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A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

(OP)
Some of you will understand what I'm asking right away (or have bemoaned this themselves) but for the rest I will explain what I'm considering and why I'm asking:

There is a difference... in fact there is a very wide gulf... between the ability to select and place the drafting icons on your CAD screen, and the ability to produce a clear, concise, and adequately detailed drawing that a fabricator can use to produce the part or assembly correctly. The distinction is important to me. Many students come out of school knowing the former. Few are taught the latter, formally. I wasn't either, but I was lucky that I started in workplaces with people prepared to teach and they set me on the right track. I think it's my turn to do the same for my younger co-workers. They are currently churning out crap.

I work with a large (~30) team of engineers who, for the most part, have a lot of experience with CAD, mostly CATIA and Inventor (SW and AutoCAD take strong runner-up places) but few of them have any training at all in preparing good drawings. Sure, they know what a hidden line is, but few know when to use it for effect and clarity. What I want to do is to create a drawing class for this group so that they can produce better, more clear drawings for the fabricators that use them. I have just completed a project where the average rate of shop error, query, revision, or change notice rate is roughly 10 per drawing. The time wasted on these frequently exceeded the original drawing time. While I don't believe that the engineering dep't has to take responsibility for all production errors, I have personally seen many errors that could be traced back to confusing instructions on drawings.

I have started preparing to give a course that does the following:
  • Teaches good techniques for detail, assembly, and installation drawings
  • Shows examples of good drawings and bad, and discusses the reasons
  • Gives the engineers strategies to prevent omissions on their drawings
  • Prepares the engineers to lay out a drawing package in a logical order before making the first drawing
...and by the way, I do not want the class to:
  • Teach the minutiae of the company's drawings standard - they can read that for themselves
  • Teach where to click the button to make a feature appear - that course already exists
  • Hold their hands (or their mice, either) - the point is to make the hand-holding stop
  • Point fingers at anyone who has more difficulty than others
I have been looking for such a course and have yet to find one. The courses I find all seem to be about "how to click the button". So I decided to start designing a course of my own.

I confess that I'm old enough that I can say I took 3 drafting courses, with boards, pencils, rulers and such in school. I think I'm the beneficiary of that, and I'd like to pass it on, just in a way that doesn't force these kids to use a #2HB. There won't be much point in trying this if I start off on the wrong foot giving them the impression that "my way is better" or that something archaic is good for them. I love CAD and I know that CAD can be used to make excellent drawings because I've seen it done.

For those tempted to remind me that management has to care before all of this happens, I agree. I have been laying the groundwork in the minds of my superiors and their superiors for a few months, and "taking the temperature" before I make my case. I believe I am ready to do that, with facts and numbers of dollars saved by the company, or cost if not done.
Also made a few allies.

Does anyone have suggestions for making this course a success?

STF

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

I would probably make examples from existing drawings and their subsequent changes to show where things were left confusing. It might also be of worth to take the original versions of drawings that were found to be incomplete or confusing and have them build CAD models from them to see where they get stuck.

For procedure based (history) models, having people create drawings one feature at a time as a discipline for checking that the drawing reflects a minimum of the model structure is helpful.

Other than that, good luck. The people who get drawings out fast, but garbage, are typically more rewarded than the ones that have to come back an fix the damage. I'm not sure how to fix that.

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Amen to fast garbage. One of my employers' "best" designers never erased anything. Need a new feature? He'd add a new bracket. ... to an existing bracket. ... which was attached to another bracket, etc. Our fastener costs were outrageous. ... but the Drafting Super loved the guy.

;--

I tend to use more liberal tolerances and/or smarter design on my home projects, where I am both designer and sole fabricator.

Sort of along those lines, it might be educational to assign a project, say a multipart assembly, where everyone in class designs a single one of the parts and produces a drawing. Then they rotate, and everybody checks somebody else's work. After working out the resulting disagreements, everyone gets to fabricate a part that they neither designed nor checked, then the music plays for a bit, and everyone inspects a part that someone else made. Then the class tries to assemble the end product.

