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Getting CAD Simulation-Ready: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

By Marshall Williams 03 June 2021

Do your simulation optimization experiences ever feel something like Clint Eastwood in The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly?CAD Optimization

Let us introduce you to the actors in this tale of web-based FEA optimizing time, minimizing costs, and opening up your team to unlimited compute power on-demand, using private cloud supercomputers.


The Ugly

Much like the back and forth between architects and construction workers, engineers often have to balance innovation and form. This means most geometry models aren’t created with simulation in mind. 

After tedious sharing of files and edits made every step of the way, we usually end up with extraneous components and levels of unnecessary complexity in our models. Small modeling errors can lead to simulation issues, from meshing through to results. 

This makes testing a total headache. Your team’s time and computing power end up going down the drain. 

Don’t worry, Solve finds issues before they blow up, and we’ve got tips for making the most out of OnScale Solve.


The Good

With OnScale Solve and a few techniques, you can run simulations that cut your workflow time by 10 times or more! We abstract away the complexities of old-school FEA tools, using sophisticated geometry analysis and automated meshing algorithms built on the latest web and cloud technologies. 

After all,CAD LivingWe’ll waste no time. Though, if you’ve got some extra time, we suggest looking at our full webinar on this topic.


Here’s how to get your CAD simulation ready

As we all know, designs start in a CAD software. We recommend OnShape for the simplest integration into OnScale Solve. This also ensures you fully maximize your time with the power of web-based UI.



When it comes to meshing, simulations hate interference and overlapping of elements. Make sure the parts in your assembly, especially at joints, aren’t bumping into each other. You can find these most commonly at places where two pieces connect. Whether a series of mis-sized bolts, or an arm rotating a bit too far, you can usually spot these easily. 

Furthermore, this general degree of freedom-of-motion in CAD software really muddles the meshing process if not addressed. 

Additionally, the same goes for incredibly thin parts. Things like mounting plates for instance. Generating a mesh for such pieces does not go smoothly. When it comes to simulation, these can be replaced with simple constraints and loads once you’ve imported your CAD into Solve. 

OnShape makes spotting trouble areas particularly easy with interference detection, showing you the points where you have problems. 


CAD Defeaturing

Though most of the time every part serves a purpose in your design, not all of them need to go into a simulation. In fact, these extraneous parts only add extra time to your simulation study. Removing unnecessary components, ones that won’t directly impact the simulation study results, will drastically cut down your model complexity. Best of all, the resulting savings in solve time and cost will make it easy to run multiple simulations with different loading conditions. 

Undeniably, every software goes about this differently. In OnShape you utilize configurations to defeature your model, and you can easily switch between these configurations. From our experience, this workflow comes most naturally. 

Do this, and you’ll be ready to import into Solve with no need to bounce between CAD and simulation softwares! 


CAD-Simulation Optimization, It’s That Simple

Believe it or not, just with these two concepts, we took a model with 250k elements, using 0.32 Core-Hours to simulate, to a model with 70k elements, using 0.02 Core-Hours. Best of all, you can get even better results. 

So make an account today and try Solve! We’ve got mechanical, thermal, and CFD functionalities all baked into a delightful and intuitive experience from beginning to end for your convenience. 

Simulate for Free with OnScale Solve™

Marshall Williams
Marshall Williams

Marshall Williams is a Digital Marketing Intern for OnScale. He's a student of AeroSpace Engineering and Economics at Georgia Tech, with experience in growth focused copywriting, specializing in marketing for startups and nonprofits.

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