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Old 01-08-2015, 11:27 AM   #61
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There are two parts to CAD.

1. Creating the solid model in 3D (the fun part)
2. translating that 3D model into 2D drawings with all proper dimensions and tolerances and GD&T call outs. (the tedious part)

In my opinion part 1 can be done with just youtube videos and a lot of practice at home. Part 2 should be learned in a class room with an instructor to mark up and correct your drawings. Or on the job if you have someone that can mentor you closely to learn this skill. Proper tolerances for clearances and such often requires some engineering knowledge depending on the precision and application of what you are designing. Try to check your local community college for drafting classes.

As for what particular software I was taught SolidWorks in school and use it at my job. I find it easy to use with a wealth of youtube resources to learn the functions that you don't use frequently.
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Old 01-08-2015, 12:45 PM   #62
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NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK, THEN NETWORK SOME MORE. LinkedIn, recruiting fairs, college alumni networks, mentor programs, cold calling, whatever you do, just make sure to cast your net wide. People who hate their profession are infinitely valuable, as they can often give you insight into a corporation's culture, and they are typically more than willing to vent.

...

Interview for jobs you have no interest in, preferably at small firms outside of your intended profession. You will screw up and learn from your mistakes. Ask for feedback at the end of every interview..."Is there anything from the interview that I can clarify which would make me a stronger candidate?" Their answer will almost always reveal a perceived weakness about you, and smaller firms are more likely to field this question.
This is good info. The last time I did a job hunt I got a response very quickly and knocked their pre-interview questions out of the park. I then drove 200 miles and interviewed terribly and did not get the job. I was just way out of practice. I then spent several months getting back to that point.
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Old 01-08-2015, 12:54 PM   #63
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I have probably just shy of 20 years of solid modeling/CAD experience using both SolidWorks and Pro/E. And another handful of years in 2D stuff that isn't really relevant. I think I rendered my first solid back in 1992... Woo.

It really is just a tool. Most places won't care if you know the one they use as long as you can prove you're good at it generally. And I find them pretty interchangeable in terms of functionality. But if I had to pick one for you to learn first, I'd say Pro/E (which btw is now Creo Parametric). It is less intuitive than SolidWorks and your skills will translate easier if you know Creo (Pro/E) and move to SW later.
I believe you're the oldest person in the world that uses this stuff who isnt a professor who understands that. The old people freaked out when we went from autocad 2012 to 2014 because it was so different. Literally exactly the same but the button textures and shading is different. Everything is even in the same god damn place. I'm not looking forward to when we go from 2010 to 2014 for the same reason. I've used both, they exactly the ******* same, all the old people are going to freak out. If we decided to go to Creo or NX instead of SW2014, it would be a complete disaster.
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Old 01-08-2015, 01:22 PM   #64
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SolidWorks and Inventor are so similar that I learned one and the second was almost deja vu. Having a degree in CAD means I can learn a new system fairly quickly. I have used well over a dozen, about half of which no longer even exist.

I find the learning curve for Pro/E to be a little steep for someone just getting into the game. Then again, I haven't used/seen that one for about a decade.
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Old 01-08-2015, 01:23 PM   #65
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I believe you're the oldest person in the world that uses this stuff who isnt a professor who understands that. The old people freaked out when we went from autocad 2012 to 2014 because it was so different. Literally exactly the same but the button textures and shading is different. Everything is even in the same god damn place. I'm not looking forward to when we go from 2010 to 2014 for the same reason. I've used both, they exactly the ******* same, all the old people are going to freak out. If we decided to go to Creo or NX instead of SW2014, it would be a complete disaster.
They would probalby **** their pants if you took their bic pen and replaced it with a papermate.
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Old 01-08-2015, 01:28 PM   #66
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There are two parts to CAD.

1. Creating the solid model in 3D (the fun part)
2. translating that 3D model into 2D drawings with all proper dimensions and tolerances and GD&T call outs. (the tedious part)

Agreed. I sometimes make designs, and pass them along with no drawings depending on complexity. the shop just takes the iges files and translates them into their MasterCAM.