The first thing that came to mind was a Shaker Candle Box, or something similar, made from a softwood like pine, with a fine tooth pull saw, a coping saw, a combination square, a utility knife, and a 1/4" wood chisel. I.e., no power tools allowed. I made a pretty crude one that way in about 3 afternoons last summer, so six people might be able to make one in a long afternoon. There are six parts in all, including some stopped rabbets and some handcut dovetails. The rabbets are pretty loose. The dovetails are more of a challenge; I'd allow an angle gage or a protractor or maybe a template for them.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

(OP)
Musical chairs, I love it.
Don't know if I'll be granted enough time to do it, but if I set time limits for each step, it might be possible.
The practical fabrication would be a difficult sell, though... Might be more direct to have the assembly on a table for them to inspect, and CAD models of each part ready in advance. That way the lesson only concerns drawing the parts, checking their neighbours' work, and inspecting the original parts against the resulting drawing.

STF

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Put them in a shop and force them to make parts from their drawings.

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Sparweb,
Maybe you should take them back to some of the old drafting books such as " Basic Technical Drawing." MacMillan. or Mechanical drawing em960 These books pre date Y14, but they have a common theme: The working Drawing is a complete set of drawings such that the object represented can be built from it/them alone without additional information.

The Tick ,
I really like your idea, That way they put their money where their mouth is.

In the drawing office where I first started drafting, ( I came to the office from the shop floor ), was a large sign on the wall it said " Questions are free, nobody gets paid for them."

B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Quote (berkshire)

The working Drawing is a complete set of drawings such that the object represented can be built from it/them alone without additional information.

Haven't seen it for a long time. Nowadays drawings represent "function" whatever that means. Generations of professionals are raised, who are not only tolerant of their complete ignorance of how parts are made, but proud of it.

Star to you for bringing back the old truth.

"For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert"
Arthur C. Clarke Profiles of the future

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

I took a GD&T class from where we were taught to think of inspection and fabrication when dimensioning our parts, not necessarily only function. I think this went a long way to help me become a better design engineer. Understanding how the parts were made and inspected is not something I learned in school so found that part of the course extremely useful...

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

(OP)
Berkshire, "...old drafting books..."
How about "Ye Olde-Tyme Draughting Course"

These guys are millennials. I don't want to frighten them!

STF

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Combination of Mike's and Tick's ideas, in recognition that getting a class of designers in front of bridgeports is unlikely.

Everyone gets a part to model and make a drawing.

Musical chairs: Everyone gets to model someone else's part from nothing except the drawing.

Continue: See what the final CAD assembly of the second generation models looks like.



RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Let me add my two cents.

Remind the class the purpose of a engineering drawing (Y14.5 is for engineered parts) is to communicate design intent, NOT make pretty pictures or tell someone how to make or inspect the part. Also, explain that drawings/CAD "show" the perfect part, and since nothing is prefect, that tolerances tell how bad it can get/be. Next, like in grade school, we learn to communicate by reading first and writing second. Making drawings is writing. I bet few have had a print reading class before CAD classes.

As TheTick post eluded too, let them be the audience (reader) for a while not the presenter (writer). Get a machinist AND inspector in the class to show them how he/she reads (interprets) what they have written. This will help them understand what drawing information is needed by shop personnel to make parts for a profit and keep them having a job. A bit simplistic, and getting a class together to do this is complex, but I believe this is what is missing.

Certified Sr. GD&T Professional

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Quote (mkcski)

Also, explain that drawings/CAD "show" the perfect part, and since nothing is prefect

I see what you did there... glasses

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Sparweb,
"Ye Olde-Tyme Draughting Course"

I am a bit long in the tooth, but I did not want to go there
Non the less when I started in the Draughting office as a detail Draughtsman, I knew from Technical college how to do an orthographic drawing, or so I thought. I quickly got that beaten out of me, I was told in no uncertain terms that a drawing was not just a pretty picture, it was a set of technical instructions to the shop floor in Graphic form, you now have to learn to write them. The lead draughtsman then proceeded to ride herd on me until I got it,
This is the position you are now in, you have to go beat some pre conceived notions out of a bunch of guys who " Know how to draw.", but really don't. You started at the bottom of the barrel like me, and had a set of mentors who kept you on the right track, now like it or not, its your turn in that barrel .
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Another variation on what's already been said.

Before the class, create a series of drawings.

In the class, have them create a model from a drawing - retrieve the drawings after use, so that they can't be used as templates.

Then have someone else create the drawing for the model, and print the drawings.

Delete (or hide) the model, and give the original person the new drawing to see if they can recreate the model - without informing them that it's the drawing you originally gave them.

The frustration of trying to create a model from an incomplete drawing should teach them why they need good drawings.

