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16 Mar 2017, 17:02

DesignSpark Mechanical for Architecture & Construction - PART 1

This content piece explores design applications in architecture (domestic and commercial) and construction for DesignSpark Mechanical (DSM).

CAD software like DesignSpark Mechanical, that are based on direct modelling carry their own set of merits: reduce training costs, faster design & prototyping and liberty to experiment !

Unlike many other software which have dedicated add-ons for BIM, Multiphysics, system simulations, etc., DSM is a simple & comprehensive 3D modelling package which empowers the aspiring architect or non-CAD specialist to quickly create mock-ups of their ideas for startup investment proposals or the end market.

In the following two examples, we pick up 2 floor plans (an industrial warehouse one and another domestic 1BHK apartment) and then build a 3D structure on top, complete with walls & storage products. The resultant model can be shared digitally (in 3D PDF) with project contractors for feedback or can be 3D printed to present as a prototype to collaborators.

PART 1 - Industrial warehouse:

Most warehouses now incorporate a system of conveyor belts to transport an item from rack to the vehicle for loading/un-loading. In DSM, you can use the free CAD models from ‘Storage & Material handling’ library to set up a series of racks and conveyor rollers which are associated with RS Components stock numbers and help you build an interactive BoM for indicative project costs.  

Note that this example is only a proof of concept and objects/components shown are not to scale.

Below are images and a video documenting the design journey:

  1. You start off by importing a floor plan (hand sketched or digitally rendered) and if available, the elevation views. Here we import a PNG for a simple warehouse cum delivery depot.

Image Courtesy:

2. Start off by sketching an outline to mark out the outer frame of the building.

3. At this point, I began researching and compiling a list of products for a draft Bill of Materials.

I needed some conveyor rollers, belts, reversible motor to drive the belt, set of storage racks and a ventilation unit (DC axial fan)

RS Components and Allied Electronics (North America only) stock a wide range of these products across material handling, storage, automation & control gear categories.

3D Models for these products are available via the built-in library and can be easily integrated into an open project. Look for this button in the software:

4. Next, a basic frame for the conveyor platform was built to hold the rollers and the belts.

5. The 3D models for each product was scaled down to fit the constraints of the prototype. Actual measurements can be fed into the drawing sheet annotations*.

6. Here’s something to note when you group multiple 3D models from the library. Make sure to right click the group name in the structure tree and click ‘add to Bill of Materials’:

7. The final step would be to create your Bill of Materials by clicking ‘top level’ for parts info (this makes your table smaller)

For a full tutorial on creating BoMs in DSM, see here:

To get a project cost estimate with the items for purchase, click on BOM Quote.

If you have a collaborator you need to share a digital mock-up with, export your project as a 3D PDF and share.

If you would like to share the formatted drawing, export the project as a DXF to share with your project contractor.


*the Drawing functionality is available for purchase separately as an add-on [RS stock: (852-3015) ]

Make sure to take advantage of the extended 3D CAD model catalog (includes BIM objects for Architecture & Infrastructure projects) from TraceParts as an exclusive access for DSM users. Click here after launching the model library page in DSM (as in point 3 above).

Products in use:




DC AXIAL FAN (263-7777)

One Pole ON-OFF CAM switch (840-5608)


Project design file - *industrial.RSDOC*

3D PDF - *industrial.PDF*


READ ON.. Part 2: 


A curious mind with a passion for 3D CAD & rapid prototyping.

16 Mar 2017, 17:02