Design automation and woodworking with power tools – how do they compare?

Author: David de Koning, Head of Oasys Structural Products

Date published

8 March 2023

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Design automation and woodworking with power tools – how do they compare?

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Author

David de Koning, Head of Oasys Structural Products

Date published

8 March 2023

Author

David de Koning, Head of Oasys Structural Products

This blog explores the comparison between design automation and working with power tools and hand tools.

Read the full blog post here.

In woodworking, there is a tension between hand tools and power tools. Some enjoy the peace and tranquillity of working exclusively with human-powered tools, but the vast majority are hybrid workers, using both power tools and hand tools whenever each is most helpful to the work.

One difference between using hand tools and power tools when woodworking, is that when you are working with hand tools, most of your time is spent working directly with the project piece. There is a direct and continuous interaction between you and your creation. Whereas power tools introduce some distance; while you are still creating the project's pieces, much more of your time goes to setting up and tuning the tools and building jigs.

So why do people use power tools if they take us away from our projects? - Time. You spend 20 minutes setting up a cut that takes 10 seconds - but it might have taken an hour by hand.

The more sophisticated our design tools become, the more our time will resemble power tool woodworking. The percentage of our time spent directly on project deliverables will decrease, but we will still get them done faster (including tools creation, setup, and other overheads). If we are spending less time directly on projects, but are still doing our work faster, we can expect to see the bewildering juxtaposition of decreasing billability and consistent or increasing bottom-line profitability.

One outcome for design firms is that the key business metric will no longer be return on staff time (measured by billability) but return on the cost of the design platforms that the firm buys or develops.

The Oasys Structural suite includes comprehensive analysis and design programme, Oasys GSA which can help you achieve those outcomes effectively. With GSA you can combine the efficiency of power tools with the control and refinement of hand tools. The design layer gives you a high-level model that you can connect directly to BIM tools where you can specify the structural behaviour. You can then generate, check, and tweak the detailed analysis model which gives you the efficiency of working at an elevated level with power tools along with the transparency and control that comes with a traditional hand tool.
 



The ultimate power tool for structural design is parametric modelling. Oasys Structural APIs and Grasshopper plug ins allow you to add these parametric tools to your workflows all the while maintaining the checkability, you can check both the design and analysis models that are generated directly in the structural suite. This gives you the efficiency you need to evaluate thousands of models whilst keeping control over the quality of your final design.



The Oasys Structural is the tool kit that spans from powerful automation to refined workmanship to take your next projects to the next level.

 

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