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

berkshire:
Your statement "The working Drawing is a complete set of drawings such that the object represented can be built from it/them alone without additional information." is WAY off the mark. The engineering drawing (see the definition in ASME Y14.100) is an engineering and inspection document that is intended to portray the end-item. It may be used to make an end-item without additional information but that is often not the case. The drawing must be concise and sufficient and, except for special processes that are not widely known in the industry, needs to be free of process (manufacturing) details as much as possible. The drawing says WHAT to make not HOW to make it.

For example, there are industry specs (SAE perhaps now that so many mil standards are coming under their stewardship) that describe in detail the proper installation of helical coil inserts. This process may be involved and it takes a lengthy spec to cover all the bases. But those installation details are left OFF the drawing so the drawing does not need a long, tedious note or two to explain how to install the helicoil. For a complex end-item, if the drawing must include all the necessary "HOW TO" information then that drawing becomes a living, breathing beast chock full of notes that will be under constant revision to fix this process detail or that process detail. Let the specs work for you! If information can be obtained from a spec under the purview of a formal standardizing organization, then that organization will insure that the process information is clear and sufficient to successfully carry out that process.

I just came from a company who required that, for a purchased custom transformer, for example, all electrical requirements be stated on the drawing with no other separate requirements specs called out in the notes. The E-sized drawing had the first three sheets filled with notes and tables laying out the electrical requirements. It would have been MUCH easier to have a separate A-sized spec called out in a note that spelled out the electrical requirements while leaving the rest of the drawing to describe the form and fit. This way the drawing could have been one, maybe two C-sized sheets. It is much easier to make revisions with a word processor than with a CAD system. And the person doing the revisions doesn't have to be a well-paid engineer or designer (a typist can work from a redline provided by the EE). At this company, how drawings were prepared was controlled by top management, not Engineering. That was pretty obvious by looking at their custom component drawings!

Tunalover

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

tunalover,

On my drawings in SolidWorks, when I specify tapped holes, I delete the tap drill specification. When I call up any thread inserts, I specify that they are to be installed as per the manufacturer's specifications. My drawings show that there are tapped holes and that there are thread inserts. It is assumed that the fabricator knows how to implement them. My drawings describe what I will accept from the fabricator. I think this meets Berkshire's description.

--
JHG

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Quote (drawoh)

when I specify tapped holes, I delete the tap drill specification. When I call up any thread inserts, I specify that they are to be installed as per the manufacturer's specifications.

This is exactly how I do it too.

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

SparWeb,

I learned to draw on the job by asking questions, looking at examples, looking up the standards and most importantly having my drawings bled over by folks that new what they were doing. This drawing check also involve some chastisement (mostly in the form of being given a good ribbing) enough that it made it painful to submit a bad drawing so driving me to give good ones. Not sure you'll be able to really address it in a class but...

I'd love to give a diatribe but haven't been able to find time so a few ideas:

1) Give them some general appreciation/guidelines of what helps make a good drawing beyond just doing exercises. You may choose to do an initial exercise first before giving them guidelines but still.

a. General appearance - cramped drawings with uneven dimension spacing and random font size & orientation ... make it harder to use.
b. Overlapping dimensions
c. Avoid dimensions in the field of view whenever possible
d. Don't randomly change template settings etc. (assuming your templates and pre sets etc. are correct)
e. Think about subsequent users of the drawing, not just the machinist & inspectors etc. but what about the Engineer or draftsman that is looking at it in a few years time because of some problem in production

I'm sure you have a more complete list.

2) How about giving them some guidance on how to review their own work for completeness? For instance when I used to check drawings and still on my own for simple part drawing I basically take the print and give or take do the following using yellow pencil to indicate 'good' and red to make corrections (and occasionally blue for non mandatory suggestions or check calculations etc. when checking someone else work):

a. Read the notes.
b. Check for datum structure and general dimension scheme & make sure they reflect function.
c. Check all the dimensions for the outline/primary geometry of the part are given and tolerances are appropriate - start with the overalls then work my way down finishing with rads & chamfers. I don't always do a full on tolerance stack - just where it matters otherwise I do it by 'feel' and while taking into account typical process capability etc.
d. Check all the dimensions for internal features are given - e.g. do each hole pattern one at a time checking off both location dims and the size dims & FCF.
e. Check the rev block & title block are filled out properly

Ideally I leave the drawing for a few hours or over night between 'finishing it' initially and coming back to do the above check but that's not always practical.

Once I have my marked up drawing I methodically go through incorporating the red lines initialing each change as I go (green pencil) and making sure to save regularly.

