Best software tools to develop Mechanical design projects


The wheel is considered to be one of the most important inventions that humankind has made. Ever since then everything humans have invented or designed has had a rationale behind it. Most of the objects we have around us have a vital engineering design component etched into it. While the need and aesthetics may differ, everything around us has an engineering design component, which helps make it useful and productive. So, how do we build such a mechanical design component? Most engineers now make use of software tools to develop mechanical design projects. Here’s a look at the best software tools available and why you need to master those skills.

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Importance of Engineering Design

Everything from a simple spoon we use to eat our meals to the Worli Sea Link in Mumbai requires well-thought-out engineering design components. Basically, everything we see around us needs to be designed based on some engineering concepts and constraints. The mechanical design makes use of scientific and technical principles to imagine a definition and structure to a mechanical component. Engineers then design such a component by defining the final objectives of the component or device.

Therefore, the prime purpose of engineering or mechanical design is to envision solutions to engineering problems. The design elements help make these solutions aesthetic and practical.

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What is Engineering Design Tools?

Engineers and designers nowadays have a lot of software tools to help them design mechanical components. Some of the most commonly used software includes Computer-Aided Design and Engineering software. These allow engineers to be creative as well as technically sound. A few such popular tools include PTC Windchill, CAE Altair, MATLAB and SIMULINK. These tools were first used in the 1960s wherein they helped in automating the process of design and conceptualization.

Usual Engineering Design Services

  1. CAD – Computer-Aided Design
  2. CAE – Computer-Aided Engineering
  3. FEA - Finite Element Analysis
  4. Moldflow
  5. Thermal Analysis
  6. CFD - Computational Fluid Dynamics
  7. Structural Analysis
  8. Noise and Vibration Analysis
  9. Kinematics and Multibody Dynamics

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Software Tools Every Mechanical Engineer Needs

  • Mathcad- Software which allows engineers to do math within any document. It also allows users to add images, text and other graphics to explain what has been done. The software also allows you to add plots and defined equations, making it a complete mathematical tool.
  • Computer-Aided Design- 3D CAD software helps engineers focus on designing by allowing them to build parts and assemble models. It allows you to check for interference, links up parts and runs diagnostics for motion. Several CAD tools also allow you to create 2D drawings of the parts designed.
  • FEA Software- These tools help engineers perform structural analysis. It enables the testing of complex structures for deflections and stresses.
  • Excel- This software tool is used not just by engineers, but also by every office goer. This versatile tool helps in calculation, tabulation and visualisation of data.
  • Visual Basic for Applications is the program that runs all of Microsoft’s Office products. It helps in automating Excel and Word files, making it a great tool to master.
  • MATLAB- This programming language helps with analysis, documentation and mechanical calculations. In case you are interested in MATLAB, check this article out to understand how to go about learning MATLAB.

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Benefits of using software

  1. Allows you to create both 2D and 3D models of the parts you wish to design
  2. Helps in increasing productivity significantly
  3. Lowers production costs
  4. Requires the building of less number of prototypes
  5. Leads to quicker project completion
  6. Higher quality of completed projects
  7. Automates the design process
  8. Easier to incorporate real-world elements into the design process
  9. More flexible than manual drafting
  10. Easier diagnosis and error correction
  11. Helps in standardising drawings and reusing part designs
  12. A lot easier to share drawings
  13. Revisions can be done easily and efficiently

Design software for mechanical engineers

  • Fusion 360- CAD software by Autodesk which runs via a cloud-based program. Allows engineers to work on solid/mesh/parametric modelling.
  • KeyCreator is a tool that is centred around geometry and allows users to model both 2D and 3D drawings
  • Inventor has various modeling options and comes with a plethora of great simulation tools.
  • Solid Edge by Siemens has fantastic 2D orthographic view functionality and is a convenient tool for mechanical engineers
  • NX by Siemens is a great PLM Software that makes the entire production process more efficient and effective
  • SolidWorks is a powerful software tool that helps designers and engineers create, design, model and test their components
  • CATIA by Dassault Systèmes is one of the most popular tools used for mechanical design by engineers.

Best Mechanical design projects

1. CAD project

This CAD project will allow students to gain hands-on experience in designing and modelling gear trains. Almost every machine we see around us requires some mode of power transmission to work. Gears are a very popular option used to transmit power efficiently. In a mechanical design project, students will learn how to design, create and model gear shafts, bearings, housings and assemble the entire set-up.

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2. Differential Gear Design Project

Differential gears are used in automobiles to allow power transfer from the engine to the wheels. These components allow speed transmission to occur by limiting the amount of power split to each wheel drive. In this design project, students will learn to develop a differential gear system using Autodesk Inventor.

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3. Part Design with Autodesk Inventor

Every mechanical engineer must have good 3D CAD Modeling skills and this design project will help you fine-tune yours with ease. The Autodesk Inventor is one of the most popular software tools used by engineers and this project is great for students interested in automobile engineering.

This project introduces you to all the major concepts of Part Design and will introduce you to the elements of Parametric Design. It will also teach you how to design and build keys and shafts. The course also contains information regarding the application of constraints and how force analysis works. Finally, students will learn how to run simulations for the parts they have built. This service is also available on different software tools, such as Solidworks and CATIA. Therefore, students will have the option of choosing their preferred platform and then learn how to use it effectively.

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4. Sheet Metal and Surface Design Project

Sheet metal and surface modelling are very integral to the design and conceptualisation of automobiles. Therefore, this design project will be very valuable to anyone interested in automobile engineering. In this design project, students will learn how to use SOLIDWORKS to perform sheet metal and surface design operations. Students will learn how to choose the right dies and punches to create the desired product. Furthermore, they will learn about features such as gusset, ribs and heat sinks and will work on various surface operations and wireframe models.

Discover more about Sheet metal design project

Check out the following list for more Mechanical Design projects:

  1. Analysis of Turbulence in a Two Dimensional Cavity Flow
  2. Gas Detection System
  3. Designing of Hydrogen Fuel car
  4. Electromagnetic Shock Absorbers
  5. Soap Free Building Sealant
  6. Innovative Ground Storage
  7. Dynamic Study of Soil Parameters
  8. Centrifugal Pump
  9. Self Priming Centrifugal Pump
  10. Turbo Pump
  11. Axial Flow Pump
  12. Diaphragm Pump
  13. Plasma Ignition
  14. Ram Accelerator
  15. StarTram
  16. Aluminium Powered Car
  17. Perpendicular Wind Turbines
  18. Electromagnetic propulsion System
  19. Miniature Shiftless Transmission
  20. 3D Printed Etching Press
  21. Portable Loom
  22. Hypnotic Plotter
  23. Reconnaissance Drone
  24. 3D Printed DNA extractor
  25. Health Monitoring Drone
  26. Forward swept wing RC aircraft
  27. Laser Propulsion
  28. Repair of carbon composites
  29. Quadrotor using Arduino
  30. Drone Swarm
  31. Cylinder-shaped Coaxial Drone
  32. Drone-hunting Drone
  33. Racing Drone
  34. Compressed Air Powered Drone
  35. Window washing drone
  36. Performance analysis of paraffin wax,bees wax and magnesium for hybrid rocket motor
  37. Fabrication and testing of light weight composites for UAV

Hope you got some good mechanical design projects from the article. If you have any queries let us know in the comments section.

Best software tools to develop Mechanical design projects
Skyfi Labs Last Updated: 2021-03-07

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