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What'd I do?
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How did you learn CAD?

I've missed my opportunity to do it in college, so now I'm on my own. I figger my next option is a community college if I wanna take a class. Is it worth it?

I've learned hand drafting and rendering, but everything is on one them electric machines now and I don't know the language.



 

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Captain Obvious
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i think a community college might be best bet. i would think you'd learn faster and more.
 

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Zaphod Beeblebrox
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If your looking to get a job as a draftsman or designer you pretty much need to get some kind of degree or certificate from formal training. Employers don't care if you taught yourself how to do stuff.
 

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What'd I do?
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
DLMKA said:
If your looking to get a job as a draftsman or designer you pretty much need to get some kind of degree or certificate from formal training. Employers don't care if you taught yourself how to do stuff.
For theatrical application, they'll believe you if you tell them, and give them a drawing. However, I'm moving away from DC, so theater is less of an option. I'm looking at shop jobs right now, but I'll need to learn CAD most likely for any advancement. I figure I've got a year before I get bored with that.
 

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had it in the ear before
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technical schools have good engineering graphics certifications (fancy piece of paper saying I R a draftsman). Nobody I do work for asks if I have a degree (which I dont, i'm a civil engineer flunkee) but rather would look at a portfolio of past work or resume of experience. It's the same old catch 22 w/ how do i get experience if no one will hire anyone w/out experience sometimes. I lucked out and took drafting in high school w/ some kids who's family owned a structural steel shop and they were willing to train me on the job while I went to college for engineering. I guess what i'm trying to say is your best bet would be a course at a CC or tech school, get ur certificate and try to hire on as a CAD jockey for whatever field ur looking to get into. Honestly sitting in front of a computer all day blows and i'd rather grow flowers for a living. HTH.
 

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What'd I do?
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
gutfiddle said:
technical schools have good engineering graphics certifications (fancy piece of paper saying I R a draftsman). Nobody I do work for asks if I have a degree (which I dont, i'm a civil engineer flunkee) but rather would look at a portfolio of past work or resume of experience. It's the same old catch 22 w/ how do i get experience if no one will hire anyone w/out experience sometimes. I lucked out and took drafting in high school w/ some kids who's family owned a structural steel shop and they were willing to train me on the job while I went to college for engineering. I guess what i'm trying to say is your best bet would be a course at a CC or tech school, get ur certificate and try to hire on as a CAD jockey for whatever field ur looking to get into. Honestly sitting in front of a computer all day blows and i'd rather grow flowers for a living. HTH.
Right now I'm looking for literacy, not a career in drafting. I'd rather spend time in the shop, eventually running it. I'd estimate maybe 25-60% of any job I get with long term prospects would be spent at a computer, mostly making working drawings from designs, but nothing too technical (from the engineering point of view).
 

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After Architectural school, in the good ole' days when we drafted by hand, I actually lied to my first future employer and told them I knew AutoCad. (Version 12, DOS based). I had one class in school (Version 10) but I did not know AutoCad and did not know how buildings were really constructed. Architectural school is theoretical and for the most part not applicable in the real world of construction, cost and the legal aspects of, I digress.

I got the job, sat at the computer, turned to the guy next to me and asked him how to turn on the computer.

That was 18 years ago.

I did have an Architectural degree but cannot speak of know or if a drafting degree might help one get a draftsmans job.

We did hired a guy a few years ago that had been and still is one of the best hand drafters I had ever met but we required him to take a AutoCad class. Beginner class.
He came out still asking a ton of questions but AutoCad, MicoStation, Drawbase, etc. is not rocket science.

It might serve you well to take a class but experience would serve you better.

Not sure how good tech schools are. I worked with a gal that taught cad in the evenings.
She was an idiot and could not draft for sh*t. Guttfiddle said it best, "Honestly sitting in front of a computer all day blows and i'd rather grow flowers for a living" or growing weed.

Good luck with your path. I would never take this road again but I feel that I am too deep to get out. If something came up and presented itself, I would not have a second thought of moving on.
 

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The people who sell and service the software also have tutorials and classes available. Check out soildworks.com and go from there. It's pretty popular right now with different shops. I use it and sometimes with different CAM software and have never been out of work for more then an hour. I use to teach CAD/CAM at a vocational school in So. Cal.
 