If there were a lot of changes or it's really complex I may repeat the check process but generally just make sure I incorporated all the redlines.

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RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Might I suggest a review of Y14.5-2009, paragraph 1.4(e).

Certified Sr. GD&T Professional

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

I like use of "should" and "shall" in that paragraph smile

"For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert"
Arthur C. Clarke Profiles of the future

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

In today's world requirements for the drawings are divided between Y14.100, Y14.24. Y14.5, etc., etc., etc., so they are diluted in homeopathic doses.

But back in time you could find them concentrated in one place (experts on this forum will have no problem identifying the document):

Quote (Good Old Standard)

…Engineering drawings and associated lists prepared to this Level shall provide engineering definitions sufficiently complete to enable a competent manufacturer to produce and maintain quality control of item(s) to the degree that physical and performance characteristics interchangeable with those of the original design are obtained without resorting to additional product design effort, additional design data, or recourse to original design activity. These engineering drawings shall:
(a) reflect the end-product
(b) provide the engineering data for the support of quantity production, end
(c) in conjunction with other related reprocurement data shall provide the necessary data to permit competitive procurement… of items substantially identical to the original items…
Engineering drawings… shall include details of unique processes,… when essential to design and manufacture; performance ratings; dimensional and tolerance data; critical manufacturing assembly sequences; input and output characteristics; diagrams; mechanical and electrical connections; physical characteristics including form and finish; details of material identifications; inspection, test and evaluation criteria; necessary calibration information and quality control data

So, tunalover, your good old bosses are probably stuck in good old times smile

"For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert"
Arthur C. Clarke Profiles of the future

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

I think you should print out a 3-view drawing of a part, maybe with tapped holes and a counterbores/countersinks (or whatever covers 80% of your type parts), but do not dimension it. Have the individuals in your class detail it with pen/pencil (at least the extension/dimension lines, and leaders, no need for numerals yet), and have them returned to you. You bleed all over them, hand them back to the students, and discuss the Pros and Cons.

"Art without engineering is dreaming; Engineering without art is calculating."

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RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Just to throw a wrench into this ordeal...

OP does not mention any manner of industry standards, nor whether or not the library of ASME drawing standards applies.

The question is a bit general, and we /are/ talking about entry level education, here, just a step beyond learning how to create drawings, and into some best practices for arranging/organizing/communicating with drawings. I understand ASME Y14.xxx covers this a lot. And thoroughly. However, not everyone cares. Engineers also don't all farm out their work. Many of us are attached to the shop making the products, as well, and as such, -will- want to include some process information. A good example is match-drilling or line-boring components after assembly, rather than just calling out what they need to be and letting the manufacturer figure out connecting the points.

All I'm saying is; don't mire the discussion down into the weeds of picking nits in ASME standards if the question never even encompassed them. I think a focus on 'ideas' is better than the particulars of ASME code. I think whatever applies should be spoon-fed by their checker/mentor.

I think the idea of being able to arrange an assembly intelligently is important. Whether you start at the highest level; finished product, and work your way backwards to the smallest detail/component, or another way (company standard, I assume) it's important as it helps everyone visualize the manufacturing process. It also forces one to think about features being made at a detail-level and at assembly-level. For the particularly sharp young engineer, it can also cause them to ask questions about how parts are made, maybe even noticing opportunities for improving manufacturability by rearranging things. I think that goes a long way.

The idea of creating enough drawing views to -completely- define the part is a skill sometimes needing development. Sometimes it's easy to forget to fully define something because it's your design and of course you know what that slot/hole/boss/feature looks like because you modeled it. The 101 courses usually just focus on "here's how to create a view, project a view, section a view, whatever" but never the "why". The OP seems to focus on moving from "how" to "why" imo, and maybe that question would be a guiding force. Go through all the "How do I" steps in creating a drawing, and ask yourself if there are any good "why" questions to write down for the newbs.

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Tuna lover,
I do not think my statement is way off the mark
As you say yourself "The drawing says WHAT to make not HOW to make it."
The drawing represents the final product , If a how to is required , then there are process specifications that should accompany the drawings.

