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How do I draw and order a workpiece?

How do I work with teknow?

  • Find a suitable workpiece as a template

    If you are looking for a specific workpiece or just want to take a look at what other users have produced, click on “Design” (A) under “my teknow”. First a view opens with the list of your own workpieces:

    There is a search form (B) to find published workpieces from other users. In the form you can select the creator of the drawing (C): if you select, for example, “only others”, all published drawings by other creators will be displayed to you. You can narrow down the search result further by searching for a specific part name, a material group such as steel or aluminum, or a specific material such as AlMg3.

    After you have carried out the search, you will see the list of results on the left in the window:

    By clicking on one of the entries (D), the detailed view of the workpiece is displayed on the right in the window. You can now look at the drawing (E), and if the draft helps you, copy the drawing for you (F). The description, the material selection and the drawing file will then be transferred to your area. You can use the draft as the starting point for your own design, change the material or thickness, or reproduce it as it is. In the latter case, too, you have to open the drawing once in the drawing program to receive the price.

    How you adapt and produce a design, or implement your own design, is described below and on the help page for the drawing program (CAD).

  • Create a new workpiece

    To create, draw and order a new workpiece, click on “Design” (1) under “my teknow”. The following view opens:

    The options for the next possible steps are each highlighted in orange. When moving the mouse over the buttons or headings, a tool tip appears with a brief explanation. After clicking on “New” (2) a form (3) opens in which you enter the name and description of the workpiece. After saving, the view looks like this:

    Before you design the workpiece, you have to determine the manufacturing method, material and material thickness (4). When filling in, follow the orange markings again. To simplify the choice, we have already preset a standard material for the individual material groups (such as steel, aluminum, etc.). This fits the vast majority of applications. You will receive a brief description of your selection to help you find the best among the options. A detailed description of the manufacturing processes and materials can be found under “How it works”.

    The manufacturing rules depend on the manufacturing method and material selected. The teknow drawing program is now able to follow these rules. You can always return to the selection later and change the method or material – when you open the drawing again, the new rain will be loaded.

    After you have finished the selection, the form looks like this, for example:

    You can now draw your workpiece. To do this, open the teknow CAD editor (5). Alternatively, you can upload an existing dxf or dwg file, for example if you prefer to use your own CAD program for design. So that everything goes smoothly during the import, there are instructions here on what to watch out for. If something is unclear, you can use the “Support” button to ask us a question.

  • How to design the workpiece

    For the drawing functions, see “How does the drawing program work?” a separate help. When you have finished drawing your design, you can use the teknow wizard to check whether it can be produced or contains errors. If everything is in order and you want to find out the price of the workpiece, click on “save and close” (6) to return to the workpiece view.

  • How to order the workpiece

    After you have completed the drawing and closed the editor (6), you will return to the workpiece data page. The price for one, two, five, 10 and 50 parts is shown as examples, as well as the weight per part and the estimated delivery time. You can put the part in the shopping cart (7). You can set the desired number in the shopping cart (8), the unit price drops according to the quantity. You can also jump back to the drawing surface and make changes to the design, and then see the price again.

    You can find the link to the shopping cart under “my teknow”:

    You can view the drawing of workpieces that are in the shopping cart, but you can no longer edit them. If you want to edit the drawing again, you have to remove the workpiece from the shopping cart.

    The shipping costs are based on weight and dimensions. If the shopping cart contains workpieces with different production methods, several shipping items are usually displayed, as production does not take place at the same location. Postal address and billing address (9) are taken from your personal settings. You can overwrite both data sets for each shipment at this point.
    Please note: If your order is for a company or an institute, please fill in the “Company name” field, otherwise packages often do not arrive.

    In the bottom line you can see a summary of the costs. By clicking on “Order” (10) you will get to the payment page.

    Various payment methods are available here (11). After completing the payment process, we will create an order data record for you and send an email with a confirmation of receipt to your stored email address. That is not the order confirmation yet; this is also sent by email shortly afterwards, after a final feasibility check.

