Mechanical Design Spreadsheets

EnginExcel creates customised spreadsheets to help Mechanical Engineers to automate the design and sizing of machine components.

Being a Mechanical Engineer requires various skills. You need to be a good designer, which means being able to understand the requirements of a project and find how to fulfil them. This requires starting from an idea, then going through a 2D sketch, which is followed by a 3D cad design phase.

But this is not enough. The engineer is also required to have analytical skills, which help throughout the whole design process. You may need to define the machine targets (speed, timings, throughput), to calculate some simple components which have to be dimensioned to resist the forces caused by the load, or create an assembly and export a bill of materials (BOM) to be populated with the data needed for purchasing. Most of these actions can be done with pen, paper and a calculator. But if the tasks become more complicated and the number of calculations starts to grow, Excel is the right tool to change gear in the design process.

When I am at work I keep Excel open most of the time. It is very useful if I have to do a quick calculation, since it allows to see what you type, to record it and to edit the inputs to instantly update the results. Excel also saves me a lot of time when I have to record some data, since its structured nest of cells makes everything neat and easy to search. I also use Excel as a quick way of storing design data. For example, if I'm doing the purchasing of a component that I have designed, I'll list all the parts in one single spreadsheet, and use it to track all the data needed.

Excel has a lot more features which are unknown to the most but can be useful if someone wants to improve the productivity and automation of the design process. The spreadsheet capability can be drastically increased when starting to use VBA, which is always integrated with Microsoft Excel. This allows to create routines to perform more difficult calculations, ando also to set automated actions which have to be triggered by a certain event. Below are some examples of what could be created with it.

  • Servo motor and gearbox sizing (see example)
  • BOM (build of materials) creation and update
  • Dimensioning of components and automated transfer to CAD

Excel is filled with loads of functions and options that most of the users are not aware of. This makes it capable of doing (nearly) everything. EnginExcel helps Mechanical Engineering companies to create spreadsheets that provide the most value using these hidden structures and functionalities. I care to find the right functions and create the best custom routines that allow you to have a simple and functional spreadsheet to help you to improve your design work.

To see some examples of my work, visit my Free Material page.