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RE: Engineering Education

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And I would say that you should be talking about the same thing...just a
different medium.  After all, CAD stands for Computer Aided Drafting (or
you can talk about CADD = Computer Aided Drafting and Design).  Thus, CAD
is/should be DRAFTING but just with a computer.

But you are corret in that the key is that "CAD Training" should not just
be which buttons to push, what command to type, etc.  "CAD Training"
should also including the basics of drafting, which are the same whether
by hand or by computer.  These would be in essence basic TECHNICAL DRAWING
(aka DRAFTING) skills.

To reinforce this, my "CAD" course started with an intensive 2 week hand
drafting lesson/refresher.  The course that I took was a mechnical course,
so we hand drafted (and later by computer) mechanical "dudads".  This
meant things like drawing isometric views from side and top views.  The
whole point of the basics was to be able to first "visualize" the thing to
be drawn so that you could then put that "vision" accurately on paper.  To
a large degree it matters little when dealing with the basics of
drafting/CAD WHAT you draw, but it would have been a little more helpful
if my course had be more "future profession" specific (i.e. structural
related rather than mechanical), but not necessary.

The problem that you encounter is that many CAD types understand how to
work the software, but don't understand drafting basics _AND_ also don't
understand how what they are drafting (either by computer or hand) really
goes together.  The former (drafting basics) is independent of what is
being drawn, but the later requires some knowledge of how buildings (or
bridges or cars or whatever) goes together.  After all, if you don't
understand how something goes together, how in the world are you going to
"explain" that on a piece of paper for someone else to understand?  So, it
more than just teaching good drafting skills.  And that is where our real
problem lies...many "CAD operators" (even those that are taught good
drafting skills by hand first that then go over to computers) are NOT
taught about how something like a building is put together.  And even many
young engineers are not taught that in school _OR_ even on the job.

Regards,

Scott
Ypsilanti, MI


On Tue, 2 Dec 2003, Bill Polhemus wrote:

> I loath the term "CAD Training" because I associate it with those thrilling
> days of yesteryear, when the focus suddenly shifted from the work actually
> being produced, to how to use the tool (CAD).
>
> The rising generation grew up with computers. There is no need for "CAD
> Training" any longer, because the software is both cheap and easy to use.
>
> What is needed is a return to DRAFTING, and a shift in focus BACK to the
> actual work being performed and away from the obsession with how to use the
> tool.
>
> Computers are no longer "new technology." They are old hat, and we need to
> recognize that and get beyond the "how to use the tool" mindset.
>
> BTW, not implying that's what you are doing, personally, but the
> disappointing failure of CAD to live up to the hype from fifteen (even
> twenty!) years ago has much to do, I think, with a loss of skills that used
> to be common with the "board draftsman." Too many of the youngsters (and
> even the not-so-young) have never been given the opportunity to learn the
> principles behind what they are trying to achieve.
>
> We still pretty much use Euclidean geometry, even if represented by pixels
> instead of graphite. We should never have lost sight of that.
>
> William L. Polhemus, Jr. P.E.
> Polhemus Engineering Company
> Katy, Texas USA
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: David L. Fisher [mailto:dfisher(--nospam--at)fpse.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2003 10:12 AM
> To: seaint(--nospam--at)seaint.org
> Subject: RE: Engineering Education
>
> Well Mike, I invest at least one year (sometimes more) waiting for them to
> be truly productive.
>
> During that time, they learn how to:
>
> - Draft (very few have any REAL CAD training...)
>
>
>
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