    You can see your orders on the order page, which can also be reached under “my teknow”.

    The upper field of the order page shows the master data of your order (12): order number, order date and expected delivery date. We change the status from “New” to “Processing” as soon as we start manufacturing the workpieces. A description field for notes can be found on the right. The field can also be read by the producer.

    We will create an invoice in PDF format, which you can download here (13). No paper invoices will be sent.

    As soon as the package is on its way, we enter the tracking ID (14). Clicking on the ID will take you to the deliverer’s website and receive the tracking information.

  • How to re-order a workpiece

    You can view the drawing for a workpiece that is in the shopping cart or that has been ordered (15), but you can no longer change it. If you want to order the workpiece identically or after a changed drawing, you can copy the data record. To do this, click the “Duplicate” button in the workpiece view (16).

    The material data and the drawing are adopted. You can edit the drawing and reorder the workpiece immediately or changed.

  • Edit personal data

    To view and edit your personal data, click on “My data” (17) in the menu bar at the top right under “my teknow”. The following view opens:

    You can choose between two versions of the teknow drawing program (18). A standard version with common functions is preset. If you want an extended range of functions, you can select “advanced”.

    Last name, first name, email address, login, password and language can be changed after clicking on (19).

    The billing address as it appears on the invoice is transferred to the shopping cart as a default setting when an order is placed and can be changed there for each order if necessary. The data preset at this point are retained. It is only necessary to enter a billing address (20) if it differs from the delivery address.

    For delivery, please note: If the shipment is going to a company, please fill in the “Company name” attribute. The postal address has an “Addition 1” field, please also fill this out if necessary for delivery.

    One of teknow’s main ideas is to share drawings and learn from one another. To give all users a little impetus to share drawings with others, there is a bonus system. If someone reproduces your workpiece, teknow will credit you with a bonus. The bonuses are automatically offset against the next order. Here you can find the balance of your bonuses (21): for which orders a bonus was applied, and for which of your workpieces that were reordered by other users you received a bonus for. The bonus is € 1.

  • How does the drawing program work?

    How does the drawing program (CAD) work

  • This is how the drawing program (CAD) works

    The central element of teknow is a web-based 2-D drawing program (CAD program). You use it to design your workpiece, and teknow creates a drawing file in the background. The drawing file is used directly in production to produce your workpiece. In addition, you can use the teknow wizard to check whether your design is ready for production. The wizard can automatically apply many manufacturing rules and calculate the price for a correct drawing.

    The functional scope of the basic version is adapted to the production task – 2D processing of sheet metal and plates – and to users who do not have to be CAD experts.

    This text describes some basic working techniques for the drawing program and the use of the teknow assistant. In the help, under the menu item “The CAD user interface“, it is described where you can find which functions. If you have not yet worked with a CAD program, you should first briefly familiarize yourself with the interface.

    If you are working with CAD software for the first time, you will come across some concepts that are not used in other programs or on websites. The first impression may be overwhelming, and not everything will seem intuitive to you. As a rule, a little practice with a trial part quickly brings a breakthrough. A mouse with a scroll wheel is very helpful for operation.

  • The CAD user interface

    You draw your workpiece in the teknow CAD editor. You have previously specified the manufacturing method and material in the workpiece form. These data serve as the basis for applying the manufacturing rules. When you open the CAD editor, you will see the following view:

    (1) The drawing palette with drawing functions
    The drawing palette contains the icons of the frequently used drawing functions for quick access. If you move the mouse over the symbols, the name of the tool appears.

    (2) The burger menu with further functions
    Additional tools can be found in the drop-down menu at the top of the toolbar. It is opened by clicking on the three lines. The “Dimensioning” submenu is opened up as an example.

    (3) The coordinate symbol is a visual reference in the drawing. It is displayed in the origin of coordinates if this is in the visible part of the graphics area, otherwise in the lower left corner of the graphics area. The coordinate symbol shows the position of the axes of the coordinate system.

