Recycling isn't just good for the environment, it's also critical in design. As design engineers we are continually trained to reuse parts in new designs. For fasteners and hardware this is relatively easy in most companies.
For fabricated parts, it's another matter. Most designers will make a half hearted effort to locate existing parts. You know the drill. Ask your coworkers if they have ever seen a similar part before. Open a few files that look promising. No Luck? No time to waste. Create a new part. And the inventory of parts keeps growing.
What if there were a search engine for part shapes?
Kenneth Wong of esktop Engineering has an excellent article on CADseek from iSeek that discusses shape based search.
To read the article, click on the link below: