AutoDesk/Other Software

Hey there guys, Hopefully this is the right place to put this…
Obviously using Inventor a lot of Robot design this year I didn’t know if you guys had any advice
I wanna go to school for either Mechanical or Electrical Engineering Next year (most likely Mechanical however). I want to get better with Inventor, and any other software I would possibly be using (I have solidworks as well as any other AutoDesk software available to me)

Does anyone have any suggestions? I know I could watch tutorials, But I wasn’t sure if there were competitions, or some sort of events or other good ways of really getting ahead with the software.

Thanks so much!

Honestly, the best way to get better once you have the basics of modeling down, is to just design stuff. You can do tutorials and draw up stuff from books, but the only way to get experience using CAD like you would as a mechanical engineer working in the real world is to design stuff and go through the process yourself.

There are a lot of really smart and helpful mechanical people here on chief delphi who love to see designs people post, and can provide specific feedback.

Both SolidWorks and Inventor are great pieces of software to learn with. SolidWorks is a bit more widely used, and in my opinion, a little better, but Inventor is still good.

A few things I notice students tend to skip when learning CAD are organization and drawings.

Often times, I’ll see a student give a part a name like “wheel”, “new wheel”, “fixed wheel”, “better wheel”, “super awesome wheel of death”, “Part1”, or something equally unhelpful. I find it’s really nice to set up a way to deal with parts. A student on my team came up with a helpful numbering system for parts that he drew to be manufactured, parts that he drew to be purchased, and parts he downloaded from the internet to be purchased. Just having a consistent and neat way of organizing files makes it so much better when looking through a few thousand parts to find the right version of what you’re looking for.

Also, students seem to never learn the right way to make an engineering drawing for a part. SolidWorks and Inventor both have really powerful tools for making drawings, and complete and detailed drawing are very helpful. They’re much better to send to machining sponsors (as they usually have issues importing whatever 3D model you’ve sent them, even if you send it in almost every format), and it’s nice to have a binder full of drawings so you can make a replacement part quickly and correctly at competition, or at home, if the original designer/manufacturer isn’t there. To learn this, I’d recommend looking at some tutorials, then just trying it on your own. If you’re really interested, you can look at some GD&T books/websites, which have detailed descriptions for what every dimensioning symbol means.

Look at the SolidWorks tutorials inside the software or the Hands on Test Drive SeaBotix Robot tutorials in .pdf if you don’t like video.

Both mechanical and electrical are great engineering degrees - I am bias to Mechanical (MSME). But I would also look into the engineering schools you are applying to. For example, UNH has a top FSAE team and Baja team! Dartmouth has Formula Hybrid and dont forget to look into biomedical engineering there too.

When you look into a college, see what CAD software they are using like Daniel Webster College.

Also, check out There are SolidWorks user group meeting in your area. There is one at Daniel Webster College in Nashua on Sept 18. Go to one. See what engineers are desiging in NH.

You can also look to see who is certified in SolidWorks at in your state. What companies want certified SolidWorks professionals?

It’s never to early to talk to designers and engineers. Marie