Software to support the solution generation phase of the engineering design process has been developed in academia for decades. Computational synthesis software enables generation of solutions on both conceptual and embodiment level. This paper focuses on the class of parametric design, such as documented in mechanical engineering handbooks. Examples include machine elements such as bearings, springs, fasteners, transmissions, etc. A parametric synthesis tool automates the engineering design process from functional requirements to quantified solutions, for a single machine element. Since the amount of machine elements is vast and software development time should be low, a generic methodology is helpful to speed up this process. This paper discusses such a methodology to develop synthesis tools for the class of parametric designs. It includes an analysis-oriented approach to formalize the design process’ parameters in terms of embodiment, performance and scenario. Mathematical constraint solving techniques are used to generate candidate solutions. Graphical presentation and exploration of the solution space is done with interactive plots. A standardized layout for the graphical user interface is suggested to allow uniform and intuitive use. A demonstrator is developed using the described methodology and several challenges are discussed for improved constraint solving techniques, more advanced visualization and handling problems with higher complexity. Although small in size, parametric design processes are time consuming due to their reoccurring nature. Developing synthesis tools for these designs will allow engineers to save time and improve design quality.

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