    (4) The command line, it allows:
    -Call commands
    -Select command options
    -Select points and values
    -confirm a selection or command execution
    – Receive feedback, notices or warnings.
    Clicking on the double arrow on the right of the command window shows a history of the commands entered. You can move the command window on the drawing area at the three points on the far right

    The status bar is located at the bottom of the program window. It contains the following blocks:

    (6) The sheet register is located on the left in the status bar. The tabs show the drawing as a model and as layouts on sheets. The model is the area in which you draw and construct. A drawing has only one model. Sheets are layouts for printouts and contain views of the model, such as overview views or details, as well as additional elements such as drawing frames and legends (which are not part of the model). You can create numerous sheets. With the sheet manager (symbol on the far left) you can add, copy, delete, name and rename sheets.

    (7) Palettes and snap settings
    The palettes appear on the right edge of the drawing. Before using it, you have to minimize the wizard window, otherwise it will cover the pallet. The following pallets are available:
    – Properties Allows you to look up and set the properties of drawing elements. To do this, mark the drawing element with the mouse.
    – Layer A drawing can consist of several layers, each of which contains information of a certain category and, when placed one on top of the other, make up the entire drawing. For example, cutting lines (white) and engraving lines (yellow) are arranged on different layers. The wizard also moves drawing elements that it considers faulty to a backup layer (magenta). In the layer palette you can manage the layers, such as switching between visible and invisible.

    The snap functions are used to determine certain marked points of drawing elements such as end points or intersections of lines or centers of circles. They are used for commands that require a point to be specified (e.g. line or circle). If you approach a snapable point with the mouse, it will be marked in red. By clicking with the left mouse button, the exact point is snaped and thus, for example, the starting point of a new line.

    (8) At drawing options you will find tools that will make the geometric construction easier for you. How you use the functions is explained under Working techniques. You can turn the following features on and off:
    -Grid (grid display) The grid is a pattern of evenly spaced points to visualize proportions when drawing. You can turn the grid display off or on.
    -Ortho (orthogonal mode) Restricts pointer movements to axes that are parallel to the coordinate axis. The function simplifies drawing objects with right angles.
    -Polar (polar guidelines) The polar guidelines appear when the pointer is moved over an element snap point. The guidelines are then displayed starting from the element snap point. The angular gradation can be set by entering “polarang” in the command line (e.g. 45 °).
    -EFang (element snap) Here you can switch the element snap functions on or off completely. Element snap (EFang) ensure precision when clicking in the graphics area. The EFang options allow you to record precise construction points of the existing geometry (such as start and end points of lines or arcs, centers of circles or arcs, intersections, plumb points, tangents, etc.).
    -Etrack (element track guidelines) displays horizontal and vertical guidelines when moving the pointer over element snap points when element snap is on.
    -With LWeigth (line width) you can switch between a finer and stronger representation of the lines. The line width of the elements does not change when you zoom in or out of the drawing. Line widths do not represent real units in the drawing geometry, unlike e.g. in design programs.

    The current coordinates of the mouse pointer are displayed in the field to the right of the drawing options.

    (9) With save and close you leave the CAD editor and return to the workpiece view, for example to receive the price for a production-ready workpiece. The CAD program automatically saves your drawing from time to time as you work. You can also save manually, for example if your internet connection is not stable, by clicking on the floppy disk symbol at the bottom of the drawing palette.

  • How to work with CAD

    When creating the 2D drawing, you basically proceed in the same way as when you work with paper and pen, ruler and compass. You choose what you want to draw, such as rectangle, line, circle. The program asks you to define the start and end points and then draws the object. Entries are confirmed with “Enter”, “Esc” aborts the command. It is helpful to create the first few elements of the drawing by entering points on the command line to get the correct dimensions and geometry. If you then look at the elements on the screen, you also have an orientation about the proportions.

    Example: Click the “Rectangle” icon in the toolbar. The starting point is requested in the command line: 0,0. The coordinates in the x and y directions are separated by a comma when they are entered. Decimal separator is a point. After confirming the starting point, you will be asked to enter the opposite corner, e.g. 100,100. A square with a side length of 100 mm appears on the drawing area:

    You don’t have to start your drawing in the coordinate origin, any other point works as well. Experience has shown that the specification of further points is easier if you can refer to the origin.

