Part nomenclature for COTS gear CAD library

I am making a CAD library of every AM/VP/WCP gear and have heard mixed signals regarding file names. Some people have said just using part numbers is the best way to name a file since it makes finding the part on the AM/VP/WCP websites faster, and others have said having an easily understood naming system that shows the tooth count, bore, and manufacturer would make it quicker and easier to find the gear you want without having to memorize numbers. I agree with both statements.

What would you all suggest as the most user-friendly system?

Currently, I’ve adapted a combination of both, where the file name is a system that describes the gear, and inside the library folder is a text file that matches my file names with their respective part numbers, but I have received some feedback saying that that is too complex.

I appreciate all suggestions, and look forward to releasing this library to the public within the next day or so when I finish.

Why not use both?

For example, A-tooth-bore-part number could be a given AndyMark gear (AM also uses AM-XXXX as their part numbers, so that could be used instead of having a separate manufacturer tag). Using a W or a V instead of an A could denote WCP or VEXPro, respectively.

So, if I was looking for a 20 tooth gear to fit on a CIM, I’d look at the 2nd number and the third number, then look at the 1st for manufacturer and 4th for ordering.

I like your system.

When I use CAD, I normally just name the gears 64tg.sldprt or something similar, which can get messy quickly. What you suggest seems a lot better.

Use descriptive names over part numbers for the filenames; it’s much easier to remember and identify parts.

Yes, I agree with using both. In the 846 CAD subversion repository, a lot of our library files for gears and other parts have a readable name with the part number appended at the end. It’s easy to understand, and has the part number to look up if needed.

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I generally design very specialized components such as gearboxes or drivetrains that include a lot of machined parts, just to see if an idea is feasable. As a result, I keep things organized for myself, but without part numbers (not that many COTS parts, you see). For example, I have a “gears” folder which has inside of it folders for “20p”(20 pitch), “24p”, “32p”, “metric” (usually 1 module), “sprockets”, and “pulleys”. Inside the “20p” folder I have gears labled as, say, “18t 20p 0.5in hex” to denote the pitch, tooth count and bore. This usually makes each gear unique when I copy them to other folders. I just keep things organized by name for regular parts, although I would rather have parts in folders by manufacturer for ease of use when I make things for the team.

For machined parts, part numbers all the way.

I would include part numbers in the file names.

Its so much easier as a user to just search for files of the part I want, plus later on if I actually make whatever assembly I have the part numbers right there to copy-paste. I usually have a short description of the part, with the part number on the end. Example: CIM Motor VEXPRO-217-2000

Something that I’ve pitched to the other mentors on our team and might be going with next year is having a subset of our part numbering scheme just for COTS parts. Our standard numbering scheme we used last year was IRYY-AA-SPP.

YY - year
AA - System Assembly (i.e. Drivebase, manipulator, etc)
s - Subassembly
pp - Part

I’d like to continue to use this for all manufactured parts, but for COTS parts, I’d like to use:


TT - Type (Gearboxes, gears, sensor, etc.)
PPP - Part #

Everything is sequential (both manufactured and COTS). Then we can just use an Excel spreadsheet (or Google doc) to cross reference our part number with vendor and manufacture part number.

That way, when we specify a ball shifter, we don’t have a new part number year after year, we just have a single part number that we can use.

Last year was the first of a new year for us using PDM and part numbering schemes, so we’re experimenting with what works for us.

Adam has a pretty comprehensive library that I began with when I started with the team a few years ago. Since then, I’ve added multiple things in. This entire library nomenclature was/is standardized by the part name/description. For example, I have Socket Head Cap Screws in the fasteners folder under SHCS with the corresponding bolt lengths and then, in some instances, thread lengths. Another example would be gears that I have (60 Tooth .500 Bearing 20DP Dog Gear)

I think that if you’re trying to name things, keep it to what is universally known or if anything, provide a significant amount of documentation as to how parts were named. I’d prefer the former rather than the latter since I currently use that method and it works well for me.

EDIT: Part number addition for retailers would certainly be useful. Just as long as the file name isn’t extremely long.

Not sure about Solidworks or Inventor, but Creo has two fields when you create a part: common name and file name. When I create parts I use the common name as a descriptive name and the file name as the part number/machine name. I also store manufacturer part numbers and specs as parameters in model. All that is searchable so it makes it pretty easy to find whatever COTS part I’m looking for. I’d also be curious to hear about how 525 does this because their CAD work consistently blows me away.

In terms of ease of identifying known parts, folders by company followed by part numbers is probably the best solution. In terms of ease of design with unknown parts, sorting by gear DP, then listing the tooth count (easy to sort by), manufacturer, bore, and I guess overall width (is every AM gear .4 or .6? every vex gear is .5) would probably be the best way to do it. So there’s some conflict here.

Personally I don’t really have brand loyalty when it comes to gears, so I’d want a system that just lists all of my options in the same place. I’d rather not have to dig through a series of folders like AndyMark -> 20 DP -> .375 Hex -> 14T just to find a pinion. Folders just by gear DP narrow down the options without hiding anything potentially viable.

So I guess my ideal system would be folders for gear type (20 DP, 32 DP, Specialty [worm, bevel]) and then a big custom identifying name. Part numbers would be nice if I could learn anything about the gear at all from them, but in this context it’s not that helpful for anything but the end of the process when I want to buy stuff.

So, for example, in the 20 DP folder:
21T-AM-375H-588 would correspond to this gear. The gear has 21 teeth, a 3/8 hex bore, and .588 overall thickness.

48T-Vex-500HVK-500 would correspond to Vex PN 217-3218. This is a 48T gear with 1/2 hex bore, VersaKeys, and .500 overall width.

This probably could be improved on, but this is what I would find most convenient for myself. Others’ mileages may vary.

This is very similar to what it’s shaping out to be.

From everyone’s advice, it is organized in the following manner:

-Solidworks or STEP files
–20DP Gears
–32DP Gears
–Special Gears (odd DPs, worm gears, etc.)

After taking advice from a large amount of sampled individuals, the naming is coming to look like a combination of tooth count, bore type, manufacturer, and part number.

The current naming system is is:


So, for example, the Solidworks file of an 11 tooth CIM pinion from VexPro is titled: 11.CIM.VP217-3107.sldprt

Of course this can be tweaked, but I don’t want the file names to be getting too long.