Is it possible to teach yourself to use cad?

Discussion in 'Shop - Fabrication' started by Rough_Rider_Racing, Jul 9, 2011.

  1. Rough_Rider_Racing

    Rough_Rider_Racing Member

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    Apr 21, 2011
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Im quite intrigued by the cad programs. Is it possible to teach yourself to use cad and if so is there a basic entry level program i should look for?
  2. Mark Newhan

    Mark Newhan Well-Known Member

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    Nov 22, 2005
    Location:
    Lakeside, ca.
    Anyone can learn. You can purchase a student version of any Autocad or SolidWorks. SW comes with tutorials and once you learn the way the program works it comes pretty easily. You can also go to Youtube and watch some lessons.
  3. Rough_Rider_Racing

    Rough_Rider_Racing Member

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    Apr 21, 2011
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    The reason i ask is im just over paying people to build the stuff thats in my head. Just thought id try and get a basic version of cad and try and make some stuff myself. Am i correct in assuming that i can put programs on a disk (or flash drive) and take it to the laser cutter to get my parts cut out???
  4. atomicjoe23

    atomicjoe23 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Location:
    Silverdale, WA
    Absolutely you can teach yourself CAD. . .as Mark stated, there are tutorials available (do an Amazon search), YouTube videos, etc. . .

    . . .another great option is to take a night class at your local community college, most of them offer CAD classes (mine offers AutoCAD, Solidworks, and SolidEdge. . .I have taken all three and they were all taught by practicing engineers/architects who used the program daily) and you can learn a LOT in a short period of time, but if money is an issue you can learn it by yourself as well, it might just take a little longer initially. . .once you learn the basics you are pretty much only limited by your imagination and willingness to learn new CAD techniques.
  5. JARDINE

    JARDINE Member

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  6. DesertGuy1

    DesertGuy1 Active Member

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    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Palm Springs
    Owen, teaching yourself a CAD program is a fairly easy task... for the most part. A few hard lessons I learned along the way:

    Buy a student or learning edition of a higher level CAD program, such as Solidworks or similar. Don't bother with the cheap programs as you will be learning a new program anyway and as you progress... you quickly discover their shortfalls. Buy "commercial" grade from the get go...

    I understand not wanting to pay to get your ideas in tangible form but realize there is a trade-off. Someone that "knows" what they are doing can knock out a part in short order while someone learning will have many detours... there is a reason why those that spent the time studying CAD programs charge what they do... time is money. As an example, when making a part, I will get to the same place (eventually) but sometimes need to go on an expedition to get there. Another point, simply getting the part into the computer is rather easy, it is knowing all of the design parameters where professionals excel. Ultimately, it is the process of learning design parameters and how to manipulate the program within those boundaries that takes the time.

    Fumbling around in the program or searching the internet for tutorials is a great tool in learning... for personal knowledge only. If you are looking to produce or do commercial work, formal education is paramount, IMHO. I am positive that I have developed non-efficient habits that would not fly in a commercial (production) setting. Since my work is for personal needs, I'm OK with that.

    In the end, yes you are right... Make the parts, package the files and send them out to be lasered/water-jetted/etc...

    With that said, CAD is a powerful tool and once you get the hang of it... its addictive.

    Good Luck
  7. CRAIG_HALL

    CRAIG_HALL Well-Known Member

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    San Diego
  8. atomicjoe23

    atomicjoe23 Well-Known Member

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    Silverdale, WA
    VERY addictive!!!
  9. atomicjoe23

    atomicjoe23 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the link Craig. . .good looking stuff!!!
  10. Rough_Rider_Racing

    Rough_Rider_Racing Member

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    Apr 21, 2011
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    Melbourne, Australia
    Thanks for the quick responses guys. I definitely wont be doing anything on a commercial level. Lets put it this way...... is still cant weld to save myself lol. Hangin out on this forum is a bad influence on me. I am gona pick up a good welder and my couple of my friends who are great welders are willing to teach me. I appreciate good fab work and just want to be able to build stuff for myself that not only is strong and functional but looks trick too. So i though why no get a basic cad program and make use of my time on the couch at home on the laptop and play around and design some cool shizzle (damn swear filter lol). Even if i dont make the parts i design it would be good to just see in front of me what is in my head, if ya know what i mean.
  11. atomicjoe23

    atomicjoe23 Well-Known Member

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    Feb 2, 2008
    Location:
    Silverdale, WA
    Go for it man. . .you will get hooked, I promise you!
  12. Rough_Rider_Racing

    Rough_Rider_Racing Member

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    Apr 21, 2011
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    what kind of price would i be up for to get the student versions of solid works or similar?
  13. atomicjoe23

    atomicjoe23 Well-Known Member

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    Feb 2, 2008
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    The last time I bought a student version of SW's it was $85 with a 24-month license that was two years ago. . .should still be about $85, but I think the license changed to a 14 month one. . .
  14. Rough_Rider_Racing

    Rough_Rider_Racing Member

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    Apr 21, 2011
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    Melbourne, Australia
    Looks like a friend of mine has an extra licence for Autodesk Inventor. WOOOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!! Ive just spent the last 4 hours lookin at tutorials on youtube and i dont even have the program yet! lol Cant wait now! From the look of it inventor and SW are roughly the same level of program with similar features.
  15. atomicjoe23

    atomicjoe23 Well-Known Member

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    Never used Inventor so I couldn't say. . .
  16. ErikShallbetter

    ErikShallbetter Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2005
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Go to Alibre.com They make 3d software as well and have a free version that will allow you to begin using the software and learning it. I think you can get a license for about a grand. I used it for 2 years before getting solidworks and it worked extremely well for the money. I built a pro-lite and pro-2 with it.
  17. Offset Photography

    Offset Photography Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2005
    Location:
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Go with the major names out there. Solidworks, AutoCAD, etc. I learned the bare minimum in high schools drafting class, then I kept taking it past their curriculum so my teacher got me one of those big books of exercises and had me start at page one then go to the end. If you have the time, I'd say to do that. It worked well for me, now I use CAD everyday getting paid for it.

    Also, if trying to learn AutoCAD, go to www.we-r-here.com/CAD

    Very good online tutorials. I use those for ideas when I teach my CAD class at my unions apprenticeship school.
  18. atomicjoe23

    atomicjoe23 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    Location:
    Silverdale, WA
    The tutorials available online and in the books are a great way to learn the programs. . .that is/was ~50% of what we did in the classrooms, supplemented by exercises created by the instructors which utilized the concepts learned in the tutorials.
  19. Rough_Rider_Racing

    Rough_Rider_Racing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2011
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    i just spoke to a friend of mine here that designs bridges and overpasses and he uses autocad every day. When i get my hands on the program hes gona teach me the basics of line drawing ect and then i can transfer that knowledge to autodesk inventor and begin expanding skills from there into the world of 3d modeling.
  20. PDANK Racing

    PDANK Racing Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2010
    Location:
    Green Bay,WI
    Slightly off topic, but related.
    What is a good manual to learn how to measure for solidworks/ cad. Something that covers compound curves and progressive curves(not sure if these are the exact terms but only way I can think of describing them). Are there any specialty measuring tools that are used to measure irregular curves?

    I am building a tube bumper for a 2001 F-150 and would like to draw it in solidworks, but don't know how to measure the curves accurately. The horizontal tube is one continuous piece rolled to match the grill radius and wrap around each side, with a uniform gap. I don't need the measurements to build the bumper, that's almost done. I would like to have an accurate drawing, so I can reproduce the part at a later date.
    Any ideas are appreciated.
    Thank you
    Pete
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2011

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