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August 23, 2006



Hi, I`m from Sweden and i read about this fenomenal functional design, i tried to get a grip of it. To understand what it means, but i still have some problems. The usage of the term parametric is dificult to understand specially beacause parametric is an mathematical konstant. When these BOsses from Autodesk talk about reducing the parametric design i dont really connect what is parametric design in the sense of designing in Inventor, if you make a shaft you still have to give it a form and then put the function. Of course you just have to change the material and the diameter changes but how can this be functional design when you have to design the shaft first?...Does someone have a good explanation on parametric design and what it means shortly and consist please write...Regardly from Sweden


This functional design is indeed a buzzward for any software that specializes in a certain area by providing a "macro" for creating a standard product or design. No doubt that many architectual programs that automatically create features of a house are using these "macros" or "functional Design" if you will.

This is nothing new...it just evolves as computers get faster. I've seen custom in house programs that can do some amzing stuff by just entering a pageful of variables. As long as the rules can be defined.....you can create something to do it. Unfortunately, true innovative design is not so structured.

This is not say it's not useful. Solidworks smart fasteners is useful in that it selects the correct length of bolt and related washer and nut needed for the geometry its used on. However, the next step is to select the correct diameter, material, type of bolt, lockwashers and nut for the needed application......guess that throughs FEA and KBE in the mix.

Evan Yares

Roopinder, you're missing the essential nature of functional design. It is an outgrowth of AI, KBE, KM, and a host of other disciplines that have been in play for many years.

Functional design, by any reasonable definition, must be use-case based -- that is, it must work with a "thing" (object, artifact, widget, or whatever you want to call it) that has well defined properties. Shafts and belts, of course, happen to have well defined properties.

It's possible to implement function design of more complex things (for example, aircraft wing spars), doing so requires massive work. Of course, the payoff in such endeavors is pretty big. If you talk to automotive and aerospace firms, you'll find they're using functional design (probably by another name) throughout their design processes -- and have been doing so for many years. Yet, rather than reducing the need for humans in the design process, these tools have helped to improve design quality, by reducing the overhead of trying out design variations.

(In reference to the XBOX story -- if the products have RFID tags, the human doesn't need to enter the data.)


Reminds me of my experience this week at the video store, renting an XBOX 360. The clerk looks at the computer screen, which tells her the store has one in stock. She goes to the backroom to find two in stock; the other one was not checked in when it was returned.

Could the computer tell that the store had 2 XBOXs on its own? Nope. It needed humans (to remember) to enter the data.

Same as Inventor: it still needs humans to enter the data. I could see functional design being useful for common, repetitive but not identical, design functions.

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