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Should I do a CAD course prior to university?

  1. Jun 9, 2010 #1

    I'm in my final year of high school and am taking a gap year before I head off to uni to study Renewable Engineering..

    Some friends of mine did an external CAD course in Year 11(second last year of high school) and I'm considering taking the same course in my gap year..

    Just wanted to know whether its worth doing it next year? or whether it is pretty much taught in first year uni anyway?

    Cheers for any information provided :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 10, 2010 #2
    Depends on the course and the University. Most don't bother teaching CAD at all as it is easy and simply requires practice, there are also many cheap courses to go on. Also many engineers can go their whole career without using CAD on a daily basis.

    I am in a design role that exclusively uses CAD and i've never had an official course in my life, once you can parametrically model you can pick up and use any software in an afternoon (mastering it may take a month without training or a week with training). The tutorials supplied along with youtube can teach you how to use any function of a peice of software you want.

    One thing I would suggest if you want to become a design and drafting engineer is maybe take a course in drawing to a standard (BS 8888 in the UK, ASME Y14.6 in the US I think). In todays world the design engineer also does the role that a draftsman used to do, creating good drawings to a standard was the hardest thing i've had to try to learn.

    Also drawings are king, learning about tolerancing, surface finishes, fits etc and how to think about a part as you are drawing it will be more beneficial than learning to use a peice of CAD software.
  4. Jun 10, 2010 #3
    I would recommend taking a CAD class now and then not taking a CAD class in uni. CAD is pretty easy to learn and only requires a little bit of effort at with a program to become somewhat proficient at it.
  5. Jun 13, 2010 #4


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    No course needed, as courses tend to teach you a lot of the things in CAD that you will never use in your domain of expertise.

    Best it's just get a few CAD programs with student licenses and play, do tutorials or just build your favorite mechanical device (a bike is good for starters). After that try something more "organic" as I call it, a ergonomic knife handle, a fruit etc. If you practice with these you can create most things easy.

    Also use the added features of tension computing, optical properties or flow analysis. The are mostly the same in all CAD but they require a bit of thinking and study on your part.
  6. Jun 13, 2010 #5
    If you have the opportunity I'd go for it, there are several benefits.

    It will be one thing less to learn in college.
    Its like rading and writing the sooner you aquire the skill the more you will get out of following experience and the more time you can devote to that experience.
    There is always good money to be made on a casual basis for competant CAD operators.
    The more practice the better.
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