If you need something engineered or designed, you have a few options. If you handle it in-house, you could waste a lot of time and money, and the engineer might not be fully qualified for the project. This is why a lot of people turn to outsourcing their CAD work.
People always ask us how outsource CAD services work. To answer that question, let’s talk about one of our recent customers in this case study. In this example, a customer approached us and asked us to make a 3D wind turbine model for them in SolidWorks and 2D manufacturing drawings.
The following sections will outline the full process. We’ll explain the process so you can understand how your project can benefit from choosing CAD/CAM Services as well.
Picking the CAD Service
If you were our customer in this case, it would start by looking through different CAD services and companies. Different companies have different levels of experience and they offer different services.
Our wind turbine customer was looking for a CAD service that could deliver a 3D model very quickly, a team that had great attention to detail, and someone who could make manufacturing drawings from the model. Of course, it led them to choose CAD/CAM Services.
They reached out with an email, we had a quick phone call together, then we sent over a free quote. Within 24 hours of sending their initial email, they already had a quote. From there, they chose us as the CAD outfit they wanted to use, we signed some paperwork (including an NDA with them), and we got to work.
Understanding the Customer’s Needs
Part of the initial screening was to learn what our customer wanted and what they needed. When you have a project that you’re shopping out to different CAD companies, you need to pick a CAD service that will listen to you and ask the right questions.
If someone is too quick to accept your project proposal, some red flags should raise. Are they trying to trick you into signing paperwork and sending them money for below-average work? A good CAD outsource company will spend time learning about your project before getting too far.
We like to start with a kick-off meeting after the paperwork is signed. During this time, we’ll learn everything that you’re looking for.
In the case of our wind turbine customer, we learned a lot during these initial conversations. For one, we learned that they needed delivery in SolidWorks. Luckily, we have a number of CAD programs that our designers use. You can specify one of the large CAD programs and we’ll use that for your full project.
It helps with compatibility later on. You can definitely import a STEP file that was made outside of SolidWorks, but then you lose all of the material properties and added parameters. It’s best for us to design and draw in SolidWorks if you use SolidWorks on your end.
We also learned some rough dimensions, functionality, and the timeline of their project. All of this information was gathered and put together in our master reference file for the project.
Even when we have multiple people working on your project, we have a running list of references that are shared across the board and managers that keep track of everything. This ensures that we don’t miss any of your specs or forget something later on in the project.
We Used Our Background Knowledge
We have more than a hundred designers and engineers at CAD/CAM Services. This came in handy during our wind turbine project. We asked around the office, and we had three engineers who previously worked on projects involving wind turbines.
They were assigned to the project, we had a senior engineer take the project as the manager, and we had two supporting engineers join to design some of the smaller parts.
Within the same week, we were making progress on the 3D model. Since we have such a diverse team at CAD/CAM Services, we have background knowledge in countless industries and applications. Plus, we have decades of experience working on an assortment of projects, just like yours.
That means that we probably have workers with direct experience working on a project that you’re asking for our help on.
Using the Right 3D CAD Software
As we mentioned, we use a lot of different 3D CAD software in-house at CAD/CAM Services. The wind turbine project used SolidWorks, but we also have active licenses for CATIA, Revit, Inventor, AutoCAD, and Siemens NX. Our designers come from diverse backgrounds, and we have plenty of staff that work with each 3D CAD software.
Part of our initial screening conversations will revolve around which CAD program you’d like us to use, and how you’d like the final delivery.
Since we knew our wind turbine customer wanted to use SolidWorks, we ensured only SolidWorks designers were assigned to the project. They put together the 3D CAD model and cut 2D manufacturing drawings from it.
Going Through Quality Checks and Progress Updates
The wind turbine project took us a little over six weeks for the whole project. That’s the time from our first kick-off meeting to the final model delivery.
During that time, we had five different progress updates with the customer. We had a weekly call with decision-makers and stakeholders on their end. During those calls, we would discuss our progress on each drawing, and talk about overall project completion.
These progress updates keep everyone on the same page. It gives you the confidence that our team is hard at work, and it gives us an opportunity to ask questions and learn more about the project.
As we get closer to making the manufacturing drawings, we can talk about manufacturing methods, surface treatments, and tolerancing. Before then, we would focus on creating the model and parts.
How the Final Model Is Delivered
After our in-house quality team approves the drawings and models, we send them to our customer. You would tell us what types of files you’d like, and we would send those. We can either use an encrypted file-sharing channel or send a confidential attachment to you via email.
Every file will be shared. We’re not trying to keep any secrets or hide our work — if you want preliminary sketches and models that didn’t make the cut, we can share those too.
The model and drawings will be sent in whatever file type you’d like. We would ask your team to approve the drawings, then close the project if everything looks good.
Getting a part made through our team is easy. We take all of the headaches out of the project and make things easy for you. Be sure to consider CAD/CAM Services next time you’re shopping for a part — no matter how big or complicated the part is, we can handle all the CAD and CAM work.
Our team has been operating for decades. We’ve helped make millions of drawings over the years, and we can handle yours as well. We are a full-service CAD outfit with over a hundred engineers and draftsmen on our team. Get a free quote today to get started.