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Bad At Drawing,Mechanical Engineering?

  1. Aug 13, 2011 #1
    Hi Everyone,

    Okay so I just finished my first year of Engineering and took basic CAD classes in which I failed, but that was due to bad luck, I was quite prepared for my exam but I was stressed out. I was basically bad in drawing since high school, and unfortunately my university didn't point out that drawing was necessary in mechanical engineering nor did a few people I asked at the start of my Engineering career. Anyhow I am planning to change my major, because I fear my weakness in drawing as well as understanding my Foundy and Forging classes will lead me to failure in my second year. What are your thoughts about it?

    My main problem is, my university allows me to change only if I pass all my first year subjects , however I spoke to the principal and he will try to exempt me to have this choice.

    Will I be able to continue Mechanical Engineering, if I can't draw and imagine 3-D diagrams.

    I am pretty good at Programming and I took C and C++ classes as well as Web designing classes in high school, which makes me confident I can do Computer Science Engineering.

    Now the only dreaded thing is , if my University rejects my major change. I don't know what to do..

    I study in India where all the rules are third worldly , and everything is opposite to the other countries.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 13, 2011 #2
    Don't give up on learning CAD and 3D modelling. It may take a little more effort. I had to really work at it when I first learned it. Try to find someone to sit at the terminal with you and guide you along.
  4. Aug 13, 2011 #3
    Trust me, you will get only better with time in drawing. And Mechanical Engineering is not all CAD and drawing. That's the beauty of this field, if you aren't good at one thing, you can always try to master other subject.
  5. Aug 13, 2011 #4


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    It is absolutely fundamental that you learn how to "read" standard engineering drawings. They are not just "pretty pictures", they are precise technical definitions. If there is a hole drilled in an object and you can't figure out which side it is drilled into by looking at the drawings, you are not going to to be able to do anything much in real world engineering.

    Some mech engineers rarely create drawings, but they certainly need be able to understand[b/] them, and IMO the best way (probably the only way) to learn is lots of practice, and thiat means learning to draw.
  6. Aug 15, 2011 #5
    Thank you everyone for your replies.

    Well Firstly, I am with about 65-70 students at a time, and there is absolutely no space and lack of manpower for individual help on my CAD subject, hence my University employs Engineers who just finished a year back and they apparently teach us, and they are those who don't get jobs in the industry and are always frustrated so asking them for help in our subjects is just horrible, they are least interested, we actually learn from books and the lectures are useless.

    I don't find drawing on the Computer hard, but the actual understand for e.g. I have isometric projects, they give us a diagram and tell us to draw it isometrically my teacher did it in half an hour and said to try the problems later at home, but I didn't get anything! :( Is there any links online I can learn from. Now that I failed my CAD subject (that too by 5 marks :/) , I have to retake it again as well as my CAMD (Computer Aided Machine Drawing) exam this year, and it looks really complicated because of all those parts and assembling , if I don't know the basics how Can I continue ?

    I understand Engg. Design is important, and that's why I want to change my branch to something I am positive I can do, but again I am in a fix as I said my university won't approve the change without passing my CAD Exam, but that involves a waste of one year,because I can do the subject this semester but they won't approve my branch change next semester, so I have to take Year 2 again.

    Or if I don't clear CAMD and CAD in year 2, I will have to repeat year 2 again.

    I am confused what to do. Transferring university's is out of the question, since the admissions are already complete.
  7. Aug 21, 2011 #6
    This is coming from someone who has their CAD degree and is now taking electrical engineering and I am currently a designer fulltime. All the mechanical engineers in my company use 3d modeling. They may not create the drawings, but they are most certainly modeling. I recommend focusing on one major program if you can. Catia, Or Creo/Pro E are very good parametric programs. Don't let the isometric bs scare you, 3d modeling is very easy once you learn the program you are using.

    It sounds like they are teaching you a old school method and you have to actually draw? or are you using 2d cad to create isometric views? These methods are taught on a entry level at most CAD programs and are long forgotten once you break into the parametric programs.

    You do need to grasp the concept atleast though, but dont stress over it if you are weak in the subject. Because in the 3d model program, you can always flip that bad boy around to really see where the hole is! haha
  8. Aug 21, 2011 #7
    <i>and it looks really complicated because of all those parts and assembling , if I don't know the basics how Can I continue ?</i>

    I just want to stress on one more thing about what you said. If you look at a large assembly it always looks stressful and you think you can't do it. This is because you havnt seen it from the ground up. Once you start building it peice by piece you realize its very easy.

    The beauty of most 3d modeling programs is, you don't worry about the basics of isometric drawings and implementing a three dimensional part in 2d. The programs do all that for you. You don't need to worry about hidden lines or gaps in your dimensions, the program does it all for you! Its almost too easy man trust me! Once you model your part, you create the drawing using the same program, and you just format it the way you or your company wants it formatted.