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In my opinion part 1 can be done with just youtube videos and a lot of practice at home. Part 2 should be learned in a class room with an instructor to mark up and correct your drawings. Or on the job if you have someone that can mentor you closely to learn this skill. Proper tolerances for clearances and such often requires some engineering knowledge depending on the precision and application of what you are designing.
A hell of a lot of that is plain old experience. Building a electroforming tank requires a lot less precision than a optical part measuring fixture. Then again, some apparently simple stuff (welded bench for above fixture) requires a lot more precision than it would appear on first glance. Most of what I use everyday is simply what I learned from doing it in many different places over the years.
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Old 01-08-2015, 01:35 PM   #67
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We use PTC Creo (Pro-E) as well. It is complex, but the key is to learn how it "thinks" and go with the flow, rather than fight it. I don't do drawings so the MCAD's do mine. Ohter engineers produce their own drawings.

I'd like to add that we put less and less information on drawings and drive manufacturing from the 3D models. It started with plastic parts. The Chinese are so good at creating molds and proper parts from the 3D (we allow in/in tolerance per the SPI standards in most instances). Now the sheetmetal industry has progressed to the point that our best vendors can produce from 3D models as well.

I'm not saying we have no drawings, but the dimensions on them are few.

We have 4 ME's and 2 MCAD people, in a sea of EE Hardware, Software, Firmware and QC engineers.. Believe it or not, our company will still allow a person to become an engineer without a 4-year degree. Rare, but if you are really good, you can be promoted. On of the present ME's has a 2 yr degree; and we have an Electrical hardware guy who is a Principal, and should be. Amazing breadth of knowledge.

There is also ECAD, but, like MCAD, a lot of the work, and all of the fun stuff, is done by the engineers.

TL-DR? Y8S said it pretty well in Post 60
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Old 01-08-2015, 05:49 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by DNMakinson View Post
We use PTC Creo (Pro-E) as well. It is complex, but the key is to learn how it "thinks" and go with the flow, rather than fight it. I don't do drawings so the MCAD's do mine. Ohter engineers produce their own drawings.

I'd like to add that we put less and less information on drawings and drive manufacturing from the 3D models. It started with plastic parts. The Chinese are so good at creating molds and proper parts from the 3D (we allow in/in tolerance per the SPI standards in most instances). Now the sheetmetal industry has progressed to the point that our best vendors can produce from 3D models as well.

I'm not saying we have no drawings, but the dimensions on them are few.

We have 4 ME's and 2 MCAD people, in a sea of EE Hardware, Software, Firmware and QC engineers.. Believe it or not, our company will still allow a person to become an engineer without a 4-year degree. Rare, but if you are really good, you can be promoted. On of the present ME's has a 2 yr degree; and we have an Electrical hardware guy who is a Principal, and should be. Amazing breadth of knowledge.

There is also ECAD, but, like MCAD, a lot of the work, and all of the fun stuff, is done by the engineers.

TL-DR? Y8S said it pretty well in Post 60
At a previous employer, in 1992 we used Pro-E to launch a new part family and drove mfg from the models. Drawings were actually a PITA because no one involved in the process really needed them. Huge change from our Unigraphics system at the time.

That would be a 'yawner' today....
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Old 01-08-2015, 07:41 PM   #69
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Here's what I'd suggest as a technical guy:

Learn any CAD software. I suggest Pro/E or Creo no older than 1 or 2 versions.
Learn as much as you can about regulatory agencies like the FDA, UL, CSA, CE, ISO, etc.
Learn a little bit about ANSI/ASME tolerancing standards.
Learn a C programming language.
Learn the basics of analog electrical systems so you can put together a basic circuit.

Then you will be in a fun place.
I agree with all of this, but especially the bold sections. I'm currently going to be graduating with my BSME in May, and I'll be working as a Design Engineer for drivetrain and machinery at a heavy lift lattice crane company starting in June (did an internship with them in a design position this last summer). I like the design aspect of the job, but I dont like the fact its a lot of office work and mouse clicking. Its going to be a fantastic starter job, but i'll be looking to get a more hands-on design position in the future once I get more real-world experience. For now, I just save all my hands on design work for the car/bike builds I do at home

Going back to the bold sections, the places I've interned have all either been Solidworks or Pro/E, but I'd learn Pro/E first if you don't know either. Secondly, something I never really thought of before getting my internships was the number of companies that use VBA in excel to calculate pretty much anything you can imagine. I worked in Quality Engineering, Global Sourcing, and Design Engineering at various types of manufacturing facilities and all of those companies took full advantage of my VBA knowledge. I made so many calculation sheets and codes to clean up auto-generated reports its not even funny, but all those companies found that skill extremely valuable as most of the "older employees" are just happy with knowing how to use the essentials on excel let alone visual basic applications (VBA).

