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An eye on the Cloud: What does the next wave of CAD innovation look like?

Parametric design reloaded

Back in July 2016, I wrote about parametric design. Broadly speaking, this is where design meets coding.  Cloud computation is the perfect vehicle to launch large-scale parametric design. In that article, “Evolutionary theory: A paradigm shift in technology, growth, and engagement through CAD/CAM ,” I described some of the growing trends in CAD software and their applications. One of the areas I highlighted was parametric design.

 “This allows users to build CAD designs using simple logic code and varying input values. Take a cup, for example. The software allows you to break down its design features into any number of key design elements, including height, the thickness of the inside wall, degree of curve on the upper edge, and angle of flare from the bottom to the top. To build parametrically, each of those features is related to an input field, which is entered in a number box. Quite simply, the designer types in all the values regarding each of the cup’s key design features. With a couple of simple key strokes, the user can build their own cup.”

An example of parametric design and different design options. Photo courtesy Creative CADworks

With the power of cloud computation, parametric design has now made its way onto an e-commerce platform. Developers of this new design concept have told this author that with the power of cloud computation, they are able to deliver user-generated real-time designs. With the use of a series of tabs and input boxes, users can quickly design, change, and redesign models over a desktop, tablet, or mobile phone.

As with any potential business endeavour, greater amounts of available information and varying options lead to a better revenue stream. 

Therefore, these parametric designs can be further coded so users can be given estimated weights of the piece in a metal of their choice. In addition, more robust features could provide customers an estimated stone weight and varying prices for the finished piece with a variety of gemstone and diamond qualities.All of this would be provided in real time at the user’s leisure. 

Though this can never replace the CAD custom design business model, it does create a business opportunity for someone creating a branded line of jewellery, where key features of the brand are already set and are unmodifiable, but the variation in stone size, shape, or a number of other variables are changeable by the user. 

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