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How RapidDirect’s DfM feedback tool can help optimize your part design

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Published:  August 5, 2020         Reading Time:  About 3 minutes

How RapidDirect’s DfM feedback (Design for Manufacturing) feature gives customers direct input on the manufacturability of a part and helps them to move confidently into production.

Since our founding in 2009, RapidDirect has grown into a leading rapid prototyping and manufacturing service, serving China and the world. In recent years, we have optimized our service with the development of a proprietary platform that offers instant pricing, lead time estimates, design feedback and online order management tools. This platform enables us to offer our clients a seamless ordering process.

Today, we’ll be looking at a vital element of RapidDirect’s proprietary online ordering platform, our DfM feedback tool (Design for Manufacturing), which enables our customers to benefit from valuable design feedback before production begins for CNC machining orders.

What is Design for Manufacturing?

First, it is important to understand the guiding principle of Design for Manufacturing. In short, every manufacturing process has its own set of design rules, determined by the nature of the production technique. For example, a subtractive process like CNC machining, which cuts and mills away materials using tools, has vastly different design guidelines than 3D printing, which is an additive manufacturing approach.

When designing parts or products, it is therefore important to follow design guidelines for a specific manufacturing process, including wall thickness constraints, minimum hole diameters, part size, and more. Following these design rules will ensure that your part can be manufactured using a specific manufacturing technology. 

It is also important to point out that part design can influence lead times and manufacturing costs. A part that meets design criteria for CNC machining will be faster, and consequently cheaper, to produce. RapidDirect’s DfM feedback tool helps clients to ensure that their part’s design is suitable and optimized for their chosen manufacturing process.

How our DfM feedback tool works

When placing an order with RapidDirect, clients simply have to upload a CAD file (STEP or MESH formats) into the online quoting engine. RapidDirect’s powerful online engine automatically analyses the CAD file and calculates the manufacturability of each part feature by comparing part information to data from our extensive manufacturing database. 

Once this analysis is complete—it only takes seconds—customers are presented with a user-friendly, three-dimensional visualization of their part and design feedback.

DFM Feedback Rapid Direct Platform

 The DfM feedback tool provides a vital assessment of the part, addressing a number of design elements, such as radius or hole size, internal corners, grooves, wall thickness and more. These constraints have been established by our expert engineers, who understand the ins and outs of manufacturing processes and part design.

Green checkmarks indicate that the uploaded CAD design or drawing can be manufactured using our CNC machining equipment. If a part requires design changes, the user will be alerted with a red checkmark accompanied by design instructions. (If the part is non-machinable, the customer can contact the RapidDirect support team for additional help.)

The DfM feedback tool also comes with a selection of handy visualization tools, including ruler, coordinate grid, axis, wireframe, and bounding box functions. Users can also benefit from a built-in scale reference tool and an innovative X-ray tool that shows the internal structure of the part.

Once a part gets the go-ahead from our DfM feedback feature, clients can move ahead to the next phase of the online ordering process—to receive their quote and lead-time estimate—with the guarantee that their part is manufacturable. 

Once the customer confirms the quote, we get to work, providing the best manufacturing fit, through our own facility or through our qualified manufacturing network. Customers can follow the progress of their production closely using our up-to-date order tracking feature.

Upload your part design now

Our DFM feedback tool was designed and integrated into RapidDirect’s workflow so that clients can confidently move into production. The automated DfM feedback tool evaluates a part’s design and guarantees that a component is manufactured with CNC machining.

By assessing manufacturability at such an early stage, customers can easily fix problems with their part design. If further design support is required, RapidDirect’s team of design engineering experts can offer additional support.

The DfM feedback tool is a crucial step in our instant quoting platform. Ultimately, our customers can leverage manufacturing feedback to optimize their part designs and benefit from faster production times and lower manufacturing costs. Upload your part to RapidDirect’s online quoting engine now to see if it’s ready for production!

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