Engineering drawings and roles of a designer

As an industrial designer, how extensive does our ability to provide detailed engineering drawings need to be?

With a new former-aerospace engineer on staff, I’m now being pressed to spend a lot of my time detailing parts I’ve designed and providing incredibly detailed drawings. An ellipse isn’t just an ellipse. Nope, I have to dimension the sucker with radians. And every single element has to be dimensioned to exacting tolerances, none of which I have a clue doing. Was this something I missed in college?

Or is it possible that perhaps it’s not really part of my job? I mean, the engineer can do that stuff for me after I’ve properly designed the part in Solidworks, right? I’m the only one that can conceptualize, do renderings, provide ideation sketches, CAD surfacing, etc.

I design my products for ease of manufacture. I think about how it will be molded, etc. But at what point does the role of the industrial designer stop and the engineer start?

If you hand off 3D data, then there should never be any question about what measurement something is.

But since some areas are still too slow to adopt 3D, the 2D drawing remains. Unless you can influence the engineers you’re working with to change their workflow you may be stuck.

The unfortunate reality is to get your design vision through to production, you need to be as good of an engineer as the engineers. :laughing:

If someone comes and tells you “I can’t do that because of X” you need to be able to come back and say “Yes you can, and heres why” or at least propose other ways to do it. Half my day is spent making sure the engineers and manufacturers are actually following up and building things the way they should. It’s all too easy for someone to say “Oh you need 4 degrees of draft here. Cause I’m an engineer and I say so”.

“If you hand off 3D data, then there should never be any question about what measurement something is.”

Exactly!! That’s what I thought until this engineer came into the the picture. Even though I can provide a flawless IGS file, it’s supposedly not good enough. So now, even though I have complex curves and such, I somehow have to figure out how to properly dimension every single part. It takes anywhere from 4-6 different drawing revisions between him and I before he’ll finally sign off on a freakin’ drawing! So, during this, I’m wasting my time doing a silly drawing of a part that’s ready to be machined, and thus stalling the entire process.

I didn’t go to school for engineering and this guy didn’t go to school for design. Can’t we just do our own individual jobs and move on with it?

I feel your pain, but see it a bit different.

The engineer is asking you to be a drafter. Which could be a tallent you have in your back pocket, but is not a task you should do at the end of the day,

Many engineers have been drafters, but usually are better at being engineers than drafters. The engineers I work with are poor with GD&T and therefore ask for each surface to be dimensioned.

If the engineer should be an advisor if a surface should be thickened, or is at risk of causing a mold issue he/she should let up on the drafting because a few drafting board techniques are no longer relevant with Complex curves.

Was this guy an aerospace engineer in the 60s? I’m an engineer, and I haven’t had to do a fully dimensioned drawing since the mid 90s. They beat it into us at school, but nobody actually works that way, at least not where I’ve been.

You can dimension the drawing however you like, but the tool paths are going to be defined by the solid. Apart from dimensions on holes and other critical stuff, the drawings are going to be ignored by everyone involved. And holes are the only place where you should ever have anything other than a global symmetric +/- tolerance. Life’s too short.

right on!

as an industrial designer you should have the ability to communicate your design adequately to those who are manufacturing it.

If you work in a multiple disciplinary environment then indeed you may have luxury of shared responsibility for such things as manufacturing drawings.

Probably, at some point in every designer’s career, there comes a time when you are responsible for everything. Learn these skills as soon as possible, especially when you have access to other’s experienced advice.

The handing over of CAD data as a lone skill for manufacturing exhibits poor understanding of manufacturing and business. It is impossible to capture all manufacturing data in a CAD model as CAD programs do not include such encompassing features.

For net shape manufacturing, CAD data are pretty good. Processes such as machining and sheet metal forming require manufacturing drawings to communicate full part intent. The post processed data from CAD files is only partial information, usually sufficient for only the machine time of such manufacturing. Many machine shops still do some programming at the machine by experienced machinist with your drawing in one hand and other hand keyboarding machine code; never ceases to amaze me.

Liability for payment also applies as part of succesful business of communicating manufacturing information. If it’s not clear, you may get unusable parts, late delivery; chances are you’re liable, not the manufacturer.

For me, the issue you raise comes to the heart of the profession of industrial design: the design of objects to be manufactured by industry. You have to be able to successfully communicate to manufacturing industry in addition to all the other people, executives, marketing, etc. Indeed technology is fundamentally changing manufacturing communication, but the requirement for boring old dimensioned drawings will outlive all our lifetimes.

It sounds like he is “successfully communicating” the design, but he is being asked to over communicate it and in essence waste his time.

Do you report to this engineer? If so you are screwed. If not, then there are many ways to handle this. My typical favorite is to go to his boss and explain how he is forcing in-efficiencies into the company. Pr rate your salary and show how much in dollars this new protocol is costing the company, what opportunities are being missed, and how you are burning out vs the “old system” pre this guy… by the end of the day you will be back to your old work flow.

Time is finite. Spend it with care. Spend it on design.

It almost sounds like this guy is basically wanting you to do his job for him.