You just mentioned : I just came from a company who required that, for a purchased custom transformer, for example, all electrical requirements be stated on the drawing with no other separate requirements specs called out in the notes. The E-sized drawing had the first three sheets filled with notes and tables laying out the electrical requirements. It would have been MUCH easier to have a separate A-sized spec called out in a note that spelled out the electrical requirements while leaving the rest of the drawing to describe the form and fit. This way the drawing could have been one, maybe two C-sized sheets. It is much easier to make revisions with a word processor than with a CAD system. And the person doing the revisions doesn't have to be a well-paid engineer or designer (a typist can work from a redline provided by the EE). At this company, how drawings were prepared was controlled by top management, not Engineering. That was pretty obvious by looking at their custom component drawings!
I would much sooner see a separate process specification, but I can also see why a company would want all of the required information in one in-removable document.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

berkshire-
Some will say if you send the drawings out for quote to a shop that pays their people slave wages but offers better prices, then if you don't define those processes in gory detail (that are well-understood by all the other shops with higher prices and better educated people) then you'll get what you pay for: you'll be paying a fortune to revise drawings to suit that slave wage shop until the cows come home while you get crappy parts and spend half your time on the phone explaining the drawings. You need to use shops that understand that only lesser-known processes, not all processes, need to be spelled out on the drawing.

Tunalover

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Tuna lover ,
Please re read your post , the short answer is not to send your parts there. And don't let your purchasing department do it either.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

I like what Kneat said.

The advantage of starting with pencil drafting is visualization. My community-college introduction to CAD not many years ago emphasized this. CAD gives you the views for free, but the pencil doesn't. Some exercise to challenge and encourage orthographic visualization seems important.

As for making a good drawing, I ask myself if every feature is called out for size and location in three dimensions, and ensure tolerances are indicated and appropriate.

Also explain third-angle projection. Right view on the right, top view on top, etc, and aligned.



RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Maybe it's my youth but I don't see a single advantage to pencil-on-paper these days.

Anything you teach on a board can be taught in any 2D CAD package like Draftsight/AutoCAD, etc. Seems to me that it's a waste of precious time and resources to cripple someone down to working on paper for the sake of someone's nostalgia.

Yes, I started on the board. I've done enough pencil and ink drawing.

Any high school or college that wastes a student's time with that crap is doing a disservice to the precious few (and in the latter case, preciously expensive) hours the student has to invest in expanding their knowledge.

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Pencil and paper exercise your brain. In fact I would make Descriptive geometry prerequisite for drafting class. It gives you understanding of what is happening on your screen.

"For every expert there is an equal and opposite expert"
Arthur C. Clarke Profiles of the future

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Pencil and paper require use of the part of the brain responsible for coordinating places with movement. The brain is forced to accurately simulate the planning steps prior to execution in order to get the desired results. Pencil and paper also allows for the rapid generation of imperfect versions of geometry, which is the opposite of the effect of CAD tools, for which such geometry is tedious to create.

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Watching Jeopardy and doing Sudoku/Crossword puzzles exercises your brain, too. You don't have to pay $3,000 per class to do that, though. (based on 28 credit hours over a $30,000 year) Or pay $400 for a Sudoku textbook. Or (more specific to the OP) when you're paying someone $45-80k/yr as an entry level engineer having to learn this basic stuff, and a mentor making >$100k/yr reviewing their work... seems like "expedience" is a concern. Giving them tools that reduce their efficiency significantly is costly and I guess I simply disagree on the benefits.

I just don't see the disconnect that occurs by deriving the numbers and typing them into a command line or variable box, versus having them derive the numbers and then measure it with a scale or protractor. Then you're teaching them habits and trains of thought that you have to break, anyways, when you want them to start making good parametric design models.

Descriptive geometry should have been covered in high school geometry or later trigonometry classes that are assumed to be covered already, imo.

ETA: Also, OP specifically said this isn't "the basics" but rather best practices for professional drawing production. In fact, to quote:

Quote (SparWeb)

I confess that I'm old enough that I can say I took 3 drafting courses, with boards, pencils, rulers and such in school. I think I'm the beneficiary of that, and I'd like to pass it on, just in a way that doesn't force these kids to use a #2HB.]


SparWeb - since you have a team environment, maybe you could assign people to work in pairs checking eachothers drawings. You note that errors stem from instructions/notes. Pair employees up based upon complimentary strengths/weaknesses as best as can be done, and ask the checker to review it and ask themselves "Can I work from this drawing without question?" and any gaps in knowledge or requirements for clarification should be discussed and satisfied. It's not a perfect solution, as you still have a small factor of "the blind leading the blind" but it should hopefully mitigate most.

