GVCS Interface Design Standards

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Interface design is a definition of how parts or modules fit together. This typically applies at the machine level - ie, how the differenct parts of a machine work together. The point is that if we break a machine down into parts, we must know how they fit together in order to develop modules independently of one another.

A proper definition of the interface allows one module do be developed completely independently of another. However, it is the interface between parts that may be the most difficult part to design - in the case where the connection between the two modules is complex. In such a case, unless the interface is defined fully, it remains possible that the module design may be modified significantly, in order for the interface to work out properly.


The Interface Design can also be defined at the product ecology level, and module level - in addition to the machine level.

For the product ecology, one needs to describe how the machine communicates with other machines. For example, a power cube relates to any powered machine by providing power through a quick-connect coupler, and the power cube is hung on another machine with quickly-attachable bolts. For communication to other machines, the mechanism by which one tool connects to another needs to be explicit. For example, the Quick Attach plate connects directly to the soil pulverizer through a specific quick attachment mechanism. The complete dimensions and specifications of the attachment mechanism must be defined.

For the module level, we can break modules into parts - and so on ad infinitum. However, the interconnection between the parts of the modules must be defined clearly. For example, the shaft in the Modular Wheel Units must be attached to the motor in a particular way, and that attachment must be specified.


For an interface design to be meaningful, it requires that for any module, all interactions/relationships/connnections to any other modules are described. The relationship to all related modules need to be considered - which can be as little as one relationship - but if the module is connected to/interacts with several modules, all those connections must be described.


  1. Use Interface Design Template. This may apply to conceptual interface design.
  2. Start another Google doc - use Interface Design Template - and add technical specifications such as dimensions, geometry, calculations, etc. Focus on filling out the Red and Green sections, and ignore the rest, which are just examples.
  3. For technical interface design, we may use CAD software for a more accurate definition of the interface.
  4. Embed both Drawings in a wiki page. See How to Embed Google Drawings. If you have drawn up designs with CAD or other software, upload the source file to the wiki as well.
  5. Link to the Drawings from the specific Machine/Module Development Baord.