What is Generative Design?

by | Jun 17, 2019 | Blog | 0 comments

10 min read
In the past, an engineer would make a part or product by developing a drawing in CAD. The drawing would be the result of that engineer’s experience, imagination (creativity), and historical data (how similar parts have been made before). Generative design is optimization and problem solving based on a number of criteria defined by the designer. Those criteria could Structural Integrity (strength), Height, Weight, Cost Constraints, Volume of Material, etc.

But the goal here is for Artificial Intelligence (software) to generate a design or many designs that solve the problem by addressing the criteria. So, Generative Design does not necessarily mean faster although faster could be one of the criteria. Once the designs are completed, the engineer can choose the one that best suits their needs. In this way, a computer delivers manufacturable designs that solve a challenge, meet the criteria … and reach beyond the limitations of human imagination.

Generative design resulted in many char designs. Here are two very different ones.

Generative Design uses cloud computing to provide thousands of designs that meet defined criteria and solve a problem. Above two very different chair designs based on the same criteria. Photo Credit: Autodesk

At the Forefront of Generative Design

Autodesk is at the forefront of Generative Design and their Fusion 360 software can simultaneously generate multiple CAD-ready solutions based on real-world manufacturing constraints and product performance requirements. A perfect real-world application for Generative Design is Autodesk’s work with General Motors to change the way car parts are made, reduce the number of parts required to make a car, and produce parts that are lighter and stronger! This will help GM to have at least 20 different electric or fuel cell cars on the market by 2023.

Generative Design resulted in these bracket designs for a General Motors seat belt.

Generative design seat belt bracket designs. Out of 150 options, GM went with one that is 40% lighter in weight and 20% stronger than the previous version. Photo Credit: Autodesk

Does Generative Design Require 3D Printing?

There has been some misconception that Generative Design is exclusively related to 3D printing when in fact, the user is able to specify the manufacturing method including additive (3D printing), subtractive (CNC machining), casting, etc. Once the method is defined, the software will only generate designs that can be produced with that specific manufacturing method.

Generative Design is Augmented by DATRON “Next”

The DATRON neo and DATRON M8Cube are featured in Autodesk locations at Pier 9 (San Francisco), the Generative Design Lab (MxD, Chicago), and the Autodesk Technology Center (Boston). The reason for this is because DATRON technology represents the future of CNC machining and integrates so well with software like Fusion 360. The advancements the DATRON has brought to the industry impact the entire machining workflow.

DATRON “next” is a touchscreen interface with an integrated camera/probe combination (inside the milling machine) that eliminate the time-consuming task of setting up jobs. The camera shows the machining table below and the operator can select the workpiece simply by tracing the area on the touch-screen where the workpiece is displayed. Once the part is located, and the machining parameters are set, any irregularity is automatically compensated for in the software. This virtually eliminates part rejection due to improper setup. An onboard “CAM Assistant” guides the operator through the program and tool management on an interface that looks and feels like using a smartphone. All of these tools combine to help even a novice operator create a machined part in just four steps.

About DATRON

High-Speed CNC machining is more than 60,000 RPM spindle-speed. When you’re making small or complex parts, you need speed and precision at every stage. DATRON AG engineers didn’t just invent a faster, more precise CNC machine. They re-interpreted and optimized your entire machining workflow from start to finish.

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Did you know that we also manufacture our own cutting tools? Ground from micro-grain carbide, DATRON tools feature polished edges that provide longer life, burr-free machining, and superior finishes. See how our tools are made check out the new tool store. https://bit.ly/2ZpSLqu

Team Valkyrie is heading out on the road today to compete in the upcoming @battlebots season. We had the pleasure of making some generative designed frame rails and other parts for their BattleBot and can't wait to see Valkyrie take on the competition! LET THE SPARKS FLY!

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Micro drilling often includes making dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of holes. When drilling holes that are sometimes as small as a human hair, 4 steps can save you a lot of frustration (and broken tools). Learn more in our Micro Drilling blog: https://www.datron.com/micro-drilling-an-incredible-adventure/

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Industry trends show companies are determined to bring prototyping
in-house to protect intellectual property (IP). While securing IP in particular is huge, reducing time to market is also important. Read more in our collaborative eBook with @autodesk. https://bit.ly/2G5bfpq

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IMTS may have been canceled, but IMTS Spark is up and running! Visit our digital showroom on IMTS Spark to learn about micro-grain carbide tooling, see the new MXCube, AND check out our brand new eBook which was written in collaboration with @autodesk. https://bit.ly/3iRvgyn

Many machinists are concerned that an evaporative mist coolant will result in significant interference from chips. Learn how a MicroJet system uses pressurized air and coolant to alleviate this concern by producing dry chips that are easier to remove. https://bit.ly/2Vv1Eh2

“Credit where credit is due, the team that DATRON assembled was way different than the teams at some other companies. At a different company, we ended up with a salesman who talked only about specs.” — Marc Fournier, Design Engineer, R&D Manufacturing. https://bit.ly/3mCguxY

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“I haven’t personally programmed a CNC mill or written a program for 22 years, and I was able to use this machine right away. The integrated probe and camera for part location makes it incredibly easy to set up a job & operate." Paul Strippelhoff https://bit.ly/2RtUuH8

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DATRON is proud to announce that you can now browse and order from our extensive catalog of in-stock CNC cutting tools online! Click the link to check out the high quality micro-grain carbide tools in our NEW TOOL STORE today. https://bit.ly/2ZpSLqu

#cnctools #datron #datroncnc

Looking to work with high speed CNC milling machines? DATRON Dynamics, Inc is looking for a self-motivated, detail-oriented Field Service Technician to join our growing teams at our offices in Milford, NH and Livermore, CA. Learn more: https://bit.ly/3l6ZEGN

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