    Points can be entered in absolute coordinates (example: 50,100) or in relative coordinates by writing an @ in front of the values (example: @ 50,100). If you enter relative coordinates as a starting value, e.g. when drawing a line, the program refers to the last point previously specified. In the example, it draws a line from the last specified point that runs 50 mm in the x direction and 100 mm in the y direction.

    Alternatively, positions in the drawing area can be clicked with the left mouse button to define points. However, it is then difficult to achieve the exact dimensions without further aids, such as the snap functions described below.

  • Snap points and trim lines

    If parts of the drawing geometry already exist, new elements can be attached to them. The snap functions are used for this. If you call up a drawing function that queries a point, and you approach a snapable point of the existing drawing with the mouse pointer, this is marked in red and the type of point is displayed (end point, center point, tangent, etc.).

    You determine which points can be caught in the element snap settings. The snap functions are a central element when working with the drawing program.

    Another important tool when drawing is the trim functions. When the geometry is built up from drawing elements such as circles or rectangles, superfluous lines may arise temporarily, which are then “trimmed” (= cut out). The trim function first asks the edges that are being cut. Once all the cutting edges have been clicked, the input is confirmed, and then the lines that are to be removed are clicked. This is what a drawing looks like with the cut edges selected:

    The bottom half of the circle and the line through the circle are now removed by clicking on them. Then the drawing looks like this:

    In order to be able to estimate the distances in the drawing, a grid can be set. The grid is a pattern of evenly spaced points. It is used for orientation with regard to the proportions when drawing. The grid is not part of the drawing and does not appear in printouts. The grid spacing can be set by entering “grid” in the command line, so that the grid is also displayed outside the drawing limits. In the case of a very large section of the drawing, the grid is hidden, since otherwise only grid points would be visible.

  • Zoom & other functions

    Use the mouse’s scroll wheel to enlarge or reduce the drawing. The zoom function has to be practiced a little as a beginner: the location of the mouse pointer is taken as the origin towards which the drawing contracts or expands. Therefore the result can be influenced by the position of the mouse pointer. You can move the drawing by zooming in, then moving the mouse position to the desired detail, and zooming in. Further functions for zooming can be found in the toolbar.

    To mark several elements, you can draw a frame with the mouse. If you drag the frame from left to right, all elements that are completely within the frame will be marked. If you drag from right to left, all elements that are only partially in the frame will also be selected.

    You can add dimensions to your drawing. You can find the functions at the top of the toolbar in the drop-down menu. The snap functions are used to position the dimension lines exactly. These dimensions are not required for production, they are based on the CAD file.

    In addition to the drawing functions with which you create the geometry, there are a number of functions to change the geometry. You can also find these functions under Modify in the drop-down menu. Most often, functions for copying, moving, rotating or mirroring elements are required. Patterns, in particular, can be created quickly this way.

    Save: teknow automatically saves your drawing form time to time. There is also a manual save button that should be used occasionally if the internet connection is not stable.

  • teknow wizard

    For each production method there are production rules that can also depend on the material and the material thickness. With the teknow wizard you can check your drawing and change it so that it is ready for production. For this reason, teknow asks the manufacturing method and material in advance – otherwise the wizard would not be able to determine the appropriate rule set. But you can always go back to the selection and change the method or material – when you open the drawing again, the new rain will be loaded.

    These are the main functions of the wizard:

    (1) Check design:
    Checks whether your drawing is ready for production. If so, teknow shows a preview of the part in green to the right of your drawing. If not, teknow marks errors with red markings. Details that can be produced, but may not be of optimal quality, are highlighted in yellow. Use the function “Repair drawing” or “Scroll” to look through the points one by one.

    (2) Repair errors:
    Tries to automatically fix any errors in the drawing. Duplicate elements are deleted, small gaps in the contour are closed, and impermissible curve functions such as splines are converted. Remaining errors must be corrected with the “Scroll” function or directly in the drawing.

