Tesla Lesson 4: Find the Design Guide

Over the last two weeks, I have been pulled into several design projects for the Model S battery pack. I’ve been charged with designing parts made of sheet metal, aluminum hex stock, silicone, etc.

At first, I was at a loss of where to start my designs and how to know the geometries I was generating in Catia were practical in the physical world. Then, I was re-introduced to the idea of the design guide. These design guides provided basic rules for designing features out of a certain material or process. I had seen them in school, but the practicality of them did not strike me until last week, when I needed them. Below is an example of several design guidelines for sheet metal parts.


Of course, these are not the limits of manufacturing capabilities, but they provide a good bound for normal processes. In talking to a screw machine vendor this week, I learned that they can work outside of the guidelines, but this usually requires trade-off in feature quality, tool life, cost, etc.

Main idea:
Many smart people have worked before me to establish and clearly communicate the reasonably bounds of fabrication processes. These standards should be observed and challenged when necessary, but never neglected, as a quality guy at Bosch once told me.


Tesla HR wanted some footage of a day in the life of an intern, so my room mate Tobi and I took them for a ride on our fun commute route:

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