Developing A Parametric Shaft Components Design Module Computer Science Essay

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The word parametric means the geometric definitions of the design, such as dimension, can be varied at any time in the design process. The parametric design technique can help the designer to incorporate the original design to incorporate into the construction of the model. The special and particularly challenging on parametric design are can apply analytical and experimental methods to predict and analyze the behaviour of each design candidate. Parametric modelling is accomplish by identifying and creating a parametric description of a component. A parametric description is then developed as macros using a suitable programming language.

SolidWorks is an example of a solid modeling CAD software that allow the creation of solid model and manipulating data structure using user develop macros. Solid module is the computer model that allows us to modify the instruction using API. API is an (application programming interface) that have a set of functions, procedures and methods to support requests made by computer programs. In SolidWorks (API) was included for macro and third party development. SolidWorks also allows for the integration of third-party modules. Some of these modules can be represent, such as generating a special shaped hole, extrude and others.

1.1 Project Background

Parametric Shaft Design Module for SolidWorks with CAD for mechanical products is an effective way to reduce product development time. The module will developed to help designer in the process of a component analysis and specification of shaft size, deflection, vibration characteristics, required keys and/or splines.

SolidWorks is used as a solid modelling CAD software that allow the creation of solid model and manipulating data structure by using user interface macros. This module includes the process of developing the theory of mechanical engineering and computer software.

This project will be provide exposure and demonstrate the methods using available API to programming languages such as Visual Basic, or one of the family. The module would will perform the calculations on the shaft and create a solid model of the designed according to the user input. Hence, this project will examine the functions and ability of the macro recorder that has been builds in the SolidWorks.

1.2 Objectives

The objective of this project is to develop a parametric shaft components design module for SolidWorks. The module can perform the design calculation for:

Size of shaft

Shaft deflection

Shaft vibration characteristic

Size required for key and/or splines at shaft

The module will developed by using available API in SolidWorks software. The implementation needs the languages to be use such as Visual Basic, or one of the C families. The suitable languages will be tries on this project and will use the chosen language to perform a module.

Finally, the project will demonstrate the suitable language method and guideline to implement the language using available API.

1.3 Scopes

To full fill the objective given, there are some working scopes to be accomplished:

Background study on SolidWorks API.

Indentify the suitable language on ease implementation.

Program interaction structure

Background study on requirements for shaft:



Vibration characteristic

Required keys and/or splines

Development of macros:


Parametric model base

Output, reports and drawing

Debug and testing


1.4 Expected Outcomes

This project will perform the component design such as shaft and component of shaft. The shaft will design based on size, deflection, vibration characteristic, required keys and/or splines. The programming will use to calculate and implement in the system to drive the input using a CAD system. A CAD system will draw a multiple system of the component by using SolidWorks CAD software.



2.0 Computerâ€"Aided Design (CAD).

Computer-aided design (CAD) is the technology of computer systems to assist in the drawing, modification, analysis, and optimization of a design. Thus, any computer programs that include computer graphics and application program with engineering function in the design process is classify as CAD software. In other words, CAD tools can vary from geometric tools for manipulating shapes at one extreme, to customized application programs, such as those for analysis and optimization, at the other extreme [Zeid 1991]. Between these two extremes, typical tools currently available include tolerance analysis, mass property calculations, and finite element modelling and visualization of the analysis results. The basic role of CAD is to define the geometry of design for an example such as a mechanical parts, architectural structure, electronic circuit, and so on. This is because the geometry of the design is essential to all the subsequent activities in the product cycle. The greatest benefits of CAD is can save considerable time. CAD also can reduce the errors caused by the geometry of the design. There are many CAD software package available as Rhinoceros 3D, SketchUp, SolidWorks, AutoCAD, CATIA and the other few software.

2.1 Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM).

Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) generally allow the user to plan and control manufacturing operations through computer interface. One of the most mature areas of CAM is numerical control (NC). The machine tool is control by using programmed instructions. For an example to control grinds, cuts, mills, punches, bends, or turns raw into a finished part. The computer can now generate a considerable amount of NC instructions based on geometric data from CAD database plus additional information supplied by the operator. Another significant CAM function is the programming of robots. These robots may perform individual task such as welding or assembly or others.

2.2 Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE)

Computerâ€"aided engineering (CAE) commonly applies on a computer system in engineering applications. CAD can be concerned as a subset of CAE. CAE allow the designer to simulate and analyze the design. The software fits into two categories: engineering based and non-engineering specific. The engineering based software for mechanical engineering applications is the software with a CAD system and the most user used for method of computer analysis in engineering is the finite element Method (FEM). This approach is used to determine stress, deflection, vibration, and heat transfer (e.g., ANSYS and MSC/NASTRAN). The non-engineering specific computer aided applications contain software for word processing and mathematical solvers (e.g., Mathematica, MathCAD and Matlab).

2.4 SolidWorks

SolidWorks is the CAD software with three-dimensional (3D) design. The software can run on Microsoft Windows. Dassault Systèmes, S. A. (Velizy, France) is a developer of SolidWorks software. SolidWorks is currently one of a most popular 3D mechanical CAD (MCAD) product on the market.

2.4.1 SolidWorks Approach

SolidWorks is one of the software of a parasolid-based solid modeller and using a parametric feature based approach to create a models and assemblies. Parameters are refers to determine the value of the shape or geometry of the model or assembly. Parameter can be geometric parameters, such as parallel, horizontal or vertical, or numeric parameters, such as circle diameter or line length. Numeric parameters can be refers with each other through the relation, that allow them to capture design intent. Design intent is the part of the creator wants to changes and updates a model. SolidWorks can recognize the design intent and keep all the shape that the user wants. SolidWorks have the shapes and operation to construct the part of a model. A 2D or 3D sketch of shapes is normally begins with shaped-based features. The shapes are then extrude, cuts, or add from the part of a model. Operation-based features is not a sketch-based but it have include features such applying draft to the face of a part. Creating a model in SolidWorks usually begin with a 2D sketch or 3D sketch. The sketches are includes with geometry such as points, lines and others geometry. The parametric on SolidWorks is a dimensions and relations that drive the geometry of the model. SolidWorks have the ability that allows the user to roll back through the history and changes the part of design. SolidWorks also contains additional advanced mating features. The model assemblies can accurately reproduce the rotational movement like an actual component.

2.4.2 SolidWorks Add-in Products.

The main product of SolidWorks contains tools for 3D modelling and freeform surfacing. SolidWorks have capabilities to import and read the numerous file types from the others 2D and 3D CAD programs. An application-programming interface (API) has been included in SolidWorks for custom programming in C#, C++, and Visual Basic (VB). API is a computer program that uses a set of function, procedures, and method or service providers to support the user command. Macros and third party development has been combining in SolidWorks application-programming interface (API). SolidWorks also allows for the integration of the third-party modules design.

2.4.3 Macro in SolidWorks

SolidWorks macro is a shortcut task to perform repeatedly in SolidWorks 3D CAD software. Macro in SolidWorks is a series of command system and actions that and can be stored by safe the macro file. Macro can run within SolidWorks whenever users need to perform the task. SolidWorks allow user to record or build a macro and then play the macro with automatic repeat the series of commands or actions.

2.5 Researcher study

Elasis and FIAT Auto started to test parametric and associative (P/A) techniques since 6 years ago. Fiat is one of the first automotive companies that have test P/A features in development of a new car. Car body design is very critical and time-consuming activity for design modifications during car development of a new car body and the same parametric model is reuse for future platforms are the reasons to develop a new P/A design methodology. The methodology is base on P/A but should have the concept of archetype. An archetype is a set of logical and parametric features of an object. The system can be use to build the relative CAD model. The advantage of the archetype design can generate different components with simply changing its parameter values.

