With the increasing demand for customized products, providing your customers with a web-based and easy-to-use configurator for your product is profitable in many ways. Instant quotations, significantly reduced strain on the sales and engineering personnel, and high-quality input for manufacturing are just some of the benefits!
Why start with a template?
So, what is the best way to get your configurator up and running? By starting from a template! A good template (also called boilerplate, starter, or seed) contains all the basic structure and code for running a simple configurator. Instead of writing all of this yourself, you can start from a copy of the template and start modifying it to fit your needs. By adopting this workflow, you both save time and learn a lot from reading and working with the source code developed by experts.
The greenhouse template
Below you can see our Customizable Greenhouse template! While it is a relatively simple configurator, it makes a great starting point for box-shaped products of various sizes and looks. Cabins, carports, sheds, barns, and garages are examples of products where this template would be helpful.
From greenhouse to shed
In the example below, we have changed the material from glass panels to galvanized steel, lowered the angle of the roof, and reduced the max-width of the panels. With three quick modifications, we now have an excellent foundation for our galvanized metal shed configurator!
Many templates to choose from
There are many different starting templates available for DynaMaker, and we have listed a few of them on this page. If you find one you would like to use or need help finding a suitable one, send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll get you up and running in no time!
A DynaMaker template project that generates a motor bracket that fits the NEMA standard for stepper motors. With very few inputs the user can modify the installation size and picking the right standard without having to know anything about the NEMA specifications.
You can navigate the model with middle and left mouse button.
Does this template look useful to you? Contact us at email@example.com and we can get you started with this!
This is one of many template projects available for a quick start with customization in DynaMaker. Its a simple one step configurator that enables parametric customization of a green house with automated CAD exports. See video below for example of how it could work for your e-commerce!
Developing web applications containing both parametric CAD and product visualization in 3D requires three things to work properly.
Requirements for an online CAD configurator:
A Client side module with support for CAD that the users interacts with
A Server side module that hosts the application and provides additional functionality like authentication, save / load, etc.
A set of rules and formulas for the product configuration
We recommend our cloud service DynaMaker to handle all those three in a single platform. But the principles stated here apply no matter what platform you choose.
Part 1 – Client Side Module
The client side mainly focuses on:
How the interface should look (placement of buttons, toolbars)
What the user can interact with (buttons, rotation of model, etc)
What steps are needed to configure a product
Visualization in 2D or 3D
Presentation of relevant data to the user (dimensions, values)
Part 2 – Server Side Module
To make thing available on the web you need some kind of server to host the files and provide protected functionality like user handling, security, saving and loading a configuration, connections with other software, and much more. This is only exposed to the client side through an API and can be composed of pretty much any programming language available.
Developing the server side is hard and requires an experienced developer to ensure that its secure, can handle load and is possible to maintain over time. The server side is handled automatically in the DynaMaker cloud service.
Part 3 – Product Rules & Formulas
Last but not least you need a set of rules for your product configurator to work. Maybe you already have them written down in the product catalog? Or expressed in a excel sheet somewhere. These need to be translated to web compatible formulas and code (Client side or server side).
The rules and formulas can be distributed either to the server side module (secret formulas) or the client side module (compiled but available), or both, depending on how the product configuration is setup.
If you want code examples on how this can be setup on the DynaMaker you can check out the tutorials under docs.dynamaker.com
Building a online tool for just switching predetermined sizes is easy. Add a few 3D-models with some nice textures and suddenly you have very visual way for the customers to test different sizes.
But from that simple product picker you can then allow export of 2D-drawings with dimensions, open up for patterns of multiple panels, and allow different downloads for adding to your own 3D-projects. Endless possibilities!
Send us some links with your preferred sizes and we will set you right up with a solar panel online configurator from one of our templates.
The DynaMaker have lots of templates and projects to start from when setting up a 3D configurator on your homepage. One template is for configuring profiles and creating BOM-lists with customized cutting lengths. Let the customer select and add their profiles and automatically create packages of 3D files (.stl, .step) and bom-lists.
Sounds interesting? Send us a set of dxf files of the profiles you want to configure to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will setup your own version of this configurator and show you how to integrate it with your current homepage!
Summer is closing in here in the north and what could be better than to plan for stimulating wood working projects?
Of course you first need an online tool to interact and explore the parametric possibilities and auto generate all the material lists and drawings. Just hammering away wont do it any more.
A quick glance at a recent open project on the DynaMaker platform shows how you with a few properties and parametric patterns can generate furniture from a standard profile. From chair, to sofa, to flat surface with just a few parameters.
This is a good example of how to get started with building an interactive online customization tool, and how it can be made easy with the help of standardized tools. The time consuming part is usually integrating a tool like this into the quotation/order process of a company. Luckily we are working on standardizing that as well, but for the happy enthusiast its just to hammer away! Let us know if you want to explore this particular open project and perhaps use it for your own project.