Sunday, November 29, 2009
“Our life is frittered away by detail ... simplify, simplify.” Henry David Thoreau
Since my last blog post, I've found myself working with Showcase lately on some projects. During this time, I've found myself trying to answer the age old question: How much detail is enough?
In Inventor, my answer has always been: 'Exactly as much as is needed to build the part, and not one bit more'.
When I say this, my goal here is the perfect point where there is enough detail to remove any ambiguity in the design intent, but not so much detail that you spend a bunch of extra time building unnecessary features into a model.
For example, do you REALLY need to put .010 radius fillets to show that you've broken the sharp edges, or will a note do the job just fine? Likely, a note is sufficient in most cases (although I'm sure there are exceptions).
I can't share the particular components I was working on in this case (sorry, I promised the guys who own the files), but imaging an assembly that requires a certain amount of detail to be manufactured correctly, number of parts, detail of parts etc.
But when I imported it into Showcase, the performance takes an immediate turn Southward. Just importing it took forever (like an hour), and manipulated it was painful.
So, what to do? When it comes right down to it, I didn't need to see that much detail in Showcase, after all, what is the end game for Showcase? A good looking rendering.
So instead of using the assembly, we created a single component that had what I'll call the 'macro details'. Everything that you'd need to see to make a good Showcase rendering, but eliminating the small details like screws and internal components, that will never be seen anyway.
Sure, this took a little bit of up front work, but think of it like building a fixture for a long run of parts in the shop. The time spent up front will save a lot more time, money, and heartache, than it costs you.
Sure enough, in my case, the import took much less time (on the order of a few minutes), and was much easier to manipulate than the large assembly.
Ultimately, it saved me time, and of course headaches. And I can definitely use a few less headaches!