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Is AutoCad Useful?

  1. Mar 5, 2010 #1

    I am considering if taking an AutoCAD course would be useful. Do Mechanical engineers use AutoCAD very often?

    Thank you for your time.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 5, 2010 #2


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    It's pretty easy to pick up on your own - don't know if you need a course.

    2d 'classic' autocad is still widely used, although a lot of industry has switched to 3d parametric cad.
    Either Autocad Inventor or competitors like Solidworks or Pro-engineer.

    If you are learning it on your own, there is Autocad LT (a cheaper simplified version) or there are a bunch of clones - look for intelicad, or search here.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2010
  4. Mar 5, 2010 #3


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    True, the software is fairly easy to use. But making drawings that follow all conventions etc(which measurements to include etc) is actually not that straightforward.
    It is something I still struggle with when making drawings, and getting it wrong when dealing with fairly complicated shapes can be quite expensive. I regret not taking a CAD course when I was a undergraduate (I am a experimental physicist but did my MSc in engineering).

    So I'd say a CAD course could be useful, as least as long as they also teach you how to make "real" drawing and do not focus too much on obscure features in the software.
  5. Mar 5, 2010 #4
    If you already know how to make drawings, and read them, you should be able to pick up 2D CAD in less than a hundred hours of practice, so a course wouldn't be worth it. If you need to learn about drawings, find a drafting tech school that offers evening "crash" courses for engineers. In almost every case, drafters, or designers, are far better at drawings than engineers and that's largely the result of time spent making drawings.
  6. Mar 5, 2010 #5


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    True - but remember the conventions for drawings depend on your industry (as well as country) so a course for architects/civil engineers might not be much use if you are in aerospace
  7. Mar 5, 2010 #6
    I would go with the drafters. They know how to do it quickly and are better at industry drafting specs. They can even tell you what's relevant and what's not. As engineers we pay attention at the design part of the drawing, not so much to conventions. Nevertheless, it depends on the area you are focused in. Drafters would be the safe way to go. Or get the specs and learn at home (slow and boring).
  8. Mar 5, 2010 #7


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    Not all companies will have dedicated drafters to handle your drawings, and as it is the engineer is responsible for checking the accuracy and tolerancing of the drawing. I would consider familiarity with parametric CAD packages a required core skill for any mechanical engineer. Maybe not Autocad specifically, I think Solidworks and Pro-Engineer are more common in industry.
  9. Mar 10, 2010 #8
    It will be helpful to read the cad course.in our company,we should ask each engineer to use this software well although we use the 3D drawings mainly.it is the basic knowledge of an ME.
  10. Mar 12, 2010 #9
    Mechanical engineers use AutoCAD frequently in the HVAC and plumbing trades. If you don't find yourself interested in those fields, you probably won't be using that software very much.

    Additionally, most companies that utilize Pro/E or SolidWorks have legacy documentation that is in the AutoCAD format. At these companies its nice to be familiar enough with AutoCAD to make quick and dirty changes to these documents.
  11. Mar 12, 2010 #10
    A course in cad 2d/3d is useful, but the real benefit is learning the proper techniques to make technical drawings. In the long run, this translates to better communication should you be required to sketch a machine element on paper or draw it in a cad software package.
  12. Mar 13, 2010 #11
    Hello, I am new and doing my undergrad in Mechanical Engineering , I managed to finish the basics of Autocad 2004(unfortunately not 09), I want to learn 09, r the basics same , I mean can I do it on my own as I kinda know how to use 04
    And another thing I heard that the SolidWorks is better than Autocad, like more user friendly and stuffs . Is that so ? If it is then I should start learning SolidWorks shouldn't I?
  13. Mar 13, 2010 #12


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    For 2d drafting there isn't a lot of difference between Autocad 2004 and 2009 (or from Acad version 9 for that matter)

    3D parametric cad is very different, in some ways it's a lot easier than manually creating an orthographic drawing - the computer does all the thinking for you.

    Whether you use ProEngineer, Solidworks, Autocad inventor or Catia depends on the company/industry. None is particulalry better/easier than any of the others.
    But switching from 2D cad to parametric is a bit of a rethink
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