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Which CAD Program Should I Learn?

  1. Nov 28, 2007 #1
    In relation to the aerospace/astronautical engineering industry, which is the most useful CAD program to learn?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 28, 2007 #2

    FredGarvin

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    Either Catia, Solidworks or Pro-E. Take your pick. Once you learn one and the associated 3D modeling methods, you're pretty well set to transition into the others. Don't worry too much about picking the right one. Just pick one and go with it. A lot of times your choice will be dependent on what you have available.
     
  4. Nov 28, 2007 #3

    stewartcs

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    So true.
     
  5. Nov 28, 2007 #4

    Mech_Engineer

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    Yup, going with any one of those three will get you started nicely.

    Like Fred said, it's more important to learn the basic methods of parametric 3-D modeling (sketching, constraining, extruding, revolving, cutting, etc. etc.). Constraining the model can be the most difficult part for most people, so pay special attention to constraining and dimensioning sketches, and mating assemblies. After that, you know what you want to do it's just a matter of finding the correct button in the software package.
     
  6. Nov 29, 2007 #5

    FredGarvin

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    I don't know about the other guys (I'm sure they all had the same experience), but I did just think of something from my days learning parametric modeling...reference materials. If you can find good reference materials that is a huge bonus. I came up on Pro-E and let me tell ya, PTC's documentation was the worst I had ever seen. It was the most tedious and long winded stuff I have ever read. I had to constantly bug fellow engineers which I do not like to do.
     
  7. Nov 29, 2007 #6

    Mech_Engineer

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    Oh yeah, I still do that with Unigraphics NX4. Its documentation isn't even worth trying to muck throuh IMO.
     
  8. Dec 2, 2007 #7
    Fred Garvin said:
    "I came up on Pro-E and let me tell ya, PTC's documentation was the worst I had ever seen."

    I just bought MathCAD from PTC and while the interface is much more intuitive than MatLab and others...the documentation and support truly does suck. There are no good books that I have found (so far) that support the product either. Of course about 45 seconds after the software arrived, the salesmen started calling to encourage me to buy their other products. Yeah...right, boys...
    I use Alibre Design Professional for my CAD package. It's OK. Again...the people that do the documentation need to model themselves more after AutoDesk and less after the people that write instructions for cheap Chinese-made appliances.
    my .02
     
  9. Dec 2, 2007 #8
    I'll add my recommendation for CATIA as well. It seems to be quite popular in the aerospace industry, and in the auto industry too (though not so much). I took a CATIA course at the Everett Community College some years ago, right across the street from the Boeing plant, staffed and attended mainly by Boeing people, and found it to be pretty good (if you could put up with the little Tintin-like character that kept appearing).
     
  10. Dec 9, 2007 #9
    ProE and Catia are the most common with all of the big companies. Solidworks is more common with the smaller guys. (if you are wondering why, check out the price tags) If you were looking at taking classes, take ProE. You will be able to handle any other CAD program with relative ease after learning it. Catia is the least similar to the others on the market, but the most powerful (but only slightly more so than ProE). Not a bad one to learn, but not necessarily the best if you are learning your first CAD program. If you are learning on your own, try Solidworks or Autodesk Inventor. Those are the most user friendly and have the best documentation/tutorials/help files. Also, since they tend to be the choice of small companies and at home users, there is a large knowledge base online.

    billblack: You can't really make a direct comparison of Matlab to MathCAD. Matlab is a (if not the) scientific programing language, while MathCAD is an advanced calculation suite with programming capabilities. If I were running calculation for a system and wanted advanced calculus tools and an easy to read/use GUI (that would also look really good in an appendices...much better than, say, an excel spreadsheet), I would use MathCAD. If I were running some serious number crunching routines with a significant number data points, say like advanced data processing, I would use Matlab without a question. Also, I would use Matlab for some solving of differential equations over MathCA anyday.
     
  11. Dec 9, 2007 #10

    mgb_phys

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    Unless work is paying for this most of these packages are pretty pricey.
    Pro-E used to have a free cut-down version called pro-desktop (it was a competitor that they bought out) it isn't availbe anymore but might be out there on the web.
    Wether you learn Pro-E or Autocad Inventor isn't too important, as Fred said it's important to 'get' the concept of constraint based modelling - a big difference form tradiational drafting.
    The actual details of the interface changes more between versions of the same package than they do between Autocad/Pro-E.
     
  12. Dec 9, 2007 #11
    I agree with that. Until you get in to some more advanced features, the basics are the most important thing.

    If work is not paying for it, do what I did with a few programs: get a 30-day trial, learn as much as you can in that time. When the trial runs out, move to the next program and repeat. I was doing that just to see the differences in the programs from the one I was using at the time, but I would imagine you could learn quite a bit that way.
     
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