CAD, Computer Assisted Design

Creative engineering” could be what an engineering project team is going to perform. “Application engineering” is the counterpart of it.

Application engineering technics assembled together can make a very creative project. So, “creative project” and “creative engineering” are not linked together.

The CAD software category to be used, “direct” for creative engineering, or “parametric” for application engineering, has to be selected carefully.

However, “creativity” and “application” are sometimes hard to differentiate.


Application” is to design the revised piston engine version for the next generation of a car model. Pistons, connecting rods, valves, cylinders, crankshaft, etc… will all be similarly there ! Mainly shape variations will be applied to these components. So an application software (or parametric software) would be a good choice.

Creativity” is when the same parts need major changes, as replacing the alu pistons by ones made out of the new steel technology, or using cylinder sleeves instead of a bored block, or looking for a new engine arrangement, as F1 did between 2013 and 2014. Therefore a creative software (direct design) could bring some benefits. Some F1 teams went for “direct design” by that time.

let’s draw the part which…” is the beginning of a sentance which means that you might need an application (parametric) software.

let’s imagine a system which…” is frequently used when a direct design software could be better.

Some “parametric” developpers recently offer “direct design” modules. However, some of them keep many parametric concepts and, somehow, miss the target.

“direct design” is a more recent approach and some other developpers worked it out almost from a white sheet and offer real “direct” performances.

Price has little relation with these performances.

Creative engineers spend most of their time studying, calculating, discussing, questionning, meeting, reporting, testing, etc… so their CAD practice time is short. They need “bicycle” type of softwares (never fergotten once learned) and not “violin” type (need permanent training). Most “parametric” and some “direct” softwares are of “violin” type. Pay attention to the point.

An “application” history tree, from a parametric software, is mostly around the way a part is drawn.

A “creative” history tree is around the way a system is conceived.

So, using a parametric software, working with a “part history tree” for “creative” activity happens to be sometimes conflictual.

So far the “creative history trees” need to be handled manually by keeping “what-why” log sheets (perhaps the subject of an other post!)

Using for the first R&D phases a creative direct design software then an application parametric one could be a solution.

The company core engineering activity high performance is very much what a software should serve in first priority. However, treat the compatibility with other applications very carefully while selecting a product.

More on the subject ? later, with other posts.

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