DFM Axiom 1: I know it can be perceived as a bias to CNC machining, but the truth is…what I am about to say applies to all manufacturing process and their respective DFM (Design for Manufacturability) best practices. The deadliest DFM killers to slay in 2016 are the 3D CAD software you use and 3D Printing. I know, it’s convenient for a CNC manufacturer to say, but it’s true.
Why? The tools allow us to design and prove anything, whether its manufacturable or not and that’s dangerous.
Designs can travel far down the road of product development creating a situation where there is too much risk in function, performance and time to improve it for manufacturability…hence, designs are uber expensive or impossible to make.
This is the world wide epidemic amongst all self-taught designers, don’t become ill.
The answer is to be very aware of this dilemma while ensuring that every feature of a design is manufacturable in at least one of the top 3 manufacturing processes. CNC machining, plastic-injection molding or die-cast. There are always exceptions, but this rule of thumb can save a design from ruining a project later when it comes time to produce in volume.
We want to leverage the power of CAD software and 3D printing to flush through design concepts at a record pace and while doing it, make sure ALL the features are manufacturable in volume too.
DFM Axiom 2: What is Design For Manufacturability? Creating a design that is the most simple, easiest part to make…ever. We’re problem solvers, but just because the problem is complicated, doesn’t mean the solution and parts have to be.
85% of the costs incurred throughout the life of a project happens during production, which is the last phase. However, those costs are dictated by the design concept, engineering, manufacturability and planning during the first 15% of the project (first phase).
DFM Axiom 3: Counter-Intuitively, do not design solely for the end process up front. It creates chaos. Huh? Yes, DFM (Design For Manufacturability) is also dependent upon which phase of the project you are in. For example, the statistical probability of your initial design hitting production is very, very low. If the end process is plastic injection molding and you embrace the DFM way to design your part 100% for injection molding…you will have designed yourself into a manufacturing corner.
I’ve made the mistake way to many times designing a plastic injection molded part, that was easy to 3D print to prove the concept, but then a nightmare to be CNC machined when it came time for true mechanical testing or in the quantities of 100s when we needed excellent materials and finishes for demo’s and couldn’t spend the money on the tooling for the molds.
Designing for the end process up front creates chaos and unnecessary challenges. Don’t do that. Identify the process you intend to use at each phase of the development, and seriously…tailor your design to it.
They don’t teach it in school, but lock these axioms deep in your subconscious. The personal win isn’t all about manufacturable designs. The personal win is, you elevate your effectiveness, you save your employer tens of thousands of dollars, you save your company time and if you track the dollar signs and share them with your superiors? Salary increases, vacations and other privileges are now on the negotiating table.