Design intent can be a tricky topic. I’ve heard some people argue that there is no such thing. I myself have tried to rename it “Design For Change”, because I think that makes more sense. In any case, it’s pretty clear that with history-based modeling systems, the best you can say for design intent is that you need to see into the future to establish it, and into the past to use it.
It turns out that Design Intent could be the most powerful aspect of Synchronous Technology. With your typical history-based model, you have to understand how the model was built to understand how it’s gonna react to changes. With Synchronous Technology, you determine the design intent at the time you make the change.
Here’s a simple example. I want to widen this clevis part. I can do that in several ways (listed left to right):
- move the lower vertical face sideways
- move the vertical and angled faces sideways
- move the vertical face and tilt the angled face
- move the vertical face by adding a step
These 4 different types of changes would require changes to the design intent scheme in a history-based system, but in SE w/ST, you can change between the options on the fly by either selecting an additional face or by changing an option in the active Command Bar.
When you started this project, how did you know which of these methods you were going to use? You probably had no idea. So when it came time to make the change, you had to revisit the sketch, and either re-dimension it, or you may have had to delete and recreate features to get it to change the way you need.
Here’s another way to ask the question. Have you ever limited your options for design change to fit your model’s design intent? This is the cheap way out, but don’t deny it. I know I’ve done it. Rather than go back and rework something, I’ve accepted a result that wasn’t ideal.
You don’t really need a crystal ball to look forward or backward in time. All you need is Synchronous Technology to enable you to determine design intent at the time when you make the change.