CAD File Naming Convention

Looking for advice and examples of CAD file naming conventions. Our team is going to be using GrabCAD for file management. We plan to have about 10 team members working on CAD and a standard naming convention will go a long way to keeping things organized.

I had not previously heard of GrabCAD but their website looks pretty interesting. Have you used them before? Do they have a student version or do you use a paid plan?

As for naming conventions, they can very quite a bit. A lot of teams use a combination of their team #, the year, a sub-assy reference, and a part #. We would add initials of the creator so everyone knew who “owned” the part. Sometimes they just get named with a description. A good way to see what other teams do is to download their CAD files and have a look at all the part numbers that make up the assembly.

No, we have never used it before. It was referred to by FIRST this year:

This is what we use. We will be modifying it this year to contain more information about what the part actually is, but the numbering will still be retained.

All part numbers get checked out of a part management system when a part is created, to ensure continuity.

When I was on 1687, we used 1687-YYYY-SSM-M-xxxx – description. For example: 1687-2014-SPS-S-0041 – rear 3d gusset. We will likely be bringing this system to 5400 this year.

YYYY: year
SSM: A three letter code indicating subsystem. The folder hierarchy used meant that in each folder, every part would share the same subsystem.
M: A one letter code indicating the initial manufacturing technique used for the part. Other special identifiers included "A"for assembly and “C” for COTs,
xxxx: a four digit unique identifier (really could have been 3, or even 2 digits)
description: a concise descriptor of the part’s role or design.

The order worked well, since when sorted alphabetically, it would automatically filter by manufacturing technique

If I recall, this was closely derived from 148’s system.

We were also quite meticulous about keeping drawing files and part metadata up to date, so that information such as designer, quantities, materials, etc. would remain up to date and easily accessible in our title blocks.

We use SolidWorks Workgroup PDM to manage our CAD files. All of our CAD files have part numbers for names. Our part number scheme is as follows: IR[YY]-[AA]-[PPP] for parts that we manufacture ourselves, where [YY] is the 2-digit year, [AA] is a sequential field for assembly number, and [PPP] is a sequential field for part #s. I’m working on implementing an IR-number for vendor parts as well, since we won’t have a “00” year any time soon, I can reserve IR00-[TT]-[PPP] for any COTS items, where [TT] is a sequential field indicating a “type” of part, such as bolts, nuts, gears, etc. We can then keep a spreadsheet correlating part numbers to vendor parts. I’m also working to get all of the COTS parts we have in our FRC library on our PDM server. The COTS separation allows us to reuse CAD models of common COTS items from year to year without having multiple part numbers for the same part. If we decide to actually inventory stuff, there is a unique part number that it is assigned to.

We use this method as well. I like it a lot.

We add a description after the part number in the file name. This helps when you are trying to read the assembly tree and find a part.

971-14-A-0400_Octagonal Drivebase.sldasm
971-14-P-0020_Center Axle Holder.sldprt
971-14-P-0031_Belly Pan.sldprt

We also revision our drawings when we send them out, and check in all drawings sent out for manufacture to our repository. That way, when a sponsor gives us a part back, we know exactly which drawing it was manufactured to.

971-14-P-0002-A_1in Wheel Rim.PDF
971-14-P-0002-B_1in Wheel Rim.PDF

I should also note that our team uses a custom SolidWorks template that has custom property fields to fill out (such as part description). When that is filled out, you can set up Workgroup PDM to display it alongside the filename (as well as who has it checked out).