Today is not an era where any industry is relay on Paper-Pencil-Drafter skill in engineering drawing. The market is very fast and so product development cycle is faster too. So must have skilled in computer aided engineering drawing.
Instead of asking to other “which CAD software should I learn”, I would recommend you to ask yourself the same question. Once you ask to yourself, your mind will answer you choose one which is best. This answer of your mind will be very general. Now you will be confused because there is a number of CAD software available in market. Again you will find another problem statement into your mind, find some experience person who can suggest you. The problem will be followed by another, where would I find the experience engineer who can suggest you and somehow you will manage to find person who is experience but what is the probability that he will suggest you a suggestion which is true for all always until or unless you belief with close eyes? So why don’t we ask this question to our self and analyses for solution.
Let’s analyses by yourself:
There are number of CAD tools available in market like Auto CAD, Solid works, Ideas, CATIA, Pro-e, Creo, NX-Unigraphics, Solid Edge etc.
Now first of all ask question to yourself;
Why these CAD software tools required?
Ans: No need to invest cost to make real physical product to realize & study for feasibility and to make virtual 3D model to realize products shape, size, package space, number of parts and assembly methods, to analyses kinematics if there is moving parts and then to make virtual drawing sheets of modeled parts or assembly etc.
Today’s CAD software packages offers with number of analysis tools and engineering advantages.
Why there is so many such CAD tools required for same purpose of 3D realization?
Ans: Every CAD software package is designed keeping some factors in mind
- Cost and Maintenance
- Time required to model same product
- Powerful in 3D solid modeling
- Powerful in creating 2D drawing sheets
- Powerful in creating sheet metal design
- Powerful in creating A-Class surfaces
- Surface and solid model integration to create complex shape
Every CAD software package has all modules like solid modeling, surface modeling, sheet metal module, 2D drawing module etc. Simply you can say some CAD software packages have cost advantage and some have flexibility advantage so, now according to the needs industry buy software and make use of it.
Why we need CAD software tools?
Ans: The main advantage of CAD packages is realization of product without making physical part or assembly. In CAD we can create any shape and size 3D model that helps to imagine the product.
If you think of your engineering first year days when you learned engineering graphics or engineering drawing. The first lesion of this subject is “Engineering drawing is language of engineer”. Let’s justify this statement in context of CAD software. We are engineers, we have to design or make products with our imagination. Suppose you have an idea of some product which some shape and size, also how it looks from front, top, right and seeing from at an angle.
Now you took your drafter and starts making same sketches and views to draw on paper that what kind of product you imagine. This method of making drawing takes long time and there is very little 3D realization of product you have drawn. But in CAD you are able to make directly 3D model of your idea and then you can create quick 2D drawing. Not only this you can modify the model and change any parameter.
Which one is best?
Ans: I personally do not think that which is best because if I cannot able to make 3D model of desired product that we are planning to manufacture because of shape complexity or any parameter which is mentioned above then what is the use of software that we have. So every industry which have design capability and use CAD packages only based on the product they design. Some of the company uses more than one CAD software packages. Do not waste time on thinking which is best.
Think like and engineer:
If you consider yourself as an engineer and you have to select a CAD package to create an 3D model and drawings then you have answer to your question that which software you should use.
If you are intended to get job:
Then you must think of software which is major used in industries. But always remember that every software package is capable of doing module like solid modeling, surface modeling, sheet metal modeling and drafting.
Automotive industries are one of the best examples where CAD software for 3D modeling and drafting is extensively used through life cycle of product. Not only this, their suppliers are also using CAD packages extensively. You also can refer below comments to justify your question.
AutoCAD – Mainly used for 2D drafting where 3D model is not required and plays very imp role.
Autodesk Inventor – Parametric Software from the makers of AutoCAD pretty widely used. Used by medium to small companies.
UG NX – If you want to work in automotive for the big 3 or a tier 1 then you wants this. They all use it.
CATIA – I guess it’s used in Aerospace and Automotive too.
Pro/E or Creo – I always called it Pro/E but I guess it’s called Creo now. Strongly recommended for parametric solid modeling and sheet metal modelling.
Solidworks – One class does not an expert make and Solidworks is awesome. Becoming really good at this may help you in school because I feel it’s the quickest 3D CAD out there which makes it great for class projects as they rarely run into scale problems that would be helped with a more advanced software.
Last but not least, if you are mechanical engineer you must have strong skills in engineering drawing. Most important part of this blog is today is not an era where any industry is relay on Paper-Pencil-Drafter skill in engineering drawing. The market is very fast and so product development cycle is faster too. So must have skilled in computer aided engineering drawing.