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Importance of CAD training?

  1. Dec 12, 2009 #1
    As an entry-level engineer coming out of school, how important is it to have some familiarity with a CAD program? Do companies expect you to have some knowledge of a CAD program before hiring, or will they train a new engineer on a CAD package from scratch? I'm asking this because I was never exposed to a CAD package as an undergraduate (I'm an AE grad student with a B.S. in Physics), and am thinking about pursuing a certification in CATIA or AutoCAD on my spare time.
     
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  3. Dec 12, 2009 #2
    I would highly recommend you learn some form of CAD (It isn't hard). I took a course (elective) in Solid Works/ProE. I would steer you towards Solidworks/CATIA. Keep in mind, anyone can draw pictures on the computer. To be good learn how to set up and do FEA type analysis and/or optimization. If I had the time, I would learn this better myself. A good piece of advice one of my mentors in grad school told me (He is a former project manager of a major helicopter company): when you go to a job interview, never say you are "eager to learn", because they will tell you that their company wants to hire someone that can do work, if you want to learn go to school.
     
  4. Dec 12, 2009 #3

    russ_watters

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    It may be that they don't like to hear it, but they all know darn well that anyone who they hire is going to need to essentially be trained from scratch. College teaches you how to think like an engineer, but it teaches you virtually nothing about how to be an engineer.
     
  5. Dec 12, 2009 #4
    I would argue that it depends. If you are a college undergrad, I would lean towards yes. If you are coming out of college with a graduate degree, you better be proficient at MATLAB (at the very least), and have some exposure to a CAD program. A graduate degree is supposed to be equivalent to a year or so of work experience. Your research is the actual 'hands on' experience you don't get with a BS degree.
     
  6. Dec 12, 2009 #5

    FredGarvin

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    You do need at least a passing level of proficiency in some 3D CAD program. It is not only because designers use them, but their applicability extends into analysis as well as manufacturing. There are a lot of scenarios where you may be called upon to do something even if you are not a designer.

    As far as the whole learning on the job goes, my personal way around that was to say something along the lines of "I don't know how your company does this, but it will not take me much time to adapt to the way you do business." It seems to have worked for me.
     
  7. Dec 12, 2009 #6

    minger

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    I agree with these guys, some entry level knowledge is useful. Know your simple modeling techniques; be able to draw cross sections, extrude, revolve, sweep. Be familiar with the drafting section so that you can open an existing model and negotiate the model to find what you need without needed a CAD designer.

    To be completely honest, cad and modeling is extremely easy. For most of us young engineers who grew up in the computer age, it's almost second nature. You may not be a wizard with layers and assemblies, but you'll be fine enough to get by.
     
  8. Dec 12, 2009 #7
    Yes, learn some CAD it will be very beneficial. Especially, if you want to move into using ANSYS.

    Since, I can use CAD myself, I never have to bother will the detailers who don't always know how to properly prepare a model for ANSYS. This saves me a lot of time and the project managers love that.

    Thanks
    Matt
     
  9. Dec 13, 2009 #8
    Further to the question, I wonder what's the different between a draftsman and a graduate level engineer.

    As both will do the CAD drawing and then put it into FEA to do the analysis according to supervisor instruction.
     
  10. Dec 13, 2009 #9
    Draughtsmen traditionally did all/most of the drawing work, copying drawings of designs into engineering drawings making sure they conform to specifications. The engineer acutually did most of the calcuations (the maths bits) and came up with the design specification of components, then basic drawings to allow the concept to be conveyed.

    In recent times the boundary between the two jobs has blurred, with the ease of use of CAD packages and the fact it takes less time to produce and copy drawings engineers themselves are doing more drawing work.

    Professional engineering requires more training than a draughting job. To be considered a fully trained engineer it typically takes 3-4 years education at university then the same again in industry (this is required to become incorporated or chartered by a professional body in the UK). Draughting is usually learnt at community college and takes anywhere between 6 and 18months depending onthe course and qualification, then some certain time working in a drawing office.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2009
  11. Dec 13, 2009 #10

    russ_watters

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    In my line of work (HVAC engineering), there are three levels, not two:
    -Draftsmen - Make drawings from sketches/markups
    -Designers - Do basic design work (size piping and ductwork, do system layout), then sketch it or draw it themselves. Sometimes help with calculations
    -Engineers - Do load calculations, system selection, more intensive layouts, sometimes do sketching and markups. Final quality control checks.

    There is no solid line between these and up until recently it was possible for a draftsman to eventually work their way up to becoming an engineer. As a legal matter, being a professional engineer now requires a degree in most states in the US. Though not all industries require engineers to be PEs...
     
  12. Dec 13, 2009 #11

    FredGarvin

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    In my line of work there is one level; Engineer/designer/draftsman/secretary/copy boy/toilet bowl scrubber.
     
  13. Dec 13, 2009 #12

    mgb_phys

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    Although everybody uses 3d parametric CAD to design stuff they must still teach engineers how to read drawings and orthographic projection don't they?
     
  14. Dec 13, 2009 #13

    FredGarvin

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    Funny thing is....no they don't. People always complain when they have to take a drafting course because it doesn't seem to apply to 3D modeling. The only problem is that they have no clue as to what makes a good drawing or even how views are made. If you ask a kid in engineering school to make an auxiliary half section view, they would look at you like you have two heads. It is a shame.
     
  15. Dec 13, 2009 #14
    ......:confused:


    :tongue:

    (No, seriously.....:confused:)

    Edit: I googled it, and know what you're talking about. Just never heard it called that.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2009
  16. Dec 13, 2009 #15
    Im afraid i'd have to say..... whaaaaaaa?

    That that just a section drawing drawn at an angle?

    I'll admit i'd be dreadful if I had to draw board at the moment, as i've exclusively used parametic modelling and created drawing from that.
     
  17. Apr 25, 2010 #16
    is it possible to download for free CATIA, Solidworks, or some CAD if I'm out of school?
     
  18. Apr 25, 2010 #17
    You can probably find some free ware CAD, but it is probably going to be limited in drawing functionality: i.e., no FEA, or Fluid Analysis. If you do, let us know how it works out, I'd be curious to know.

    Don't hold your breath on getting CATIA or Solidworks for free, even as a student.
     
  19. Apr 26, 2010 #18
    RE the above: You can get Inventor free from autodesk as a student. (I think you can get all Autodesk CAD packages free). Inventor is naff, but the price is right whilst you are still a student.
     
  20. Apr 26, 2010 #19
    how's Inventor different from AutoCAD? Which one is better for someone like me who has no experience using CAD, and is pursuing a ME/AE MS from physics BS?
     
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