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Watching Jeopardy, et al, doesn't involve muscles with simulation of geometry. What you miss is that many students never really learn the subjects they are taught, as exemplified by the need for the standard to have a formula for the projected tolerance zone on a non-projected tolerance and, more amusing, having to distinguish a fixed fastener from a floating fastener in a calculation. If people had a general understanding of math and geometry these would be seen as irritatingly pedantic.

There's no need to measure with a scale or use a protractor in a class about making understandable drawings. It is, however, a time waster to spend time with the CAD interface trying to determine just how to go about creating some aspect of the drawing. I've seen too many users stop all the action for 'what do you click, can you show that again?'

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Apologies if my post edits came after you wrote your reply.

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

If I were to go for simulation and practice of spatial awareness and imagination, I'd much rather they build something with their own hands. Go out on the floor and have a toolmaker, machinist, assemblyperson walk them through what they do, how they do it, and why this particular part of the process sucks (there's always -something- that sucks)

Additionally, the OP specifically stated this is not a 'course' to tell them what to click. It's not a "what's wrong with engineers today!" course.

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

(OP)
JNieman,
I think you've got the spirit I was looking for. It's not about the pencils, paper, or criticism of anybody's education. That stuff is too basic for me to tackle in a group setting. I would be turned off myself by a pencil drawing class, so I can't expect my colleagues to enjoy it. I also don't think exercises for their mental graphics processors is the direction I want to go. Right now, I am immersed in some extremely detailed work in CAD, and I have my own OCD cranked up to the max - not a condition I should be in if I'm to patiently teach a drafting course.

Whether done by pencil or by mouse, the text in the notes and the 3-views on the sheet may still be the same for the same part for the same designer. In a perfect world, but it isn't. For example, the pencil forces simplification, while CAD permits over-complication. Here, again, the emphasis is not on how the pencil makes a drawing clear, but how the CAD reduces clarity by presenting too much information. Therefore my emphasis, if the subject comes up, is how to make a complex CAD model show clearly on a drawing. The model may contain 100,000 parts, but that doesn't mean that the drawing generated from the model must have all of them. The trick is to show engineers how to make the drawing show only the relevant parts. Maybe there are only 10 of them. They have to DO SOMETHING for this to happen. Most of them don't know what. Many of them don't even realize it's possible. When those guys create a CAD drawing from a 100k-part model, they show all 100k parts on it. Imagine you're on the shop floor and get a drawing which shows every part of the aircraft structure, and points at your work which involves only a handful of them.

This is just one example where our group is creating drawings that are very difficult to use.
I'm selecting areas where improvement will be the most effective. There are so many:
  • levels of detail, reducing the clutter for clarity
  • point of view, to orient the detail view the same way as the installer's head is oriented
  • detail scale, if the part is so small that it can barely be seen, an additional level of detail is required
  • effective use of views (sections are not break-outs, details are not sections, and 3-views are not sections)
  • reference points must have some relationship to the installed parts
  • write the notes in order of operation, especially when processes are described in the notes
  • re-read the notes, out loud; help for ESL coworkers
  • clean up, check the drawing for yourself before submitting
The list above is just a hit list for INSTALLATION drawings. I am also generating lists of low-hanging fruit for assembly, and detail drawings.
I could include other types of drawings (schematics, etc.) but I should speak to my own strengths.
There are other subjects which span across notions of install/assemble/detail that I also want to cover.

STF

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Since manufacturing floor instructions seem important to your goal, it would make more sense to acquire software that is designed for that job, rather than try to force software that isn't, into that position**. Engineering CAD is great for building up models, but it is terrible for slicing and dicing according to arbitrary rules. Process planning software is made to reflect alternate interpretations of sequencing. Many include positioning of the operator and any tools required to ensure the operator can see the item and can reach both the item and the tool.

I am concerned that there aren't a significant list of read-only suitable notes. New notes should be rare, especially if you have 'ESL' workers.

"Many of them don't even realize it's possible." Sounds like poor hiring practices. I get that some people are lazy and don't want to do work, but if they aren't educated enough to know how, then they should not be there. I made a list of 50 tasks for self-evaluations, asking for each: Never heard of, Have Heard of, Have used, Have used frequently, Have taught others to use. as categories so that adequate training planning could be managed. The CAD vendors could also help by keeping statistics for users about what functions they used and how often, and compared against a list of all functions; best would be how often the process was aborted, indicating the user missed a step, but no one is really interested in improving, just go-along, get-along.