    (3) Optimize drawing:
    Tries to reduce the number of line elements by connecting lines. This is sometimes useful for imported drawings.

    (4) Smoothen drawing:
    Smooths out noisy contours, such as those often created in drawings from converted scans. The function is not intended for technical drawings.

    (5) Purge issues:
    Deletes the messages generated by the “Check drawing” function.

    (6) Toggle isues:
    Temporarily hides or shows the messages generated by the “Check drawing” function.

    (7)  Browse:
    calls up the points found by the wizard one after the other, gives explanations and hints and, if possible, makes suggestions for manual or automatic elimination of the problems.

    (8) Info:
    The wizards’s messages appear here

    (9) Tools:
    Access special drawing tool pages, such as B. for threads, countersinks or bevels. Here is a separate help page for the drawing tools.

    The following example shows a base plate with different holes, an overlapping rectangular contour on the right that intersects the contour of the base plate, and an unconnected line within the central hole.

    A click on “Check drawing” gives the following feedback:

    In the wizard window you will find a legend for the points found, here for example “Free points”, these are the end points of lines that end without a connection, or “Intersecting contours” in the case of the rectangle. You can now edit the marked elements manually, for example trim the rectangle as shown above, or delete it. Alternatively, the wizard can independently try to make the drawing producible. To do this, click on “Repair errors”. Deleted elements are moved to a backup layer (line color magenta). In our case, the result looks like this:

    The disconnected line within the central hole could be removed automatically. If this is not desired in an individual case, you can mark the element with the mouse and assign it to the active layer using the properties palette. The rectangle that intersects the contour could not be automatically deleted because the assistant cannot decide which is the “correct” geometry of your workpiece – do you want to manufacture the rectangle or the rest? You can delete the rectangle by hand, trim it if you want the base plate to have an indentation or bulge there, or use the “Browse” function for troubleshooting, as shown below. A click on “Start” in the “Browse” line opens the following page:

    The wizard shows an enlarged section of the drawing with the highlighted error. Also, the wizard indicates the type of error (overlapping contour), provides an explanation and instructions on what to do to rectify the problem. Below, you will find possible options for how the error can be corrected automatically. Here you can delete the marked contour at the push of a button. In addition, you can use the “All” function to remove all the same errors at once. Here in the example we click on “Remove: current”. The wizard then jumps to the next error, the too small hole.

    In addition to “Delete”, there is also the option of automatically enlarge the diameter to the minimum that can be produced, or of replacing the hole with a marking cross (cross as laser inscription, see the following picture below). Here, too, there is again the option of clearing up all errors of the same type in one action.

    The drawing can contain elements that do not stand in the way of production, but which may not be producible in optimal quality. This mainly applies to small bores or fine web-like structures. In these cases, the wizard gives warnings marked in yellow to indicate small bores or small webs near the manufacturing limit.

    These fine details may tarnish when cutting with the laser due to the effect of the heat, very small structures can melt, and the edges of the holes may be somewhat frayed. Here you can decide whether you want to produce the workpiece as drawn – possibly accepting the effects mentioned – or rather change the details. You can find help with the decision here. In the example this concerns the hole in the picture above. Like the errors, you can also scroll through the warnings and you will be shown options again.

    When the wizard no longer reports any errors, the drawing is in a producible state. The workpiece preview in green is then displayed on the left. By clicking on “Close and Save” in the upper right corner of the window, you will return to the workpiece form. The price will be displayed and you can continue with the ordering process.

  • teknow Wizard: tools

    At the bottom of the wizard window, additional processing steps can be selected in addition to the manufacturing process (e.g. laser cutting), which are combined into modules. The choice depends on the manufacturing process.

    The following are available for laser cutting:

    “Featured holes” module: You get to the module page by selecting “Featured Holes” and then clicking “Open”.

