pic: DryErase is the new CAD...


Our DryErase board was for design, since we had no students who posessed any CAD skills. Not recommended at all.

I agree. I spent 6 hours defining variables for measurements, finding equations, and coming up with our offseason scrimmage claw using 2 colored dry erase markers and about 30 square feet of whiteboard.

Later, after 3 hours in CAD not only did I have different (and more accurate) measurements, but I also had every nit-picky nut and bolt to make sure there was clearance for everything. The whole claw assembly time took only 2 hours.

Definitely get a student and mentor learning CAD. Most of the parts are already made for you so it’s just a matter of putting them together…

I think we have yet to use CAD to design any part of our robots. Pencil and paper all the way!

That looks way too familiar. :frowning:

We once sketched something on a white board in our lab in 2006. It’s still there.

So, you can guess how we feel about whiteboards. :slight_smile:

I’ve been busy working on some other background stuff for the team right now, but we have a student who has been taking the class during the school year, so hopefully we’ll have at least basic stuff ready.

Madison, I know how you feel. We didn’t like it either, and just about everyone tried their hand at it, but there really was no choice.

As for the “most of the parts are already done”, can you pretty please link me to some of the libraries/sites? It’d be a great help!


Personally I’m a big fan of CAD… Cardboard Aided Design… It never fails :smiley:

yeah… cardboard works for design :smiley:

How about, I think we reverted to using a whiteboard, so apparently it didn’t work for us. There’s plenty of computer-inclined students here, including me (w00t for A+!) but none of us could pick it up on such short notice. Being a small team, everybody had to focus on getting it built and coded in time. Although it’s sort of moot, because it has to be designed. And now we come back full circle to the dryerase…

hehehe, That’s rich! But how do you get around the corrugation compatibility issue?

As JVN likes to say, design is an iterative process. Whatever technique helps you iterate will improve your design.

We like to re-cover a very large (4 ft. x 16 ft.) workbench with heavy brown paper, taped down in the corners. The paper stays there from kickoff until ship day. It is used to sketch ideas full-scale, often by tracing actual parts.

I have sometimes witnessed sketches from the big bench cover being cut out with scissors to make templates for aluminum parts. We have also used cardboard and plywood to make templates and prototypes.

Dry erase is good for quick sketches, calculations, and what-if discussions. CAD is the best way to make sure complex things are going to fit before you cut them.

We used to do the same thing, until we switched facilities. (I think the sketches wound up on the current workbench–4’x32’–or on the paper alone last year.) We do prefer CAD for anything that is higher detail than conceptual drawings, though. Sometimes CAD is replaced by the pencil and paper technical drawing method, though.

I LOVE dry erase… so much better then chalk, i wish that we had them in our build room… :frowning:

Just wait until it’s a cold wet snowy morning on a construction site and you have to explain to a crew that hasn’t had their morning coffee break how to build this unusual wall that got all changed because they found some ledge when they finished digging last night and the concrete truck is due in less than an hour and the forms have to be finished before the pour, and you never ever want to delay a concrete pour especially on a cold day like today, and you pull out your laptop and while you’re all standing around waiting for AutoCAD to boot up so you can make some quick changes that won’t be so horrible to the careful design you did back at your warm office and print it out so they can get to work and you say “Excuse me, do you have an outlet for my printer?”

On the other hand, the programming kids were doing some structural homework for an engineering class (build a tower with paper and tape in the cheapest method), instead of doing programming, and they were writing down prices and adding them up on a whiteboard, and I said, do it in Excel! In a couple of minutes they had a spreadsheet to do all their calculations and the grade each tower would give them.

It all depends on what the situation calls for.

I’d rather have someone who can draw on a piece of paper clearly than all the cad products in the world. (Well, maybe… :slight_smile: ) And this is from someone who works on AutoCAD all day (and sometimes nights) for a living.

Both cad and paper have their place. If you have to explain to someone how to build something, a piece of paper or a whiteboard is just as good as cad. If you have to fax to someone a field condition, a clear pencil drawing works just fine. If you want to make sure everything is just right, or if you have a lot of duplications, cad is better.

Remember, use the best method, not the one you know best.


“To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”-Mark Twain

I’ll echo Roger on that…

A couple of weeks ago, my Aero Design team needed some sketches in a hurry. Solidworks would work for one design, but we needed more. I volunteered. Pencil and paper and half an hour later, we had three sketches–a rejected fuselage design, an outside view of our fuselage, and a view that showed key areas inside the fuselage as well as the outside configuration. Using CAD would have taken a lot longer, and I’m not exactly sure we’d have had the same results.

Thanks for all the useful replies, especially Roger’s. Obviously we got through last season without it, but it’s reassuring to know that it’s not required for good designs.

We use every method that you can think of. Solidworks, DryEraseboards, graph paper, the blank side of my Latin quiz, wildly gesturing hands, an actual prototype (gasp!), an unused napkin during dinners on Thursdays and Fridays during regionals… I agree with Roger and EricH that each have their place.