What is interesting is that most of what you want was automatic with hand-drawn drawings. The cost to draw 100,000 parts would be too high to bother with and most detail would be left off for time constraints. And no one wanted to re-letter a lengthy set of notes. Now it costs time and effort to remove it. Since this will slow everyone down, what carrot will be offered and what justification will be required to increase the drawing budget?



**One place I worked used a desktop publishing tool for this; about 90% of the instruction maintenance time was spent overcoming limitations in the software because they wanted to use it like Excel with cells and such even though it's a text-flow program. It was chosen because the person in charge of floor instructions is, get this, an art major. The instructions had significant errors - calling out non-existent items and missing items that should be placed. The shop had a continuous stream of error flags and it took a long time to fix anything because the process was so tedious. One would think an FDA compliant shop would be more careful, but not so. Their care was in concealing these errors to avoid an audit.

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

(OP)
Hi Dave,
It isn't poor hiring practices, it's poor CAD selection. My industry (aerospace) is mostly using CATIA, with Solidworks pulling second place. Guess what? We use Autodesk.
There is some logic - not just thrift - in having one package which comes complete with AutoCAD, Inventor, and the Vault for document control in one package. Selecting 3 slimmer packages from 3 competing software vendors would be a lot more difficult and likely lead to integration problems. More than we already have. Anyway, proficient CATIA users come to our doors all the time, and as we bring them in, we gently break the bad news and hold their hands as they "translate" their skills into the inferior software. Since this allows some level of introduction to all sorts of other things in our company's systems, not just CAD, I don't mind doing this. In the context of a drawing course, it isn't a worthwhile subject since it's more about the pushing of buttons than the presentation on paper.

Read-only notes: Yes I remember the days when I could do that. Now we have process specifications for just about every routine fabrication procedure, which normally keeps notes to a minimum.

My trouble with notes is not the processes, it's the show-me-don't-tell-me problem. Junior users of CAD simply don't know how to depict some tasks with drawings, so they rely on lengthy explanations. In many cases, I think it's just laziness, but there is also a frustration factor. A multi-layer fiberglass lamination will show the stack up of layers if you put a cross-section on the drawing. Do it carelessly in CAD, and you only get a black mash because the laminates are thinner than the ink lines when it's printed. Disaster. Confusion. Despair. Nothing can possibly be done about this. A workaround would take hours. So instead I find a paragraph explaining that lamination 1 is bonded to lamination 2 using adhesive such-and-such... and it just goes on and on. When this frustrated designer has given up on making a drawing, and is also ESL, this is how we get into a minefield.

"What is interesting is that most of what you want was automatic with hand-drawn drawings." Exaaaaaclty....
This is for all those guys who have never had those big chests of drawings to shuffle through, therefore haven't even seen many hand-drawn drawings, let alone pick up a pencil to do it.

OK, I hope that covers the pencil/CAD comparison that the subject deserves. There won't be board drawing in any class I give, but it is a useful comparison when discussing the goal on the printed result.

Thanks again!

STF

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

SparWeb,

After reading this post over the past week, seems to me the biggest problem your company has is that it has no drafters.

Engineers are not taught drafting. They will very easily create a multi-page document explaining the lamination process.

Drafter are taught drafting. They will take said document and create a clear graphical representation of this information, if they know the industry well.

Engineers make too much money to not be doing engineering.

Most of the industries in the world are trying to cut cost so they have decided drafter are not needed because the CAD marketing has said "Making drawings is so easy, just click a button and boom here is your drawing."

"What is interesting is that most of what you want was automatic with hand-drawn drawings." Exaaaaaclty....

Why is this, because each engineer, at one time, had multiple drafters working for them on their project and they both understood the industry they worked in.

John H. Dunten, CD
Certified Drafter

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Quote (SparWeb)


It isn't poor hiring practices, it's poor CAD selection. My industry (aerospace) is mostly using CATIA, with Solidworks pulling second place. Guess what? We use Autodesk.

My sincerest condolences.

After spending a lot of time using Autocad at a structural engineering firm, doing industrial facility designs, pushing 3D bounds, upgrading to Pland3D... and still feeling a "bit behind"... I skip right past job offerings that mention only "AutoCAD" in the software references. Life's too short to spend your days trying to use AutoCAD to publish your ideas.