The phases of design methodology were the following:

Define the vehicle reference model( developed with explicit CAD systems and procedure)

Build the design development history (list of modification)

P/A modeling of new vehicle model.

Optimization phase

Model update during vehicle development

The traditional process of modelling and the new method based on P/A approach have been compare in qualitative. The development time of model is longer for P/A method, because it is necessary to build P/A library archetypes. P/A library enables to reduce time design because it is reduced the modifying phase. The explicit design takes always the same time for every style change.

For the reason, P/A approach seems to be strong enough to manage several style modifications, saving time and costs. [1]

The authors present an application of Visual Basic Application Programming Interface (API) to develop numerical and procedural algorithm into CAD software. The focus is on Reverse Engineering embedded into SolidWorks. There are many applications is need to remodel the tessellated surface into an editable solid feature, to analyze it and to manipulate. SolidWorks is widely used commercial software about engineering modelling and computer aided design. SolidWorks is base on parametric definition of component and feature and it can be used in very intuitive way. Other engineering modelers (such as Catia) have dedicated module for reverse engineering. Specific reverse engineering software (such Rapidform) does not allow the building of parametric feature-based models. In many cases there also need to implement specific algorithm to perform dedicated an accurate computation which can’t be found in any commercial software. These are the main reason to API within a commercial software. Recent SolidWorks have improved the method supported by native object and they have been interlaced with very powerful Mathematical Utility. Using API into SolidWorks we can manipulate three kind of object from:

SolidWorks (model native entities)

math utility database (math entities)

User defined entities

The native geometrical objects concern the sketch entities (point, line, circle, spline, etc) and their constrains, the features (extrusion, revolution, loft, etc) the assembly management (mating, inserting, moving, etc). the math native objects concern points, vectors and transformations for manipulate entities (projecting from model space to sketch space and vice versa, performing basic operation on vector, etc). the software without API the user can only access to single model entity and the direct access to internal database is not permitted. Using API database of entity can be directly accessed saving time to execute command and model entities can be interlaced with math and user defined ones. [2]

2.6 Conclusion

The computer software is no substitute for the human thought process. The user is control the system and the computer is the driven to assist the user on the platform. Numbers generated by a computer can be far from the truth if the user entered incorrect input, if the user misinterpreted the application or the output of the program. The user task is to ensure the validity of the result. The user must check the application



3.0 Introduction

In this chapter, the whole process of this project will discuss. Since this project is conduct by computer programming software, there are methods to create the module.

3.1 Design Flowchart of Project Implementation.

The flowchart is for general view for the whole project that will be use during the first semester and second semester. The figure 3.1.1 is show the overall progress of this project.




Parametric shaft design module for SolidWorks


How to create a solid model of shaft design according to the user input


To develop a macro for creating a solid model of designed shaft driven by the result of the analysis



Literature research

System Specification

Development of macro





3.1 Development of Macro

Create UserForm

Main Page

Key and Splines

Size and Deflection

Component Drawing


3.2 Record Macro using Macro Recorder

Macro Recorder is a tool that allows the user to record whatever the mouse and keyboard done in the work area and toolbar and then play back at to simplify a task. In many program, a macro is a collection of the key strokes that can be save and then run back to repeat a process. In the case of SolidWorks, macro is a collection of SolidWorks API calls. They are line of computer code that talks to the SolidWorks program and as it to do certain thing.

3.3 Editing a Macro

After finish record a macro, editing phase must be perform to customize the macro as necessary. The macro cannot be use for other purpose in design if the following step is not complete. Customization should replace the existing parameters to own parameters. Actually customization is at the coordinate of the point of the rectangular. Interaction between the user and the module can create with design a userform.

3.4 Create a Userform

Macro can interact between the user and the module with userform. The user should properly design a userform so they can command the macro what they want to do. Userform can did on Visual Basic Editor or others languages.

3.5 Run a Macro.

Run or Play icon in SolidWorks macro is the last process of development of macro. In is easy to run a macro, the user should follow a few steps and SolidWorks will generate a module that have been design by the user.