Fundamentals of Mechanical Design
Cnc machining Mechanical design means the design of things and systems of a mechanical nature—machines, products, structures, devices, and instruments. For the most part mechanical design utilizes mathematics, the materials sciences, and the engineering-mechanics sciences.
The total design process is of interest to us. How does it begin? Does the engineer simply sit down at his desk with a blank sheet of paper? And, as he jots down some ideas, what happens next? What factors influence or control the decisions which have to be made? Finally, then, how does this design process end?
Sometimes, but not always, design begins when an engineer recognizes a need and decides to do something about it. Cnc machining Recognition of the need and phrasing it in so many words often constitute a highly creative act because the need may be only a vague discontent, a feeling of uneasiness, of a sensing that something is not right.
The need is usually not evident at all. For example, the need to do something about a food-packaging machine may be indicated by the noise level, by the variations in package weight, and by slight but perceptible variations in the quality of the packaging or wrap.
There is a distinct difference between the statement of the need and the identification of the problem. Which follows this statement? The problem is more specific. If the need is for cleaner air, the problem might be that of reducing the dust discharge from power-plant stacks, or reducing the quantity of irritants from automotive exhausts. Definition of the problem must include all the specifications for the thing that is to be designed. The specifications are the input and output quantities, the characteristics of the space the thing must occupy and all the limitations on these quantities. We can regard the thing to be designed as something in a black box. In this case we must specify the inputs and outputs of the box together with their characteristics and limitations. The specifications define the cost, the number to be manufactured, the expected life, the range, the operating temperature, and the reliability.
There are many implied specifications which result either from the designer's particular environment or from the nature of the problem itself. The manufacturing processes which are available, together with the facilities of a certain plant, constitute restrictions on a designer's freedom, and hence are a part of the implied specifications. A small plant, for instance, may not own cold-working machinery. Knowing this, the designer selects other metal-processing methods which can be performed in the plant. The labor skills available and the competitive situation also constitute implied specifications.
After the problem has been defined and a set of written and implied specifications has been obtained, the next step in design is the synthesis of an optimum solution. Now synthesis cannot take place without both analysis and optimization because the system under design must be analyzed to determine whether the performance complies with the specifications.
The design is an iterative process in which we proceed through several steps, evaluate the results, and then return to an earlier phase of the procedure. Thus we may synthesize several components of a system, analyze and optimize them, and return to synthesis to see what effect this has on the remaining parts of the system. Both analysis and optimization require that we construct or devise abstract models of the system which will admit some form of mathematical analysis. We call these models mathematical models. In creating them it is our hope that we can find one which will simulate the real physical system very well.
Evaluation is a significant phase of the total design process. Evaluation is the final proof of a successful design, which usually involves the testing of a prototype in the laboratory. Here we wish to discover if the design really satisfies the need or needs. Is it reliable? Will it compete successfully with similar products? Is it economical to manufacture and to use? Is it easily maintained and adjusted? Can a profit be made from its sale or use?
Communicating the design to others is the final, vital step in the design process. Undoubtedly many great designs, inventions, and creative works have been lost to mankind simply because the originators were unable or unwilling to explain their accomplishments to others. Presentation is a selling job.
The engineer, when presenting a new solution to administrative, management, or supervisory persons, is attempting to sell or to prove to them that this solution is a better one. Unless this can be done successfully, the time and effort spent on obtaining the solution have been largely wasted.
Basically, there are only three means of communication available to us. There are the written, the oral, and the graphical forms. Therefore the successful engineer will be technically competent and versatile in all three forms of communication. A technically competent person who lacks ability in any one of these forms is severely handicapped. If ability in all three forms is lacking, no one will ever know how competent that person is!
The competent engineer should not be afraid of the possibility of not succeeding in a presentation. In fact, occasional failure should be expected because failure or criticism seems to accompany every really creative idea. There is a great to be learned from a failure, and the greatest gains are obtained by those willing to risk defeat. In the find analysis, Cnc machining the real failure would lie in deciding not to make the presentation at all.