Drafting is near-obsolete in aerospace, imo. At the least, they should be engineering-affluent Designers who can do some basic engineering tasks under the umbrella of an engineer / engineering manager. Simple drafters are not really practical in a industry that constantly seeks to banish any "checker" responsibilities. The nature of modern design software also makes it rather unintuitive to use a drafter since the engineer should be done with the vast majority of the drafting in one form of another, just by creating the model as they want it.

Not to crack open a can of worms, but as Model Based Definitions becomes more common and their processes refined, it'll blur even more...

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Quote:

Not to crack open a can of worms...
Yes, it is coming. I am currently working for a global aerospace company at a location that, after years of hybrid drawing/MBD files, is going totally MBD - no drawings, all information in the model file.
While it is a far different environment than that of the board drawings I learned on, much of the same skillset is still required. The goal is still to define the component as clearly as possible. There are still some bumps in the road getting there, however, but it is coming.

"Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively."
-Dalai Lama XIV

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

"Why is this, because each engineer, at one time, had multiple drafters working for them on their project and they both understood the industry they worked in."

Started my career as a draftsman, and that title evolved to "designer" once CAD became common place. Now the title is "design engineer"... Still, the best CAD guys, in my opinion, are those that can make drawings with a pencil and paper. I believe they can see it in their heads better, because that was the only way you could "rotate the model" then.

As a draftsman, we created "inspection drawings", and put way more detail on the drawings than we do now. The advent of the CNC machine working from the solid model, has reduced a lot of the less critical drawing requirements.

-Dave

NX 9, Teamcenter 10

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Gunman,
The advent of the CNC machine working from the solid model, has reduced a lot of the less critical drawing requirements. This is interesting because I find myself doing a lot of CAD unbordered "Patterns" for CNC Router and Waterjet cutting machines where there is no information on the drawing other than a 1" dimensioned square in one corner of the " Drawing" to allow the machine operator to set up his machine. And the material the part is made from in the title block.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Sparweb,
You mention that you use Autodesk programs, Are you using anything other than Inventor and the Vault.
I used Inventor 3 many years ago, I am sure it has improved since then, I also used Solidworks, then the later iterations up to 2006 , I just went back to using a version of SW 2016 I have also used Alibre , then the later Geomagic Design.
I have not used Catia Although I have a business associate who does and reports on it to me.
All of these programs have their strengths and weaknesses, and one of the major tricks is to Unlearn what you knew on the other programs that are now no longer where you are now working. However I see your frustration with composite materials drawings, which for the most part describe the cloth used, the direction it lays ,and how many layers are used.
How much detail are you prepared to draw versus putting a symbol and a note. Now you have to get everybody on the same page ? This is like herding cats.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Quote (bershire)

The advent of the CNC machine working from the solid model, has reduced a lot of the less critical drawing requirements.

I agree with your statement. But the model defines the perfect, so where is the allowable error - the tolerance - coming from?

Certified Sr. GD&T Professional

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

I expect that tolerances would be a 'critical drawing requirement'.

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

In our case, any critical dimensions, are shown on a drawing. Anything that can be +/- the machine tolerance of the CNC or water jet cutter, is not dimensioned.

Hopefully we will move to using PMI on the model, but for now the machine shop likes to print a paper copy to take with them to the machine, even if the programming was done on a separate computer.

-Dave

NX 9, Teamcenter 10

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Quote (gunman)

Anything that can be +/- the machine tolerance of the CNC or water jet cutter, is not dimensioned.

Gunman: Based on your statement, I assume when a dimension is not "critical", no tolerance is defined, and you are saying the accuracy and repeatability of the machine tool (movements) defines the tolerance. Y-N? If yes, is there a program to calibrate the machines so there is a known accuracy and repeatability?

Certified Sr. GD&T Professional

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

No, we are at the mercy of the operator, inspection, or the assembly mechanics to catch something that isn't right. NOT the best way to do it, and a far cry from when I was in the aerospace industry.

-Dave

NX 9, Teamcenter 10

RE: A course to teach drafting to engineers who can do CAD

Gunman:

Your company is not alone. This system relies on institutional (tribal) knowledge to make and accept usable parts. This "common sense" approach relies on a stable employee level. As soon as new hires get in the mix because someone quits or dies,etc. quality goes "south" because no one has trained the "newbies" to know what the "common sense" is - Gone with the wind comes to mind. Haha.

We have some "common sense"at my place of employment. But we are trying harder to define the requirements using GD&T, written standards and procedures because more and more of our mfg is being outsourced.

Certified Sr. GD&T Professional

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