In an ideal design process, designers envision a configuration of components prior to determining dimensions or sizes of these components. Given the breadth of suppliers and production methods that exist today, most engineered artifacts are a mix of both custom-made parts and OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts. The design of any future artifact must be carefully planned to take advantage of the diverse set of possibilities. We conjecture that computational design tools could be developed to help designers navigate the design space in creating configurations from detailed specifications of function. In this research, a methodology is developed that extracts design knowledge from an expanding online library of components in the form of grammar rules. From an initial implementation of forty-five rules compiled from 15 components extracted from three products, we demonstrate a computational process that builds a new design configuration by borrowing concepts from how common functions are solved in related designs.

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