Functionality FAQs

Hopefully, if you have any questions about MechDesigner in particular, you will find the answer below. If the answer is here, then please contact us directly.

Capabilities:


Capabilities:

What is MechDesigner

MechDesigner is a mechanism and machine modeling software package for packaging, assembly and other automation machine designers. You are able to model complete machines with many moving mechanisms. With the included motion design software, you will be able to view all the machine, mechanisms and material interactions as if you are watching the real machine.  Once you have designed your motions, if you need the data, MechDesigner will produce cam cutting coordinates or servo motor profiles to implement your motions.

Are there different option? I only want to model mechanisms and not cams.

Yes. There is MechDesigner Lite, Standard and Professional. See here for the features in different option.

Can MechDesigner design and model Spatial Linkages?

Yes. MechDesigner can Model Spatial Linkages and Mechanisms.  MechDesigner can model mechanisms where you would need Rod-end Bearings in your machine.

Can MechDesigner open Camlinks Files

Yes.  MechDesigner can open Camlinks files, both Camlinks 3 and Camlinks 4 versions.

How Many Mechanisms can I model?

As many as your machine needs!  MechDesigner is extremely efficient and can therefore model many mechanisms before performance begins to deteriorate.  Usually, if you have the Number of Steps at 120, then you will find that performance is imporved and only increase the steps when you want to output Cam Coordinate Data or Servo-Motor Motion Profiles.

Can MechDesigner provide Cam Designs and Cam Coordinates for Cam Manufacture?

Yes.  MechDesigner can produce cam designs and cam data in three ways. 

  • The first outputs cam profile X,Y data in equal increments of machine angle.  This is satisfactory for most cams to be made. However, you do not know the chordal error that will be introduced by the interpolation of the NC/CNC cutting machine. This might become an issue with cams that are especially large - such as cams around filling machines.  However, you can produce cams with up to 100,000 points. 
  • The second outputs cam data X,Y points at intervals that give a constant chordal error assuming a linear interpolation.  This means that if your application requires greater precision you can be sure that your cam profile will meet your specification.  You will generally find that you can generate fewer points than the first method.
  • You can also save the Cam to a DXF File.
  • MechDesigner can download Cams to SolidWorks.  There you will be able to save your Cams to any format you like for manufacture.

Can MechDesigner produce data for Servo-Motors?

Yes.  You can use measurement function blocks to measure angles or linear displacements and then connect these to the graphing function. This will allow you to plot and save position, velocity and acceleration maps to a file.

If your servo-drive system allows point-to-point mapping then these can be put directly into your controller with the appropriate unit calibrations.

If your servo controller does not allow this, then please let us know and we will be happy to include the form of data required into future releases.

Can MechDesigner open Camlinks .mec files and Motion .shp files?

Yes. MechDesigner Professional can open Camlinks .mec files and Motion .shp files. This feature is not available in MechDesigner Standard.

All you need to do is decide which Plane you want to add the Camlinks file to.  Add a Mechanism to the Plane. Then in the New Mechanism Tab, use the 'Open Camlinks .Mec File icon in the File and Edit Toolbar.

Can MechDesigner design Barrel and Globoidal Cams?

Yes. MechDesigner Professional can design Barrel and Globoidal Cams. You must start by building the mechanism so that you have a cam follower. Then you must use the Add 3D Cam tool.  The 3D Cam-Track is added.  All the coordinates of all the surfaces are added.  The command is generic and so Barrel or Globoidal Cams cams can be added, indexing or oscillating.

Can MechDesigner interface with 3D CAD such as SolidWorks?

Yes. You can send the 2D and 3D Cam-Track Data to SolidWorks using the dialogs built in MechDesigner. A SolidPart is built automatically in SolidWorks.

You can alos import SolidWorks Files and STL files on to any Part in any Kinematic-chain

Mechanisms on real machines are in different places. How do you arrange the machine layout in MechDesigner?

In MechDesigner, mechanisms are built on planes.  Therefore, to arrange the layout of the machine, you need to add planes and arrange them.  You can add planes that are fixed in the frame or add planes to existing mechanisms. By adding planes in a serial fashion to existing moving parts, you can build robotic devices.

Are there any tools to help me Optimize my design?

In MechDesigner Professional, you will find the 'Design Sets' tool.  This allows you to compile in one dialog a list of dimensions that are critical to your design.  You can then edit the dimensions in the dialog.  The dimensions may be associated with different parts in a mechanism or even different parts in different mechanisms.   This is a very efficient way of optimizing your design because the changes you make to a dimension are immediately reflected in the model, even while the mechanism or model is cycling. In this way, you can 'look-and-see' in real time.

How does MechDesigner find Kinematic Solutions?

MechDesigner has a USP that makes it solve the kinematics with closed form solutions that are very fast and robust.  Most CAD packages do not solve the kinematics in this way.  Typically, they will use a 'solver' that minimizes error.  These are not fast and not very robust.

How do you edit Mechanisms and Parts in MechDesigner?

MechDesigner has two windows for you to arrange mechanism and part geometry. 

  • The mechanism editor is where you add parts, joints and the function blocks which control them - this is your mechanism design workspace
  • The part geometry editor is where you can add lines, arcs, circles and points to the part. 

There are a number of uses of geometry in a part:

  • Part shape outlines for solid extrusions and solid cuts
  • Points and Lines can be used for pin (revolute) and slider (prismatic) joints that are constructed in the mechanism editor.
  • Add a cam follower outline - any shape - flat, round, "boat" profile...
  • Points added for a trace or locus
  • To extract precise kinematic data

MechDesigner uses a geometric solver like most good 3D CAD packages.  This means that modeling becomes parametric.