• Question: Do you prefer using CAD when designing in 3D or do you like going the old paper and pencil way?

    Asked by NiamhC on 16 Mar 2021.
    • Photo: Sarah-Jane Potts

      Sarah-Jane Potts answered on 16 Mar 2021:

      A bit of both to be honest. When I’m coming up with concepts at the start I like to quicly draw them down. I also enjoy drawing them with set squares, fine liners and promarkers for more detailed and nicer looking drawings. However, When it comes to developing the design I prefer CAD as it allows me to use something called finite element analysis to test out how my deisn will cope with the forces which it will be under, test out the effect of different materials and improve the design step by step to perform better, become lighter and fit the products requirements.

    • Photo: Tom Pratt

      Tom Pratt answered on 16 Mar 2021:

      I would say that it helps to do some sketches on paper to begin with as they are quick and help you think around the problem but ultimately most drawings will eventually be done in CAD as it is also quick and easy to use and makes things looks more professional.

    • Photo: Kiri Hatton

      Kiri Hatton answered on 16 Mar 2021:

      I have very occasionally sketched things by hand however i need to use CAD to accurately reflect the road layout that i’m proposing to change.

    • Photo: Alex Evans

      Alex Evans answered on 20 Mar 2021:

      Personally, I prefer using CAD as I’m not very good at drawing. But both are very useful skills to have for different parts of engineering. Being able to put ideas down on paper with a pencil is useful to help share ideas with people quickly where ever you are. Whereas CAD is good for making 3d models for computer simulations or designing complex assemblies that multiple people are working on together.

    • Photo: Anna Garcia-Teruel

      Anna Garcia-Teruel answered on 22 Mar 2021:

      For me, I use sketches to think or discuss basic ideas or concepts. During my doctorate I was improving the design of hulls for wave energy converters. To understand what the computer was telling me was the best hull shape based on my code, I used sketching a lot, so that I could better see in 3D what was going on. However, I had thousands and thousands of possible designs, so using CAD would have been a lot of work, where sketches were enough. However, if I had to build a particular design, I would definitely use CAD to get the proportions right, and to better see how different parts align with each other and to make sure that everything fits together. Also if you need someone to build it for you, and it is not just about making two holes in a plate, a drawing from a CAD software will be easier to generate than to make it by hand. It will also be much easier to make changes to the design and generate new drawings from it.

    • Photo: Emma Robertson

      Emma Robertson answered on 23 Mar 2021:

      I like to do the pen and paper way first when I am coming up with ideas and early designs as it is much quicker. I like to do CAD later on when I have narrowed down my ideas as it takes longer to create, but helps with sizes and getting a good representation of your design.

    • Photo: Amy Carter

      Amy Carter answered on 25 Mar 2021:

      When I’m first thinking about something it really helps to sketch it with pen and paper to get an overall idea. But I often find there’s things I miss, and it’s not until putting it into CAD software that I have to really understand how things fit together and what extra information is required. So I think one has to follow the other.

    • Photo: Magdalena Grzybek

      Magdalena Grzybek answered on 26 Mar 2021:

      I would say both. But I always start with the pen and paper, that helps to make things easier and quicker. Then I will start to design everything on CAD to visualise how exactly everything will work together.