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Sketchup pro or Autocad at k-12

  1. Apr 8, 2015 #1
    I am a k-12 digital integration teacher/ technology director. Looking for validation to use sketchup pro 2015 as the primary CAD software for 9-12. Is sketchup sufficient to teach/train students who graduate high school and go to university programs or technical schools or do we need to use AutoCad? My feeling is SketchUp seems like it does a great job time-to-product and it gets the concepts and fundamentals in place. By the time they get to college if they want to step up they can learn the CAD software used there (or on the job). I may be off base here. I would like validation either way.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 8, 2015 #2
    For K-12, Sketchup Pro would be fantastic. AutoCAD would very likely be overkill (and steeper learning curve) and twice the price. Depending on your class, even "SketchUp Make" (which is recommended for secondary school) might be adequate.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2015
  4. Apr 8, 2015 #3
    Thanks Greg! What field are you in? What is your profession? Are you an engineer?
  5. Apr 8, 2015 #4
    I'm a web designer, but I've used both Sketchup and AutoCAD. I will tag a few of our best engineers to get their opinions. @Baluncore @berkeman @PhanthomJay
  6. Apr 8, 2015 #5
    Thanks! Greg!
  7. Apr 8, 2015 #6


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    Staff: Mentor

    I'm not familiar with the Sketchup package. Does it support 3-D designs? That is becoming more important now with the costs of using 3-D printers coming down so much. The kids will have a lot more fun if they can print up some of their projects, IMO. :smile:
  8. Apr 8, 2015 #7
    Yes, we are starting a class that is CADD to CAM
    (Computer Aided Drafting and Design to Computer Aided Manufacturing)

    We will use makerbot 3d printers!
  9. Apr 8, 2015 #8
    Have you looked at using Solid Edge?
    We used that in our first year CAD course. Found it was fairly easy to use.
    When I later had to use AutoCAD there were enough similarities didn't have too much problems learning it.

    Pretty sure there is an academic program for it as well, so might be able to get it relatively cost free :)
  10. Apr 8, 2015 #9


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    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    While sketchup would be fine for students going onto college ie they won't hit the work force in another few years, 9-12 indicates you may have some students you want to prepare to land drafting and design jobs right out of school. The best way to do that is to give them AutoCAD so they can land that good job right out of High School if its available. There is no other reason to hire or train a High School graduate unless he has a skill that makes him more desirable over the Tech school graduate.

    Is this short sighted? Yes, but many High school students may need a year or two in the real world work force before they move on to higher education. But you will give the tools to land a job in a technology firm vs sketchup might not be considered good enough.

    My company (and all the design firms I have worked with) uses AutoCAD. Sketchup may be fine, but it wouldn't get you in the door here, unless you also knew enough AutoCAD to pass our qualifications test.

    Just my opinion as an engineer at a mid sized engineering company.
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