What does quality CAD mean to you?

We are meeting in Boston in a few days to discuss "What does quality CAD mean to you?" and I wanted to give the community as a whole to express their opinions too. This will affect where we spend our time and what we focus on in the upcoming months at GrabCAD. So, how do you know a model is high quality?

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12 Answers

1. There should actually be original CAD files. (If there is nothing other than renders or a file that is not a good quality importable solid model, then it’s a non-starter and doesn't even qualify as CAD let alone quality).
2. The item should be either interesting or useful. (An abstract block that looks like it was produced by a basic tutorial is not a valuable addition to the library).
3. The item should be detailed.
4. The item should be accurate. (All parts should fit together properly and correspond to reality (if applicable)).
5. The item should be, as far as reasonably possible, complete. (A half-finished thing may seem better than nothing but it’s not quality).

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(If you are bored to read this below read that...
-Keep in your mind that the greatest libraries have the most useless material but, they will always be great libraries...

Jeff & Taylor are right but there is a BUT!

This site apparently include...

-people who trying to become engineers (junior eng, students, etc.)
You have to be aware that any potential model from these people might not be accurate... after all they just began and they are here to learn or enhance their knowledge.

-people who never will be engineers and they just have fun...(Don't get me wrong)
You have to be aware that any potential model from these people might not be able to sent into manufacture... after all they are not engineers

-people who just found this site a good host for their portfolio...
You have to be aware that any potential model from these people... Actually you will never find any model from them. However, you cannot ignore their skills.

-people who want to share reference models that they used in their projects
You have to be aware that any potential model from these people might be accurate but, again my sense of detail definitely is different from yours...

I can name a lot of users that they are more Quantitative and less Qualitative...
BUT that's me and I am not the objective side for these models as they count thousands of downloads...

In the end it is about the reason the TAG of the uploaded projects. Maybe is just a concept nothing to do with manufacturing detailed drawings, maybe is just a quick tutorial or an idea that someone wants to share on paper and that's all...

Can you see my point...
-This site yes, it is a COMMUNITY FOR ENG. But it doesn't have only engineers and definitely not the same quality of engineers...

Is not about Quality... Quality is relevant...
Quality is about meeting criteria
The criteria is up to designer (and apparently any type of standardization)

What really annoys me is that in the end, people who download models their feedback is something like ...

- amazing...

if it is nice just "like it"
and if you find this as a quality model or not then comment on it... or comment on it but please say something about the model...

The negative always heart and any potential improvement on the quality of these models can start from the users and only from them...

All the best on your survey Sara

Thank you a lot for your responses a couple weeks ago...

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Ioannis. I agree with all the points you made but the question here is concerning the quality of CAD models uploaded and not what should or should not be uploaded.
There are hidden aspects of quality, such as meeting a specific requirement, but in relation to models that are uploaded, it would be impossible to consider these. So the question is further refined to:
How can you tell the difference between a good CAD model and a not so good one, basing your judgement on the upload alone?
I think Sara is trying to develop a system of points (and badges perhaps) or some new feature that rewards quality and would like some pointers as to how to identify worthy uploads.

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I think you need to understand or consider to what the question is referring.

CAD = Computer Aided DESIGN or Computer Aided DRAFTING. Working on this basis, it is the output that is important.

Considering drafting first (perhaps a little easier), the output must convey design intent clearly without scope for interpretation. It must be clear, readable and accurate.

Considering design, the tagline is computer aided. Therefore again it is the (output) design that is important, whether it be an artistic output or a technical output. Good design is good design regardless of how it is generated.

For me as an engineer (rather than industrial designer or artist), quality CAD, is intelligent application of the software to generate and share a design or an idea. Whether this be robust modelling techniques so that the model can be understood and adapted as required or by using built in functionality to save time and effort.

I'm far more interested in someone who can share good information on ilogic rather than someone who can upload 20 models of spirals that wrap around themselves like mobius strips.

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I think we should have categories that describe the nature of the upload. These could include:
1. Existing specific product (representation of something you can buy),
2. Existing generic product. (representation of a product type)
3. Proven new design (Detailed model of a new product that has been built and tested but is not commercially available).
4. Unproven new design (Detailed model of a new product that has not been built or tested).
5. Outline concept. (Undetailed outline of a feasible product).
6. Fantasy. (Things that would require undiscovered science or future technology to function)
7. Abstract. (Demonstrations of CAD techniques)

I think this would guard against confusion and make the library more useful.

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Hello all,
I have been giving this subject a lot of thought after having seen it some a time ago and would like to add to the discussion about what constitutes quality of GrabCAD models.

