The Documentation Package: Mechanical Components

Mechanical Components: Part Two of a Four-Part Monthly Series

Mechanical ComponentsIn part one of this series, we presented the notion that being 'knocked-off', although serious, isn't the largest danger in protecting your intellectual property. Losing control of your documentation package to the manufacturer or engineering firm that helped design the product is far more problematic. Limited supply mobility, costly reengineering, and rights protection issues are all too common results of not tightly securing your documentation package.

The following are some of the basic mechanical component files that need to be included in the documentation package.

Solid Models Of All Parts

These should preferably be in the native format that they were designed in (Solidworks, Pro-Engineer, etc). You don’t necessarily need to have the software required to read these mechanical component files, although most have free viewers available.

Neutral file formats like STEP and IGES are acceptable, but not as good, since it is much more difficult to make design changes if required down the road.

2D Drawings

2D drawings are important supplementary mechanical component documents to the 3D CAD data. They contain tolerance and material information, assembly directions, and more.

It is important that all of this be captured.

Material Information

Be sure that you have the mechanical component manufacturer and grade number for resins, metals, etc. You should also have information about any colorants or fillers that are blended by the manufacturer.

Tool Drawings

While not as important as the other items it is a good idea to have copies of all mechanical component tool drawings. There are subtleties in manufacturing that may have to be relearned if you redesign the tool from scratch with another supplier.

In the next parts of this series, we will address electronic and programming. In the meantime, feel free to email us with any questions that you have.

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