Computer Aided Design

Computer Aided Design


Computer-aided design is using a
computer to help create what you have visualized should exist. It can be a part
for a machine, it can be an object – really anything you can imagine at this point.
CAD is the basis for all of the design work that’s being done out there now.
Whether it’s buildings in architecture, whether it’s landscaping, whether it’s
machining – all of the parts, everything we use around us, was designed probably in a
CAD system at this point. And being able to create those files, use
those files, change those files, update those files, is a skill that’s really
important in today’s economy. What I like is what you’re doing in class would be
basically what you’d be doing in a job if you got one in that field. Kind of start
out easy and just gradually build up to more complex things and you kind of
move at your own pace. There’s a lot of lab on-site so that you have support if
you run into a glitch and you need more information to get by with it. St. Louis Community College has been involved in CAD since the beginning of
these systems. We transitioned from the drafting boards where it started, and we
were some of the first people in the city to actually have 3D printers
and additive manufacturing. One of the great things about it is all of our
adjuncts work in the field. It’s an evening program, there’s smaller class
sizes, and you come two nights, maybe four nights a week depending on how things
stack up, and you’re done in two semesters. What they can go into is
everything from landscaping to machine design to building, architecture kind of
work. Some of the more exotic and interesting ones – we have people that are
working for dentists now. Because of the advance of additive manufacturing or
3D printing, most of the dental implants are now designed in 3D software and then
printed. I’m retired now, but I was in the engineering industry for over 30 years,
and I found the classes at Flo Valley actually prepare you for the industry. In almost every CAD class that we offer, we do a project that uses either multiple
parts or a mechanical design. One of the classes, you have to make a part that
moves. Me and a buddy did this one which is an expanding table. [clicking noises of table mechanics] It starts as a
small table that then grows. Students really, really like seeing
their things come to life. They really like taking that initial concept, “that
this is what I want,” and being able to draw it and make it happen. And being able
to see on the screen, “oh, this is what it’s gonna look like. Great!” And then, that next step, particularly with modern technology of
actually 3D printing it and holding it and seeing how it moves and works and
such, just such a cool aspect of engineering and technology in general,
and CAD in specific.

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