Information derived from http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/cd/docs_dandt/idater/downloads92/evans92.pdf (read article)
3-D COMPUTER MODELLING http://www.williamsontechnical.co.uk
What is Modelling?
Modelling is basically a 3D representation of the final idea that you choose to make or a model of an idea that you may be interested in developing.
Benefits of Modelling
1) Design and construction errors can be corrected.
2) It ensures that the final product meets the requirement of the specification.
3) It saves money as a faulty product is less likely to be produced.
4) It ensures that moving parts work as desired.
5) It helps identify tools, processes, procedures and H & Safety issues before manufacture.
6) It allows the designer to hold, move and look inside a model and reveal problems and possibilities not obvious whilst sketching in two dimensions.
7) It gives the correct relationship between the parts of the item and helps in proposing changes to shape, to improve ergonomic and visual aspects of the final intended product.
How best to model an idea
1) Size of model
Best to produce a full size model if possible because it leads to more accurate assessment.
2) Equipment needed
Only basic equipment such as scissors, knife, glue and tape are required. but the results often have a profound effect on the development of a product.
3) Possible materials
Materials used include plastics (sheet, extruded sections), card, wood (Jelutong, Medium Density Fibreboard), and cellulose paints. Metals are generally used for the more structural components. The result is a visual impression of the final proposal, accurate in form and finish but not materials usage.
4) For moving parts
Kits allied to Meccano are available for development work and incorporate linkages, gears, motors and transmission systems.
At a more fundamental level the innovator often makes use of materials more readily available. Hence Christopher Cockerell utilised a biscuit tin and vacuum cleaner to illustrate the principle of the hovercraft.
5) Modelling with computers
3D computer modelling By layering of the various items within the model the user is able to exercise choice regarding which details to display at any time, separate files are made for each discipline with these subdivided into separate layers for each slot or area.
The dimensional accuracy of such models allows designers to build their new designs in a life-like environment whilst still at their desk.