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had it in the ear before
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pigpen said:
Good luck with your path. I would never take this road again but I feel that I am too deep to get out. If something came up and presented itself, I would not have a second thought of moving on.
if i had a nickel for everytime i heard that in the field well i could atleast buy a new frame.
 

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had it in the ear before
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StageHand said:
Right now I'm looking for literacy, not a career in drafting. I'd rather spend time in the shop, eventually running it. I'd estimate maybe 25-60% of any job I get with long term prospects would be spent at a computer, mostly making working drawings from designs, but nothing too technical (from the engineering point of view).
if your just looking for the fundamentals (there are probably a half dozen commands that you use repeatedly and will get you by majority of basic things you might want to do to edit or view drawings) then you can buy a tutorial disc and go thru it or a cad textbook w/ excersises that will teach you that. Most draftsman use stand alone software or something trade specific that supplements CAD (such as solidworks or xsteel) and knowing these programs ontop of cad is neccessary. Anywho, good luck to you and I hope you find a good mix of field work to break up the monotony of CAD.
 

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What'd I do?
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
gutfiddle said:
if your just looking for the fundamentals (there are probably a half dozen commands that you use repeatedly and will get you by majority of basic things you might want to do to edit or view drawings) then you can buy a tutorial disc and go thru it or a cad textbook w/ excersises that will teach you that. Most draftsman use stand alone software or something trade specific that supplements CAD (such as solidworks or xsteel) and knowing these programs ontop of cad is neccessary. Anywho, good luck to you and I hope you find a good mix of field work to break up the monotony of CAD.
For the work I'm doing now, even Vectorworks would be fine, I'll work on that myself for now. Long term, though, I've got no guarantees of staying in theater, so autoCAD would be a little more valuable. (I have a suspicion that many larger companies use CAD anyway so . . . )

I'll look into CC classes and vendor classes and see what I can find.

Thanks for the input y'all.
 

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RBR Veteran Opinionater
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Autocad is horrible, and many bizzes in many sectors are moving away from it. figure out as specifficaly as you can what kind of drafting or design you want to do, find people who do that kind of work and ask them what program they use and where they see thier industry going in terms of a drafting standard.

ps - autocad no bueno
 

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What'd I do?
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
brujenn said:
Autocad is horrible, and many bizzes in many sectors are moving away from it. figure out as specifficaly as you can what kind of drafting or design you want to do, find people who do that kind of work and ask them what program they use and where they see thier industry going in terms of a drafting standard.

ps - autocad no bueno
Another thing I was afraid of.

What are the odds that once I learn one or two programs, reading and adapting to others is much less work?

Me = 1,001 + optimistic
 

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What'd I do?
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
BentChainring said:
Learned it on my own... just by working with the program.
While you were in school/for school projects, or just messing around with other stuff?

In the theater program I'm graduating from, they have a semester course in computer drafting (Vectorworks) for theater, but it didn't work in my schedule, so I never took it. Only one other class requires you to know the program, and I didn't take that either. Maybe I'll go through my hand drafting exercises on the computer . . .
 

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jaded bitter joy crusher
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BentChainring said:
Learned it on my own... just by working with the program.
Same with me. Pretty much all engineers and scientists I know picked up their machine-shop, drafting, and circuit board skills informally.
 

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Festina Lente'
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My experience with drafting and CAD.
-If you are good spatially, can understand how to get the forms you want, and are computer literate CAD is easy.
-If you are not good spatially, or are not the best with computers its much harder.

Half of learning a CAD package is learning what features it has, and how to employ them. Drawing stuff is easy.

Oh ya, and now, CAD referrs to model based design, rather than drawing based.... So you produce solid models, and create drawings for machinists based on the model.
 

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jaded bitter joy crusher
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BentChainring said:
Oh ya, and now, CAD referrs to model based design, rather than drawing based.... So you produce solid models, and create drawings for machinists based on the model.
Is autocad at that level now. I've been away from engineering design for a number of years and when I last checked in, Autocad was more suited to drawings and things like ProEngineer were much more suited to solid modeling.

Another important part of the learning process for me was spending time talking to machinists about what they needed in drawings. You get more useful information from a 5 minute conversation with a machinist about why your drawing sucks than an hour in a classroom or with an instruction manual.
 
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