Turns out I actually enjoy doing VBA coding in small quantities, which is something I never would have thought of when entering college. I also figured out I hate Quality and Sourcing, so thats all valuable stuff you just have to learn the hard way
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Old 01-08-2015, 07:57 PM   #70
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Turns out I actually enjoy doing VBA coding in small quantities, which is something I never would have thought of when entering college. I also figured out I hate Quality and Sourcing, so thats all valuable stuff you just have to learn the hard way
Ditto on the VBA stuff. That was one of my hardest classes in college but I've got good use out of it at all my jobs. It also got me into LabView programming which I really enjoy and even do it as a hobby for some miata projects.
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Old 01-08-2015, 09:29 PM   #71
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LabView is a good one. It can set you apart from other candidates.

I learned how to program in FORTRAN. Great! Who cares? NASA?
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Old 01-08-2015, 09:33 PM   #72
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Matlab is also good to pick up. Its what you use when you put down excel, your ***** drop, and you become a man.
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Old 01-08-2015, 10:24 PM   #73
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Matlab is also good to pick up. Its what you use when you put down excel, your ***** drop, and you become a man.
They teach us Matlab and LabView in classes, but believe it or not I havent touched any of that in real world applications. VBA being free with the microsoft license that every company already owns for every computer it owns has its perks. TBH, I'm just sick of having to switch between all the different languages. I was in 2 summer courses dealing with Matlab and Solidworks this summer, then working with Pro/E and EES at work. talk about wanting to bang your head in remembering all the various shorcuts

EES isnt really hard software to pick up on either, but its very handy due to the simultaneous equation solving aspect.
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Old 01-09-2015, 10:31 AM   #74
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LabView is a good one. It can set you apart from other candidates.

I learned how to program in FORTRAN. Great! Who cares? NASA?
Yes.

We use LabView in our big testing chambers downstairs.

I think we pay a contractor something like a $130/hr whenever we need to make programming adjustments, have problems, etc.
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Old 01-09-2015, 10:53 AM   #75
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I'm an engineer. The one skill I wish I had known to invest more time in while in school was control systems and programming. I monitor the techical job market pretty regularly to see what the demand and availability of qualified workers is. The vast majority of the open positions that I see is for software development and data management/analysis. There are so many opportunities to use simple programming skills to execute redundant tasks in the work that I do. Things like processing and sorting electrinic records or creating/modifying material databases. At least in the midwest, it is difficult to find the right people that are prequalified or have previous relevant experience to contribute. Relevant experience goes a long way. If you can avoid it, do not settle for just any job if you have time to continue looking. It's so easy to distinguish a resume from someone who settled for the first odder after graduation versus the onss that fought for something better.
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Old 01-09-2015, 11:21 AM   #76
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Yes.

We use LabView in our big testing chambers downstairs.

I think we pay a contractor something like a $130/hr whenever we need to make programming adjustments, have problems, etc.
This is my goal as a part time side job income. LabView contractor. It sucks that internal test engineers at a company that often do labview programming don't get paid to well but the outside contractors do.

Last edited by cyotani; 01-09-2015 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 01-09-2015, 11:26 AM   #77
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Very true. I worked with a systems programmer that had a criminal record, so he needed to be escorted around the plant, but he made about $120k/yr and paid cash for everything.
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Old 01-10-2015, 02:57 AM   #78
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So far what I've learned in this thread is that 100% of MT users are engineers.

BTW:
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Old 01-10-2015, 03:53 PM   #79
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So far what I've learned in this thread is that 100% of MT users are engineers.
More like 99.9%. Brain claims to be a graphical designer or something like that.
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Old 01-10-2015, 03:55 PM   #80
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So far what I've learned in this thread is that 100% of MT users are engineers.
Why I love this thread/forum
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