Personally, I seldom, if ever, download models to use as parts in assemblies, the reason being, that I can never find the exact part anyway, or, if I find it, I can't trust the accuracy so I would have to spent a lot of time verifying the downloaded model; time that could be better spent creating the part from scratch. But GrabCAD models can point me in the right direction if I am unsure about how a certain part actually functions and how it is assembled. Also, many manufactures are getting their act together and provide downloadable models of their standard parts, so that's where I would be looking first for a specific part.

But GrabCAD has some other qualities that I value: I love to browse random models for entertainment and educational purposes. This area is where GrabCAD stands out, because of the interaction between members of the community. If I spot a model of something that has my interest, there is always a modeler to ask for further details and explanations. Those models are seldom meant for any kind of production (they are often scale models of large items such as cars, tanks, ships), but they serve a purpose of being both entertaining and educational. It is worth noting, that the renders are just as important as the model itself, because the joy, understanding and learning comes from explanations as well as examinations. In other words, what good is it to download a model of a complex mechanism, if you don't understand how it works anyway. Explanatory text and renders can do the job without you having to download and examine any model.

So, in conclusion, what I am trying to say here is, that I think the value and future of GrabCAD is in ENTERTAINMENT and EDUCATION and INSPIRATION rather than being an on-line parts catalog.


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I think we need to redirect our attention relating to points.

So far, people have been thinking of awarding points for individual items that are uploaded. But this would inevitably end up relating to quantity as the more items uploaded the greater the number of points accumulated.

Ultimately the points relate to the engineer so I think it would be good to start thinking of how to award points directly to each engineer for the overall quality of the work uploaded regardless of quantity.

Also, the new system should re-evaluate the work from scratch. There should be no inconsistency in the consideration of old work and new work. Inevitably, there would be winners and losers in a new system. Engineers should not retain points gained in the old system because it would be unfair for newer members if they are unable to accumulate points in that way.

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I’d like to suggest that a self-assessment form be included in the profile. This would include a list of skills with tick boxes for ‘Basic’, ‘Professional’ and ‘Expert’ levels for each one. There should also be provision for a link to an uploaded file that demonstrates the skill. A substantial number of points could then be awarded for the skills claimed but only where a file has been uploaded. The claims should also be challenge-able.

I think such a system would be a valuable addition to the profile and be useful for prospective employers who are looking for specific skills. It would also reward quality (without rewarding quantity) and require minimal input from GrabCAD staff for administration.

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I know my answer was long...

But as I mentioned before

"The negative always hearts and any potential improvement on the quality of these models can start from the users and only from them..."

I thought the same about a new system of points. Although if this system doesn't come from us then from where....

What ever the system is going to be the input data should come from the users

We design
We upload
We assess
We know better
A silly algorithm delivers the results don't you think???

Example :
Reputation of a model. I bet (and tell me I'm wrong) it comes from the most downloads... Instead can be estimated by a ratio... something like
" most downloads / likes "

In my opinion Grabcad should trigger the users to be....

inter-Active members and not just Active members

That can be a good badge... :)

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@Sara Sigel

Well we have to start from somewhere so...why not...

A compulsory tag, it wouldn't heart anybody or a model

The thing is that this tag should refers to the approach of designing and not the character of the actual model...

-Obviously (you will tell me...)

The trick though is how you will make sure that the right tag will be selected...

I am not trying to put barriers to this proposal as it sounds good but it is something that you will have to look... :P

Quick brain-storming...

Similarly situation is with the models that have been uploaded without any rendering...

The problem didn't solved but maybe reduced as other users can find open and render this models on behalf of...

My point is to give something to rest of the users to assess properly the model or if that tag is true / false !!!

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Good Luck with your points all. I hope everyone gets what they want. Or , the points they want.
My rudeness is a result of self defense.
No ones opinion is wrong, its the way they see it given the facts they have.

Beware of double edged swords.

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@JEFF and all the Rest

Obviously, we all confused a bit the Judgement & Assessment term...
I would like to make clear that no one here has any intention to Judge anybody as it is all about sharing.

I wouldn't agree more with you Jeff in your thoughts above. How ever you don't have to be rude and actually you are not... by telling to someone that...

- Hi mate you might want to upload the components apart from the assembly that fails to open... common "issue"

With actions like these by someone and a response from the uploader you can increase the quality of the OUTPUT FILES.

I think Everyone in this topic is looking on how efficiently this database can be used.

Personally I am expecting some comments bad or good as feedback to my models... and of course I would consider any good advises.

But definitely not something like
- I didn't like it...
-Your model is sucks....

That is silly if you cannot argue for something properly just don't...

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