5 Replies Latest reply on May 26, 2011 8:12 AM by John Burrill

    I want to teach my students how to use Solidworks in the "REAL WORLD"

    Jon Bridges

      I want to teach my junior college students Solidworks to be ready for real jobs!

      I am not satisfied with the "Solidworks Teaching Guide" that is posted on the website. Are there better resources or should I develop my own!

        • Re: I want to teach my students how to use Solidworks in the "REAL WORLD"
          John Sutherland

          If you have worked in the real world then you may be able to do a better job than the SW people.


          You cannot teach them everything so you have to decide what is basic.


          My brief teaching experience is that without direction and guidance, students waste their opportunity.

          • Re: I want to teach my students how to use Solidworks in the "REAL WORLD"
            Keith Parker

            Hi Jon


            I think your desire to teach students about the real world relevance of what they're learning is absolutely the best thing and I applaud you, as I expect a lot of people would.


            What about getting them to design something that actually has to get made and - more importantly - work!  Obviously depends on what sort of students you're teaching and the resources available to you/them.  Maybe get a local company to help and to give them a design task and hopefully a bit of mentoring. Take them to somewhere that uses CAD, show them what real-world engineering/design/etc is and get those people to talk to your students about what they do.


            Good luck




            Edit: When I did my Mech Eng degree, I was in a very small minority of students who had ever used tools to dismantle/assemble anything!  I couldn't understand how anyone could 'do' engineering without knowledge of how things work.  Most engineering students studied the subject because it was a numerate subject and they could see some sort of career prospect.  They weren't natural or intuitive engineers but they learned to do the hard sums, etc and passed the tests.  I imagine that most of them were initially completely useless to employers because they had no experience...

            • Re: I want to teach my students how to use Solidworks in the "REAL WORLD"
              Alan Stoldt


              Welcome to the forums,  Kudos for the desire to teach them what they should know.


              I would say that some things may be learned but not taught.


              As a mechanical designer, I would say that a basic mechanical apptitude is required.

              Ever do any wrenching on a car? That last bolt that has no easy access?


              Can it be built? Easily? Logically?


              My best learning experience on the job was from a welder nicknamed Bundy after the wrestler. 6'7" tall, three people wide at the shoulders, came into the office and put a 40 Lb hand on my shoulder and said "Al, we have a problem." Man, had I messed up, but we started cutting, grinding and re-designing on the floor.


              Of course, different fileds of design will have other considerations.

              Good luck and please keep us informed.





                • Re: I want to teach my students how to use Solidworks in the "REAL WORLD"
                  John Burrill

                  Using Solidworks in the real world.   What I've learned going from drafting student to designer can be summed up in a couple of lessons:

                  1) if you aren't passionate about what you can do with the software the software is going to feel like an obstacle.  You're going to learn by playing, by modeling everything from spoons in your kitchen drawer to replacement parts for your blender to your own little bits of furniture to fantasy cars, spachships.  CAD is an artisans tool.  If you take the attitude that you're going to use it at work for whatever someone wants you to do with it and then walk away from it like a check-out clerk forgetting about the cashregister after the shift is over, then you'll never make the adjustments needed to express your ideas through it.  Use it for positively everything.  Virtuosity doesn't exist without creativity, so make your own stuff.

                  2)There is no one you can't learn from: show people your work and talk to them about how you went about completing it.  it doesn't matter if it's an intro-to-cadd student or an MIT Professor working on the LHC, every perspective you get on how you solve the problem of design will help you understand the nuances of the software; it's practical limitations; how it fits into documentation, how manufacturable the part is, how robust the design is-you're going to learn these from people you haven't met yet.  It takes humility to let someone else critique your work.  It takes pride to show and explain it.  Have a lot of both.  To increase your exposure, get involved in discussion groups, online forums, comment and post on blogs and goto Solidworks user group meetings.  All of those are free to the public and there's no good reason not to take advantage of them.  You'll also build strong networks of knowledge and employment resources this way.  Genius stagnates and imagination atrophes in isolation.


                  3)learn a related skill: CAD doesn't happen in a vaccuum.  There's a lot of knowledge and craft that happens before and after the design model.  At the same time you're learning Solidworks, get involved machining, tool and dye, inspection, assembly.  These teach you that your design is more than just a spinning picture on a screen, that how you go about it has consequences for good or bad for other people.  The goal of a CAD model is to make producing a good part easy, cheap and fast.  If you wanted to generate computer models for their own sake, you would have gone into animation.  If you're working or interning, volunteer for assignments outside of 'make a model of this part.'  What the senior engineers invariably tell me is 'every designer should spend some time cutting metal, checking prints building products and inspecting parts.'  The most thankless jobs in your shop can have the greatest impact on your design skills.


                  4)Make the Solidworks install your own: No one expects Danica Patrick to drive a Car with the same seat, steering wing and throttle adjustments as Michael Andretti (Indy 500 is this weekend)  you have to adjust Solidworks to your unique metrics in order for you to get past the interface and see the model.  The arrangemetns of the toolbars, combinations of commands, keyboard shortcuts and mouse-gestures are all customizable.  Take the time to position and compose them so that you can get to the tools you use most frequently without moving the mouse very much or taking your hand off of it.  Take the time to go through and read and adjust all of the visual settings in your Solidworks install.  Solidworks may look like a prettyfied app, but every color, shade and skin has a purpose or meaning that you can leverage to make the software more intuitive and responsive.  Finally, the software is a product packaged and shipped in a box.  Solidworks Corp has a general understanding of design needs and requirements, but it's not going to match your work environement or design tasks precisely.  That's why they make API's.  Early on, get into macro and add-in programming. Yes, for the unitiated, computer programming can seem daunting.  Your curiosity and desire to automate repetitive tasks are your best allies and a good practice is to simply record macros for a set of actions and then study and tweak them in the VSTA or VBA editor.  This is where you can put your Calc, trig and algebra to good use.


                  OK, I enjoyed writing that.  Hope some of it is useful.


                • Re: I want to teach my students how to use Solidworks in the "REAL WORLD"
                  Scott McFadden


                  Welcome to the forum.

                  I think what you are trying to do is noble, but you can only do so much to prepare them.

                  There is nothing like the real world experience.  But with all of that said, there are some

                  great teaching tools out there.  Here is a link that leads you to some great ones.