Recently I embarked on a design project for a client in New Zealand. (I am in South Africa). We agreed on terms and I was sent a diagram of what I would be creating a design for. It was an enclosure for some electronics that he wanted designed.
The software I am using to do the design is Autodesk Inventor. So the best way to start this project was to model all the internal components to get a feel of how large the enclosure had to be. I did this with the use of bodies in the part file. Once this was done we could then get a feel of how big the enclosure would be.
Once a conceptional design was done then we needed to look at the practical side. This is things like where we would put the holes to screw the two halves together. Any extrusions inside the enclosure would need to have a taper. This is all in preparation for the injection molding that would take place to create the design.
So once everyone was happy with the design we had it 3D printed. Thank goodness we had a print done. We discovered some issues that you would never have been able to pick up just from the CAD model unless there was some thorough interrogation. The walls were a little thin. This is because I was so involved with making the enclosure look as pretty as possible that I forgot that you actually needed a bit of wall thickness so that it didn’t wobble apart after being screwed together.
The 3D print technology that we have today really is a game changer. Previously to have a physical prototype done you would need to create the actual mold and this would get extremely expensive as more than one prototype would have to be created.