    At the end of the day when you start working in the field, you are going to be using a 3d modeling program.
  9. Aug 22, 2011 #8

    Hi, thank you very much for taking your time to reply , since you know about CAD I will explain everything what I do.

    Firstly I had to take basic CAD classes in my first year, but we had a head professor who took classes , he hardly taught us being busy with his work everyday , and when he did he would finish for e.g. isometric projections in 30 minutes and tell us to work at home and understand. Now I am not trying to blame him but I don't think its quite possible to study without a guide or teacher.

    And I had about 8 more other subjects other than CAD in my second semester of my first year to work on , so I didn't have time to actually practice CAD, however I sacrificed my sleep to do CAD work. The CAD was basic , but still hard because I didn't get much concepts, but I somehow managed to study it , we had to sketch it on paper get approval by the teacher and then attempt it on the computer (computer work is easier)

    An example of our question papers :- http://www.vturesource.com/2011/01/caed-paper-7.html

    Now I made a dumb mistake, which resulted to the failure of my CAD exam of my first year.

    Now I have something like CAMD , which is basically drawing Machines , so they give us a list of parts and ask us to draw them on the computer and assemble them using Solid Edge, I just finished my first model today it looks easy , but again I don't quite understand the dimensioning given on papers, now we are 60+ students in a room , and we don't get private attention , but someone asks the teacher we just copy from them, or ask how the dimensioning is done , yes its a sad way to do it , but its the ONLY way.

    Now people in my university (or in India) generally , are very good at memorizing stuff, for the exams they repeat the questions given, and they just memorize the diagrams and do it for the exam, but I don't think that's going to work for me , considering I never memorized things for my exams.

    In my next year I will take CATIA , but I need to pass my first year CAD exam and this years CAMD exam to get to my third year.

    So what do you suggest?
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 26, 2017
  10. Aug 23, 2011 #9
    Ok the link you gave me nothing came up but I don't really need an example I have a idea of what your doing.

    If the computer portion is easy to you. DO NOT STRESS IT! Just try to pass that class that requires you to draw it on hand first. Once you get to 3d modeling parametric (Catia, ProE/Creo Elements) I will warn you there is a learning curve. Your first couple of weeks using the program you will hate it and not understand why it is so constraining on your creativity. You will soon understand how powerful those programs are and the simulations and kinematics it can perform for you.

    Let me take a guess of what your real problem is.
    you take a look at a drawing and see all these stupid dimensions jumbled together and your like wow what in the world is on this paper? Just take it one dimension at a time, each dimension has its own job to do...focus on that one dimension and work from there.

    When you start 3d modeling in catia take it one feature at a time. One dimension at a time. rememebr that buddy.

    Also don't take so many classes in one semester man! the world ain't going no where
  11. Aug 23, 2011 #10
    I have to say, that's one of the most pointless tests I've ever seen IMO. Since you can't see it, smashbrohamme, this is one of the questions:

    "A cube of sides 40mm is resting on HP with its base on HP such that one of its vertical faces is inclined at 30 degrees to the VP. It is cut by a section plane perpendicular to VP, inclined to HP at an angle 45 degrees and passes through the midpoint of the axis. Draw the development of the lower lateral surface of the cube."

    All of the other questions are pretty much of this type.
  12. Aug 24, 2011 #11

    Hi again,

    Well what I mean is , until the drawing on the paper is complete we are not allowed to move onto the 3-D modelling , I know its crazy , but my syllabus was last revised this year, but still contains syllabus from when my university started (1985), with just a little more content adding up. The whole system is crazy..

    Yes and your guess about my way of looking at things is exactly how it is, I am a chicken when it comes to stuff like this, I freak out when I see a lot of stuff and friends add to it , by adding their comments on how I can't do this stuff.. so they don't really help maybe just 2-3 friends.

    Ill try to look into what you said and take it at one dimension at a time when I have class tomorrow, but I have also applied for a change in my degree, which is now up to the university to decide whether I can change my degree or not, (which again is crazy, because they define my life , and I have no choice).

    And for the number of classes, well its like school , we have to follow a certain timetable with the classes given, we cannot choose any electives like they have in other education systems so I have to have 6 classes +3 labs...

    Oh , and I think I can easily pass this CAD exam I failed, basically we have a book of 300 questions or so, which if you can byheart the solution you can get through it . Basically I was never from India, I came here to do my Engineering and I find people just byheart and memorize things rather than really understand anything here. Its weird and all the teachers encourage such behavior and people look into money rather than science.


    Yes basically every subject I study is pointless , any mechanical engineer who had "Foundry and a Forging Laboratory? " where you work as a blacksmith and make models? I find it quite pointless in the 21st century.
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