    Here you can insert tapped holes, countersinks and through holes matching the thread into your drawing. Select the type of hole in the first selection field (1). In the second field you can select the thread diameter (2). The corresponding thread, the countersink that matches the selected thread or the appropriate through hole is then created. After clicking on “Add” (4) you enter the coordinates in the command line as usual, or you can catch a point in the drawing.

    If the thread diameter cannot be produced for your sheet metal thickness, the wizard will output an error. In this case you can change the sheet metal thickness or adjust the thread diameter. The third field (3) enables further correction options: “Cut” is preset, which means that the core hole is cut with the laser as standard. In the case of small holes in certain materials, the laser-cut core hole is unsuitable for thread cutting; the wizard shows an error. Here you can try to drill the core hole by selecting “Drill”. This is a bit more expensive because it is handcrafted. If the thread cannot be produced even then, there is a further option “Mark”: then a marking cross is created as laser inscription at the point of the hole. You can then make the thread yourself at the marked position, for example with threads below M3, which we do not offer.

    In the case of the countersink, the wizard outputs an error if the countersink is deeper than the sheet metal thickness.

    For laser cutting, further tool modules for bending and a multi-part mode (so that you no longer need a drawing for each part) are in preparation.

  • Projects


  • Create a project

    The “project” helps you to organize the production of a more complex product. Products consist of several or many workpieces that are assembled into a unit at the end. You create a new project by clicking on “NEW” (1) on the workpiece page (under “my teknow / design”) and selecting “Project” in the pop-up window (2). (You can alternatively create a folder here to organize workpieces that have no structural connection.) Enter the name and a short description of the project. The new project appears in the tree view on the left (3).

    There are two types of drawings available to you on the project:

  • Construction drawings

    Construction drawings

    After you have saved the project, you can create construction drawings (4). You can draw your design directly in the teknow CAD editor or import a file in dwg or dxf format from another source (5). You can download your drawing in dwg format as long as it is not a copied draft.

    Unlike the workpiece drawing, the construction drawing can contain any number of parts. You draw an overview of your product, with detailed views, perhaps with alternative solutions, and if necessary auxiliary drawings – as usual with CAD. You can divide the entire product into several construction drawings. In contrast to the workpieces, there are no production rules that have to be observed, and the teknow wizard is not available.

  • Workpiece drawings

    In order to produce the individual workpieces of your product, you mark the desired part geometry in your construction drawing (6). With the right mouse button you call up the context menu and create a workpiece (7) using the “Create workpiece” function. Enter a name and, if desired, a description in the command window (8).

    The new workpieces are then automatically created in the tree structure for your project (9).

    You can define viewing rights for your project (10). You can upload pictures, requirement descriptions, assembly instructions and other documents, as well as enter comments, for example on the version history of the design.

  • Manufacture workpieces for your project

    To manufacture the workpieces for your project, click on the name in the tree structure (11). Then the workpiece page opens in the window on the right.

    The assignment to a project is displayed (12) – here you can also assign the workpiece to another project or a folder. As usual with workpieces, you select the processing method and material (13). Clicking on “Edit” (14) opens the editor with the drawing that you have taken from your construction drawing.

    The workpiece drawings may only contain a part. The teknow witard is available to you to help you comply with the production rules. For a workpiece drawn in accordance with the rules, teknow shows the price and you can order it as usual.

  • Find a suitable project as template

    To find a suitable template for a new project, click on the “Projects” menu item under “teknow Community”. You will then see an overview of the existing construction reports from teknow users. You can limit the results using the categories or the search. Click on the picture to open the construction report. If you are logged in, you will usually find a link to the project drawings on the construction report.

  • Construction report

    You can create and publish a construction report for your project (15) so that the report and the drawings are available for other users to replicate or as a suggestion.

    A page opens on which you can enter a title picture (16) and a summary description text (17) for a brief overview. So that other users can find the project more easily, you assign it to a category.

    After saving, you will see your project in your personal project overview under “my teknow / projects” and under “teknow community”.

    By clicking on the picture you get to the main view of the project. Here you can add additional contributions to document the progress of the project in pictures and text.