Today we will continue our series on the hidden intelligence of CATIA V5. It is important to note that I am using a standard Classic HD2 license for this series In my last post, we discussed building a catalog of parts based on a single part that has a spreadsheet that drives the parameters with part numbers. What about features? If CATIA V5 is powerful enough to generate entire parts based on parameters, shouldn’t it also be able to be able to generate repetitive features? For instance, take a boss feature that appears on the B-Side of a plastic part. As a leader, I would not be interested in paying my designer his rates to keep repeatedly modeling a feature that may only change slightly throughout the backside! Model smarter: make once, use many times.
To do this successfully, you must address a few things – the first being how it may change. Of course you may not anticipate all changes, but a good rule of thumb is to try to model with maximum flexibility (big slabs for surfaces, overbuild everything, pay close attention to design intent) and do not use B-reps for your design. Avoid creating and building off of features CATIA builds, meaning whenever possible build your own and pick only from the tree to link to them. The second issue to address is – what are going to be the parametric numerical inputs to drive the design? See my first post in this series on how to set these up. i.e. Draft Angle, Wall thickness, Outer Diameter, etc.
Finally, what are going to be the geometric inputs to drive the design? i.e. Location point, Pull Line, Slide Line, Mating Surface, etc. A good rule of thumb here is to limit these features to as few as possible that are needed to get the job done. Sometimes it may be beneficial to sketch all this out on paper before you build it; I suggest gathering input from all the possible parties to help you in your definition.
In the example below, I have constructed a boss. Let’s review what I did. […]