To start off I come from a background of Industrial Design as my major but I have been working with SolidWorks sine 2004 and various others since 2000. My co-worker is a Mechanical Engineer.
My company creates T-slotted aluminum extruded frames. Right now my fellow co-worker and I are redoing the CAD database that has been a cluster of junk for the past 5 years. We are just about to move into the bulk of our design parts which is our strut in different sizes and styles. I was looking to see how this should be set up. The way that the design process goes here is that we almost always know the overall base dimensions of the frame, however we have two different design methods. I am use to designing from the bottom-up and have done some top-down design, however my co-worker enjoys to use weldments. Our problem is that I would like to get a singular design process so that our database can be constructed as such.
I can create the same frame that my co-worker can in about 1/2 the time becuase he has to set up so much additional reference planes and such for the weldment to work. Would the top-down design method be better as then it could be parametric and then we could relate cut dimensions and such in the BOM.
Attached are some examples of just a few of the designs that have been down over the years.
So my questions are:
Which is better Top-down design or Weldments?
Does making Parts Virtual make the design process easier as usually it is the same strut being used in the assembly?
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance