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Incorporating Online CAD Drawings Into Your Syllabus For Engineering Students and Teachers

The engineering field is one of those practical courses of study that is best suited for hands-on learning. Within the university, utilizing tangible and practical teaching aides imparts the applied knowledge that they need in order to enter the workforce. Most importantly, that experience is usually only gained once on the job, but having that opportunity while still in school offers a head start for engineers in training.

In order to facilitate that type of learning, professors can utilize online CAD drawings as a practical learning aide. By modeling situations, equipment, and industrial supplies that students are likely to use, design, repair, or optimize, engineers can start building hands-on experience in the university setting.

Teaching Concepts

One of the cornerstones of an engineering degree is the understanding the physics that governs how industrial equipment operates. For example, centrifugal pumps are used to pressurize liquids, but they use a non-intuitive mechanic. The typical example of a pump would be a piston and cylinder setup, where work is applied to a liquid to compress the contents of a cylinder. The idea of a piston head working on a column of liquid is easy to grasp. When it comes to centrifugal pumps, however, a different mechanic is at work.

Centrifugal pumps pressurize liquids by accelerating the liquid’s flow rate Architectural drawings toronto through a spinning impeller and then passing the high velocity liquid through a volute. The volute is a curved funnel section of the pump where the total volume that the liquid may occupy increases which in turn slows down the liquid. This causes kinetic energy to be transferred into pressure in order to keep the system balanced. To gain a thorough understanding of such a system, CAD drawings are almost a necessity.

Using CAD’s Features To Teach

In the above example, seeing a centrifugal pump and its volute section rendered in three dimensions with the proper proportions is the perfect illustration of the concept. CAD drawings can also be manipulated in real time, allowing students to “play” with a pump, turn it over in their “hands” and see it from multiple angles. Modeling the flow of a liquid through a pump system using CAD is much more effective than a two dimensional schematic or a drawing on the chalkboard. Models can even be viewed from the inside out in order to see the working internals of a pump. This offers unparalleled accessibility and learning opportunities short of being in a plant itself.

Design Concepts

Learning the theory behind how industrial supplies work is the first step on the way for students to learn how to create designs of their own. CAD’s ability to exist as a virtual, freeform drawing board and design space is the most economical and accessible way for students to learn the design process. CAD drawings allow a quick and easy method for students to create and revise designs without having to expend materials and large amounts of time. Imagine the amount of industrial supplies that are saved from having design hiccups occur in a virtual program rather than with real life materials.

CAD add-ons and program accessories can add more functionality to designed objects. Animations and solid objects can model moving systems, complex machinery, and processes in action. Freeform surface modeling can be combined with generated solids in order to allow students to create industrial supplies that fit the human form and visual requirements as well as interfacing with a machine or process. Every component within a system can be independently manipulated to allow intricate design of complete systems.

This type and scope of experimentation is extremely cost prohibitive in the real world, but CAD drawings make them accessible to students and teachers. The cost of failure in a virtual environment is zero, providing learners with a safety net and decreasing training costs. Employers will use the same tools for their employees, even though they have long been out of school. This synergy will carry over for students as they enter the workforce with both CAD skills and the technical and theoretical knowledge they need to excel.

Furthermore, CAD is an integral part of product lifecycle management. When industry designs systems, one person never creates them. The large scope of work mandates large teams an effective oversight. Document management and revision control is utilized through CAD drawings and documentation. This easily allows evaluation of changes as components are designed and integrated together to identify potential issues and to visual the workflow process.

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