Learning to CAD

I've finally learned how to do basic CAD! I've been looking to learn it since at least junior high school. At the time, I was largely discouraged I lacked awareness of standard CAD products, and the cost of software licenses was prohibitive. I was recently encouraged to learn CAD after I joined an engineering club where the members of the mechanical engineering teams use Autodesk Inventor to prototype physical products before manufacture.

I followed the built-in tutorials in to get a basic understanding of parts, assemblies, drawings, and how they relate to each other. I felt extremely happy when introduced to drawings. It brought back memories of the hours spent in tabulating bills of materials, and drawing isometric and orthographic projections on pieces of A3 sized papers using a drawing board. With paper, when the dimensions had to change, new drawings had to be made from scratch. In contrast, with CAD, it's just so easy to modify dimensions in parts and have dimensions 'propagate' through assemblies and drawings. No more laborious hand drawings and shading.

(Side note: I have just been reading about constraint propagation and constraint networks through the Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs. It is also interesting to note that there was a computer program called SKETCHPAD in the 1960s. Incredibly futuristic.)

CAD seems like a good medium of expression. I expect that CAD will become my preferred way of expressing physical ideas. Really looking forward to designing mechanical machines and run them in simulation. Thinking about lots of gears and engines... Model aircraft design (e.g. airfoils) could be possible too.

Here are pictures from some of the first experiences.

Autodesk Inventor built-in tutorials Following the built-in tutorials. Autodesk Inventor drawing Autodesk Inventor exploded drawing Learning about drawings.

I've been practicing by trying to draw out the things I imagine. So far, this has not always been successful. There is still more to learn.

Attempt at making an assembly Things do not always appear as imagined.