Manufacturing guy-at-large.

Manufacturing agnosticity

Added on by Spencer Wright.

I came across an interesting quote yesterday in the Wikipedia page for Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing (GD&T):

Descriptions of manufacturing methods should be avoided. The geometry should be described without explicitly defining the method of manufacture.

In context, this makes sense. GD&T has the purpose of making a part that fits the intended purpose, and in an ideal world, manufacturing methods are largely irrelevant to that process. But in the conventional design-manufacture cycle, I think this sets up a poor incentive structure, and hinders communication of key information.

It would be my hope that design tools evolve such that intent can be executed directly. But as it stands now, designers are still largely designing features. The result is that manufactured products carry high setup and switching costs, and often require multiple sample iterations in order to get right.

I admire the intent in the quote above (which, it should be noted, seems not to have been taken directly from the ASME standard), but I think it's a bit optimistic. Until we figure out a new way of incorporating intent directly into design, methods of manufacturing will be highly useful in design data transfer.