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Thread: ACAD Workshop

  1. #1
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    Default ACAD Workshop

    I am an engineering instructor for our local university. I teach Technical Drawing using AutoCAD but in July I will be teaching a summer workshop for high school students. I wanted to see if anyone has any ideas to make this one week workshop easy yet instructional for the students. My thoughts were to give them a history on ACAD, introduction of the basic commands and finally have them do several 2 D objects like gage blocks using the tutorials provided in the ACAD tutoring book.

    I need help in the following:

    Does anyone any other ideas of ACAD that would be effective in capturing students interest in engineering?

    Does anyone have a good history of ACAD notes I can include in my lecture slides?

    Basic command instructions, I can use for a power point lecture?

    Thanks,

  2. #2
    BIM/VDC Management Brian Myers's Avatar
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    Default Re: ACAD Workshop

    At first this won't seem like an answer, but read on as it leads to a bigger point. I first started using AutoCAD 9 back in 1989, so I've used it now for 21 years. Over the years I've used it for engineering (manufacturing), building systems, and then architecture. Today I train people on AutoCAD as well as Revit and a variety of other software... during this time I've trained over a dozen people that were 5 years old or younger at the time that I first started using AutoCAD.

    1 person... wasn't born yet.

    The reason I mention this, getting excited about AutoCAD is like getting excited about using a pencil. 21 years ago it WAS exciting. Today it's a tools to draw colorful lines and extrude objects in a SketchUp kind of way. Exciting programs include Inventor and Solidworks which allow individuals to not only model a part, but watch it as a component in a bigger system.

    The answer to your question: would you teach your students about the history of a pencil? How about a colored marker? I've taught people that have degrees in engineering that have only used CAD programs, never touching a pencil for working drawing creation. In terms of today's technology AutoCAD is a pencil, a documentation tool similar to less expensive programs kids have had access to as long as they can remember. To get people excited about engineering you need to allow them to be creative... I don't know an engineer that didn't like to take things apart or (perhaps) put things together. I'd recommend devising a project that they need to figure out themselves and document/present the solution. That presentation may be in AutoCAD or another software program, but the point would be to be creative and express their design interests.

    I LOVE drafting... I do. It's like reading a good book. I can do it (drafting) and not "put it down" for hours, losing all track of time. But that's not becoming the reality of the engineering profession. It's an art form of communication that still needs to be taught, but we also need to incorporate the dynamic creative aspect of engineering if the goal is to inspire a love of engineering and not become a class on pure design communication.
    Brian Myers
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    Default Re: ACAD Workshop

    I agree with Brian - CAD isn't exciting, engineering is - to those with the right mind-set.

    BTW, why not START with solid modeling? There's no rule that says you have to start with 2d lines.
    John B

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    Certifiable AUGI Addict cadtag's Avatar
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    Wink Re: ACAD Workshop

    All due respect to my colleagues, but I'll disagree, both on the excitement/relevance of 'CAD' and the importance of history. and on pencils

    History is always relevant -- it's hindsight that is 20/20 and looking back is the only guide to the future. Imperfect, and subject to revision as it is, only looking back and identifying trends can give any method to extrapolate what's coming down the pike.

    For autocad in particular, John Walker's "The Autodesk File" http://www.fourmilab.ch/autofile/ is probably the definitive early history, coloured of course by Mr Walker's role, perceptions, and prejudices.

    I've used a number of CAD and computer graphics packaged over the years that, for reasons having little to do with technical merit, are no longer in existance or severely marginalized. GenericCAD was bought by Autodesk and killed, VersaCAD was left unmarketed and in limbo until finally bought back by the original author. Actrix was touted as the Visio killer, at least until Microsoft bought Visio -- then suddenly Actrix went away with no replacement . Intellicad and the ODA have been faced with internal strife, embezzlement,and litigation. For the last decade PC-based CAD has been almost a Microsoft Windows only domain, despite the undoubted technical superiority of other operating systems for engineering design. That is starting to change with Bricsys and Graebert, but it's been a long time coming.

    That's all history - from my perspective, colored of course by my roles, prejudices, and experiences. What it tells me is that technical excellence is not a predictor of longevity, and that workable tools may be yanked if at any time the vendors thinks such an action will benefit their bottom line.

    I'll agree that CAD is more of a communication tool than an engineering tool, but disagree on the excitement level. Engineering is not exciting IMHO-- getting something created in the physical world is. And that's where CAD comes into focus -- as the industry tool for communicating design intent. Models are nice, and depending on your perspective and needs, may be useful. But they are so limited..... only what gets put in can be pulled back out. A model by itself can't be built - only when the design intent of the model is communicated to the builder can that happen. Technical drawing is the oldest documented form of human communication -- what else do the cave paintings at Lascaux mean other than "Insert Spear A into Bison B Here"?

    And as for the pencil -- not only is it vastly less expensive than the operating system, CAD software, computer/video hardware, plotter, server, WAN we use in industry- it's far simpler to begin using, and equally as daunting a tool to master as any software package.

    Design and engineering are not fundamentally products of software or computers - they are products of the informed mind. Sometimes the software tools can help us, other times they simply steer us into what the software can do, not what is the best solution.
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    BIM/VDC Management Brian Myers's Avatar
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    Default Re: ACAD Workshop

    Quote Originally Posted by cadtag View Post
    All due respect to my colleagues, but I'll disagree, both on the excitement/relevance of 'CAD' and the importance of history. and on pencils
    Just to play devil's advocate (and I respect and understand your thoughts as well )...

    When I went to college I had a choice of two real Majors... History and Architecture. I went with Architecture but my courses read like a history lesson as I took history courses every time they could apply toward my architecture degree. So I have a deep respect for history. But that doesn't seem to be the goal of his one week course (in my opinion).

    If it's a 1 week technical drawing workshop then its spot on! But my guess is that this is a 1 week Engineering workshop (I don't believe I've ever seen a technical drawing workshop... presentation workshops I've been to, not technical drawing... maybe its just me??). One week to get exposed to Engineering. So actually, we are in agreement in terms of history and it's place. My concern was over the following comment in his statement:

    "My thoughts were to give them a history on ACAD, introduction of the basic commands and finally have them do several 2 D objects like gage blocks using the tutorials provided in the ACAD tutoring book."

    To put that in perspective, if that happened to me 25 years ago it would have read like this:

    First we'll discuss the history of using pencils and technical pens. Then we'll pull out a drafting book and I'll show you how to draw lines with proper line weights. Then we'll do step by step how to draw a gear.

    No question that's design communication...and I would enjoy it... but that isn't really exposure to the technical career unless this is just 1-2 days of the week long course... in which case, he may have himself a good class!!!
    Brian Myers
    Jacobs: VDC Design Office Lead (BIM Leadership)
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