Automating GD&T schema for mechanical assemblies

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Description

Parts are always manufactured with deviations from their nominal geometry due to many reasons such as inherent inaccuracies in the machine tools and environmental conditions. It is a designer job

Parts are always manufactured with deviations from their nominal geometry due to many reasons such as inherent inaccuracies in the machine tools and environmental conditions. It is a designer job to devise a proper tolerance scheme to allow reasonable freedom to a manufacturer for imperfections without compromising performance. It takes years of experience and strong practical knowledge of the device function, manufacturing process and GD&T standards for a designer to create a good tolerance scheme. There is almost no theoretical resource to help designers in GD&T synthesis. As a result, designers often create inconsistent and incomplete tolerance schemes that lead to high assembly scrap rates. Auto-Tolerancing project was started in the Design Automation Lab (DAL) to investigate the degree to which tolerance synthesis can be automated. Tolerance synthesis includes tolerance schema generation (sans tolerance values) and tolerance value allocation. This thesis aims to address the tolerance schema generation. To develop an automated tolerance schema synthesis toolset, to-be-toleranced features need to be identified, required tolerance types should be determined, a scheme for computer representation of the GD&T information need to be developed, sequence of control should be identified, and a procedure for creating datum reference frames (DRFs) should be developed. The first three steps define the architecture of the tolerance schema generation module while the last two steps setup a base to create a proper tolerance scheme with the help of GD&T good practice rules obtained from experts. The GD&T scheme recommended by this module is used by the tolerance value allocation/analysis module to complete the process of automated tolerance synthesis. Various test cases are studied to verify the suitability of this module. The results show that software-generated schemas are proper enough to address the assemblability issues (first order tolerancing). Since this novel technology is at its initial stage of development, performing further researches and case studies will definitely help to improve the software for making more comprehensive tolerance schemas that cover design intent (second order tolerancing) and cost optimization (third order tolerancing).