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OK, so how does your CAD brain work?

owen_sparksowen_sparks Member, Developers Posts: 2,421 PRO
edited November 2017 in General
Hi folks.

Warning waffle ahead. o:)

So I've been playing with using Onshape for over a year now and wanted to ask other users how they "think" when carrying out CAD.  Not what features you use, but what direction your thoughts take...

My experience has a path of distinct phases that I'm curious to see if others relate to?

Phase 1 (Pre-onshape)
I'm a CAD virgin. 
CAD is for professionals only. 
You need a degree in computing, then $1000's in training, and then at least a year's experience before you can do anything useful.
Ergo, I can't do CAD.

Phase 2 (A CREO driving colleague has pointed me to this new thing called Onshape)
So you can build anything, anything at all with just sketch, extrude, revolve, sweep and loft?  Really?  Yes really.
A day of bumbling around in the dark follows.  Sketch, extrude.  New sketch on face of extrude.  Repeat.  I have a model.
Holy heck, this is useful.  I can do things with this.  Yeee-haw.

Phase 3 (Week 2. Read the help files front to back, then read them all again.  Realise I'm doing it all wrong.)
OK I can model stuff.  Badly.  But that's fine.
OS had fewer features then, but felt it important to learn what every button did before going any further.  A keyboard has more buttons than OS does so it's not a big ask to learn them all.
Watch all the videos I can find.

Phase 4 (Start thinking more clearly now.)
A bit more planning ahead. 
Look for lines of symmetry, patterns, ways of modelling things more efficiently.
Started attending the free webinars.  Picked up things I'd not even considered.  They are presented by folks who demo the software live, and answer your questions in real time.  Franky I learned as much from watching someone who knows what they're doing, as from the actual topic discussed.  I cannot recommend these enough.  There's no pressure, you're in listen-only mode, so sit back, chill and soak up free experience.

Phase 5 (Getting there)
Start thinking about making the models robust and reusable.  Use "design intent" to allow scrolling back in the design, edits, model rebuild.  All is good.  No longer panic as a screen full of red features appears if I break something.
Start adding variables to everything.
Write first featurescript, still use it every week.
Look at ICE, look at sheet metal.
Buy Pro Subscription
Spread OS to other folks in company.

So how do you approach things with your designs?  I'm still a rank newbie so keen to learn what I'm missing out on.

My CREO chap says he tends to iterate his designs in a free / quick / dirty way and then once a path is identified, bin the original and design a clean version again from scratch.  I'd not considered that approach.

Is it still fun for you?  I still get a buzz seeing something come into the world that I've designed. Hope that doesn't go away.

If you've read this far, then thanks, and over to you.

Cheers,

Owen S.
Production Engineer
HWM-Water Ltd

Comments

  • brian_jordanbrian_jordan Member, Developers Posts: 129 ✭✭✭
    @owen_sparks This very much sums up how I am enjoying the ongoing learning process. I'm somewhere between Phases 4 and 5 at the moment; getting an understanding of "design intent" was a breakthrough for me along with rolling back to improve what I had believed was an already good model. I agree that the help files are excellent - there is so much good stuff hidden behind that question mark icon.
  • owen_sparksowen_sparks Member, Developers Posts: 2,421 PRO
    Thanks Brian, it's always nice to know you're not alone!

    Cheers, Owen S.
    Production Engineer
    HWM-Water Ltd
  • michał_1michał_1 Member, Developers Posts: 213 ✭✭✭
    For phases 1-3 it always was watch&read for long hours. For the practice, the best is to dive deep, when you must do something and no one will take an excuse from you.
    In phase 5, the key element is to figure out what the design intent is actually. It happens usually while I model, therefore at the beginning I do focus on just the geometry and function. Cleaning and making model robust is happening after the main ideas are shaped, but before adding any details. Sometimes it requires starting from a blank document. The overall approach is similar to rock climbing, where you working out the route, move by move, over and over again.
  • owen_sparksowen_sparks Member, Developers Posts: 2,421 PRO
    Many thanks Michal.

    Owen S
    Production Engineer
    HWM-Water Ltd
  • philip_thomasphilip_thomas Member, Moderator, Onshape Employees, Developers Posts: 1,352
    @owen_sparks - Great insight, thank you for sharing :)
    Don't forget about the the technical briefings in the learning center (learn.onshape.com) that are very very high level insights into various topics written by the technical staff here.
    Philip Thomas - Onshape
  • michael3424michael3424 Member Posts: 479 ✭✭✭
    I'm mostly a hobbyist, working mostly on small projects with only a few parts, so I'm kind of stuck at your level 4.  I aspire to level 5 and beyond but the time isn't justified for my current need, so I read the forum daily, watch some webinars and hope that awareness of the more advanced features and work flows stick around in my brain long enough to be taken advantage of when the need arises.
  • barry_gibsonbarry_gibson Member Posts: 31 ✭✭
    I'm mostly a hobbyist, working mostly on small projects with only a few parts, so I'm kind of stuck at your level 4.  I aspire to level 5 and beyond but the time isn't justified for my current need, so I read the forum daily, watch some webinars and hope that awareness of the more advanced features and work flows stick around in my brain long enough to be taken advantage of when the need arises.
    Snap, for me i've learnt more in the last week then properly in the last 4 months with the new learning center, that being said i for one think, onshape are missing one big trick youtube, the webinars are good if you under stand the functions and so on,my point is there is not the amount of videos etc on there as there is other cad software from which we can learn from, Onshape why can't you give some sweeteners to some off the main contributors, on this forum ie yearly subscriptions to post videos of how in there opinion they would draw, use this software, in some form of projects, not long or big projects 10- 15 minutes slots just to get the message across of how good this cad system is, sorry for going of on a rant             
  • srbhsrbh Member Posts: 19 ✭✭
    Agreed about YouTube for the small shop/hobbyist/beginner. Look at NYC CNC who will make you a fervent believer in different CAD/CAM system.
  • michael3424michael3424 Member Posts: 479 ✭✭✭
    @barry_gibson - thanks for pointing out the new learning center.  I'd been meaning to look into that for a while, just had a peek and see that there is a lot of valuable info in it that should promote good work flow.

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