Self Paced

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) (

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CAD, or computer-aided design, is a powerful modeling tool that technical professionals use. With CAD, architects can draw up building plans and engineers can develop component and system designs. Some CAD programs even allow users to perform stress analysis, demonstrating how well a proposed structure will fare when put to use. This course will introduce you to the process of modeling 2- and 3-D objects with computer-aided design.

For example, when does a load become too big? How much weight can be put onto a bridge before it becomes structurally unsound? Using CAD, professionals can create precise engineering drawings in both 2- and 3-D, complete with dimensions and specifications, in a neat and readable format. This modeling method has taken design to a whole new level of efficiency and accuracy.

We are fortunate to be engineers working in the current era—one of computers, technology, and ease of precision. Without CAD, we would have to draft (or draw up) design blueprints by hand, which can be tedious and time-consuming. With CAD, however, we can generate accurate 2-D and 3-D drawings, scaled as needed, with less effort and less time. Computer-aided design also provides us with a number of other benefits. For example, computer-generated drawings can be saved for future editing so that engineers needn’t completely redraw them. Using CAD, engineers can model 3D parts and then fit them together in an “assembly” view so that they can see beforehand how their products will look. Users can also rotate these technical drawings in order to view them from any desired perspective.

This course will introduce you to the process of modeling 2- and 3-D objects with computer-aided design. Because all mechanical engineers should know how to draft by hand, however, we will learn the basics of drafting as well. The class will wrap up with a CAD project in which you will select a mechanism—an ice cream scoop or a can opener, for example—and model it on your computer. You will need to take precise measurements and utilize the skills and navigation tools you have learned throughout the course as well.

Note: In this course, you will work extensively with Top Systems’ T-FLEX CAD software. Before beginning this course, please download this free software package according to the instructions in the course page.