Break FEA Myths: Would you use a Scientific calculator with 3 buttons?

 A lot of people will hate me for this post, but I swore already that I will give you the best insights so here it is.

(people who will hate me are the people who are making money on your back… read the rest and you will understand why I am saying that)

The main question is: Would you use a scientific calculator with only 3 buttons?

Typical advertisement:





What I think is:

FEA Software are complex engineering tools than cannot be simplified to 3 buttons only ! This is why Auto-Something is too simplistic and that much more tools are required.

meshing tools

Do you Agree? Disagree?

Please write your thoughts in the comments and let’s discuss


  1. Ben says:

    We said in the article above.

    Once in a former life I told one senior engineering manager that if simulation was that easy as he was led to believe, then any administrative assistant could perform it and it would do with my job (simulation guy) and his (the engineering senior manager) as our engineering director would prefer to say hello to a legion of administrative assistances every morning than a bunch of ugly engineers.

    Please, please forgive my stereo typing, I know whole heartedly that all members of an organization do equally valuable contribution no matter what their role or specialty but the metaphor was well intended for the senior manager to understand that his design engineers could not use a auto load/auto simulate 3D CAD platform instead of serious FEA or CFD or etc platform and call it a through computational simulation.

    Of course, as I said above, there is a valued contribution to the crude FEA or CFD analysis performed on the CAD platform by the design engineers, and there should be a place for it within the chain of design iterations.

    • Cyprien says:

      Thank you for this very interesting comment ! I guess that you have to be a CAE engineer to understand the point of this post… Your manager may be interested to invest in PP simulation after reading, argh…

  2. Avoid too much automation, try your hand on GUI at first instance for one loop of product evaluation.Pre and post processing stages to be dealt in detail to understand the product and its behaviour so that verification and validation makes sense. CAE engineer to focus on building better products through FEA not on developing apps like black boxes nor switching to ‘Perfect Paradise Simulation’.

    • Cyprien Rusu says:

      I added the stress paint following Willem’s advice, it’s even more awesome now haha … don’t share with your boss the article, he may learn the truth about FEA 😀

  3. You have pointed it out clearly!
    Simulation could be a task for every designer.
    And every designer, although attracted and practicing with blind-CAE tools, will soon need to boost up his simulaton capabilities.
    A good training and mentoring will be the perfect “plug-in” for mastering 100-button calculators!

    • Cyprien Rusu says:

      You are right Matteo ! I think Designers are clever as they are designing the innovations of the future ! Giving them the wrong tools to succeed is just a shame. I want to change that

  4. A very amusing example of how far an FEA ‘product’ could go in making the analysis process simple to the point of absurdity. However it does highlight in my mind the reverse problem. Many designers and casual users of FEA I meet on my courses don’t pay much attention to mesh control because it is so damn hard to do it effectively in 3D meshing! So we get poor meshes….

  5. Tormentoman says:

    Let’s try to make it simpler!:

    1 – Simply the tool: only to buttons.
    2 – Fire all you engineers
    3 – Hire a bunch of monkeys
    4 – You can be sure, 50% of time, monkeys will do the job right

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