bearings. My machinist made a finishing pass on all the bearing bores costing me two more setups but its worth the added cost. I handed him a bearing and he dialed in the bore diameter. This part came out great. No prints.

    Now I could have established some datums and worked some GD&T to call out some parallelism. I could have gone to my engineering handbook and looked up slip fit tolerances. Then put all this on a print, but I don't think I would have received a better part. When you add GD&T to a print, the part price starts to go up and I worry the machinist will pick up the fact that I'm running a shaft through those bores.

    @kevin when I finish a layout, I'm at the machine shop in less than an hour. 

    I have friends that think you must have prints. They finish a layout and spend 2 to 3 days detailing it out. The funny thing, their received parts are always worse than the parts I receive from using my printless method.

    I'm sorry, I'm not sold on this must have prints idea. I'd rather save money, time and make functional parts. I'm better off not using prints.



  • kevin_quigleykevin_quigley Member Posts: 304 ✭✭✭
    Bill, we do what you do as well for prototypes and production. In the UK we have an expression...belt and braces...so for example for moulded or cast products we always use our 3D data to machine the tools..and for some forms drawings don't explain the process well. 

    We currently have a suite of medical products in tooling...£100k worth of my customers money. These are complex parts, double threaded, twin side actions with unscrewing. So we issue part data, part drawings marked up with inspection dimensions only, and stage by stage assembly drawings/visuals....and 3D prints of all parts.  Belt and braces.

    in fact, since we brought 3D printing in house we now issue production release parts as physical 3D prints. This works better than any CAD file! When we do RFQs we also send out the 3D prints. Amazing the goodwill this generates in the supply chain.

    so we dont do mega GD+T drafting, just assembly GAs, parts with inspection dimensions and critical fits. 


  • billy2billy2 Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 1,263 PRO
    edited January 2015
    I did create an inspection print last week, I can do it, if I have to.

    We'll need drawings & assemblies in the future, but since this is the beginning, its 
    nice to dream about how it could be.

    I work a lot without drawings, my point is that it can be done, I'm doing it. It's not for 
    everyone, but it can happen. I use the web a lot to distribute information 
    to suppliers and it works well. Beats emailing drawings out.

    You're lucky over there because you're not fighting the inch/mm battles we have here.
    It's hard changing traditions.

    I have a printer also, printing everything these days. How'd we do it in past?





  • traveler_hauptmantraveler_hauptman Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 419 PRO

    in fact, since we brought 3D printing in house we now issue production release parts as physical 3D prints. This works better than any CAD file! When we do RFQs we also send out the 3D prints. Amazing the goodwill this generates in the supply chain.

    I really like this.
  • pete_yodispete_yodis OS Professional, Mentor Posts: 666 ✭✭✭
    I tend to agree with @Bill about the extra work involved with 2D drawings.  I need to spell out exactly why in more detail.  Not enough time at the moment, apart from the thought that 2D drawings are ultimately a hold over, slow the process down, and provide an opportunity for error to be introduced.  Legal issues will be worked out.  Its been done with software already.  In the future this low hanging fruit will be picked because it has to in order for efficiency improvements to be gleaned, regardless of how we feel - the same can be said for cloud based CAD vs. desktop, regardless of how we feel.  I think a system like Onshape is uniquely positioned at the moment to be the medium that forward looking companies utilize to realize this efficiency improvement (my goodness you can view and EDIT models on a phone now).  We should not penalize them by shackling them to 2D drawings only as the means to completely convey a design.

    A story just for now...  The other day here at work a problem was noticed on a rather complicated machined gearbox drawing during checking.  A section view was used to detail a series of bearing bores as well as a critical diameter for a housing to a cover (explosion proof flange).  The jogged line to create the section view did not exactly pass through the center of that critical diameter and as a result the displayed diameter dimension on the drawing did not convey the truth everyone thought it to be.  The model was correct, however the drawing conveyed something untrue.  With a model and a drawing- its possible that 2 versions of the truth get out into the wild.  I've seen this happen before, but this time it really got me thinking back to this conversation.  I'll post more if I get time later.  For now, I think assembly documentation could be handled how I mentioned without as much friction - that seems to be the lower hanging fruit at the moment in my opinion.
  • billy2billy2 Member, OS Professional, Mentor, Developers Posts: 1,263 PRO
    Pete-

    Thanks for the story. The way I see it, the drawing isn't a truth and is wrong. There's only one truth, the model.


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