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I am about to start messing around with mechanical desktop, just wondering if there are any tips/hints. i'm semi proficient with autocad. and i know my version is old, but i'm not trying to do anything to difficult with it.
 

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Be organized.

Get a setup/profile/CUI that works, and stick with it.

I don't like a cluttered desktop, so if I don't use it regularly, it doesn't get put in my toolbar. Most everything has a command too, which I usually find is easier than trying to find a button or remember which menu it's under.

And I'm not sure what you'll be puting out as far as a "finished product", but one thing I've learned is CONSISTANCY. Pick one way to do something (labeling, dimentioning, etc.) and stick with it, as long as it's "acceptable" by whoever you're giving it to.
 

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I used MD v1&2, and then went to using Solidworks in 2000.

When I was told I was going to teach Inventor (Last year) I tried using MD again, and Couldn't even remember how. My recommendation is to drop MD (if you can) and learn Inventor or Solidworks. They are purpose built from the ground up for 3D design, and make things much easier.

My general tips for any Parametric 3D Design is keep your sketches simple. It's much better to have a lot of simple features, than a few complex ones. I recommend this because with simple sketches there are less constraints and Dims to add, which makes getting a good sketch easier. I tell them to keep their sketches to less than 6 elements, and absolutely no more than 8.

Also it is much better to do arrays & mirrors with features instead of within the your sketches.
 

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I know that DMACC offers Solidworks classes. If you were interested in trying Solidworks I think that would be the way to go. I thought about taking the class, but right now I just don't have the time or $.
 

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Almost forgot, If you are a student and have a .edu email address you can sign up for the AutoDesk student community and get free educational versions of most of the autodesk vertical products. ie. Inventor, AutoDesk Arch, Revit, Viz, AliasStudio, Civil 3D, Map 3D, AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Mechanical, AutoCAD MEP, Raster Design, Impression, MotionBuilder, Navisworks, and more
 

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If you have any questions about it let me know. Maybe we can do a chat sometime with people that want to get started in 3D. Here is my intro Lecture to Inventor. there is a bunch of general Design stuff at the beginning, but get to inventor on slide 19. To get started use Standard.ipt to create parts.
 

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I have an AES in drafting and a cert in Solid Edge 3-D. I have just been out of drafting for 7-8 years. But I have been wanting to refresh my skills and maybe learn some of the newer software in case it's needed as my engineering education progresses.

Thanks for the link and tips. I may be in touch.
 

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Yeah around here they call an associates an AES for some reason. I don't know what the E stands for, lol. I got that back around '97 I guess. I am currently back in school for electrical engineering as a non-traditional student.

Edit: I just found this online. I wouldn't consider a mechanical drafting and design degree engineering. "AES (Associate of Engineering Science)"
 
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