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CAD/CAM Corner
Top Design Applications Create a Versatile Engineer
3/1/2013

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The Mach3 interface with G-code for a wolf shape loaded. Upper left shows the G-code for the current operation. Literally moving a tool from one exact location to another -- it's not complicated at all.
The Mach3 interface with G-code for a wolf shape loaded. Upper left shows the G-code for the current operation. Literally moving a tool from one exact location to another -- its not complicated at all.

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alzie
User Rank
Silver
Design Software:
alzie   3/4/2013 9:27:31 AM
For electronic simulation i use LTspice, the free sim from Linear Tech.

It does 98% of what the expensive pkgs do.

It doesnt have huge libs of parts, but

thats easily gotten around.

Theres also a huge user group with a great forum up on Yahoo.

 

For PCB lay out, i used to use Eagle but

the free version has a serious size limitation of 80 x 10mm.

That can do lots of designs but

for one job i needed to do, it wouldnt fit.

I researched what freeware a lot of people are using and

came up with Kicad, no size limit and

it is multi platform, Win, Mac, and Linux.

I use Linux for everything here so that is important.

 

Now LTspice is Win only, but the linux folks have

the Wine compatibility layer to run a lot of Win apps.

LTspice runs perfectly with it.

 

For EM simulation theres NEC in its various flavors.

With Linux i use xnec2c, and for Win theres 4nec2.

Both are freebies.

 

No need for the little guy to break his bank

with expensive tools.

Lots of great freeware out there!

 

sensor pro
User Rank
Gold
Re: Design Software:
sensor pro   3/4/2013 9:41:59 AM
NO RATINGS
Very real article. STUDY STUDY AND STUDY: is the life of an engineer.

 

I would not be so drastic to say that if we stop for a moment, we become obsolete.

 

I worked with guys that refused to use new scopes, just the 1960s models. On the other hand they new hardware and troubleshooting in their sleep.

 

With software guys I agree that application software changes all the time.

paulbruce
User Rank
Iron
Designing tools, yes, do everything, no
paulbruce   3/4/2013 11:20:48 AM
NO RATINGS
This article contains suggestions for mechanical and electrical engineers.

And while there is no doubt that a good engineer(from either discipline)

should be conversant in all areas recommended by the article.  Proficient

knowledge and expertise, which the market demands, is frankly prohibited

in all areas similtaneously. 

 

Expertise in the tools of a discipline coupled with somel focus in the application

of those tools, plus being conversant with other disciplines,  is what the markets

demand. 

 

Not individuals that understand parts of everything but having no focus nor any

expertise.

 

paul bruce

ChasChas
User Rank
Platinum
Obsolete
ChasChas   3/4/2013 1:51:05 PM
NO RATINGS
I cannot use a sliderule. I cannot draw a print by hand - surely not a 3d presentation. I understand blueprints were blue. I cannot optimize without a program. Lost without FEA, math by hand? Come on now! etc. etc.

Without the computer, software, internet, etc., this versatile engineer is obsolete.

William K.
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Obsolete
William K.   3/4/2013 9:02:00 PM
NO RATINGS
I have used a slide rule for design work, and still can, except that the calculator does provide more exact figures, which are critical for verifying fits and clearances. I do sketch freehand but my sketches are ugly, but that is OK, the drafters assure me. Job security for them. Modeling is done using the cad program because of the tight clearances. The rest of the modelling, and the visualization, is ALL done inn my head. Good 3D rendering and very high resolution.

So not all engineers are dependant on the tools to make stuff happen. BUT the cad drawings certainly do look nicer. And the CAD system certainly makes it easier to pull off details for manufacturing to make.

FEA is all done by experienced estimates, while for CFD, it is all visualized. Much faster and not as accurate, except for sometimes.

ChasChas
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Obsolete
ChasChas   3/4/2013 9:34:31 PM
NO RATINGS
It's true that us engineers are much more that button pushers and mice sliders.

I'm just turning the table around here to bring out that we are just as obsolete with old tools as they are with new tools.

Today, in almost every field the changes require us to update constantly.

A timely article.

Cabe Atwell
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Obsolete
Cabe Atwell   3/5/2013 3:03:26 PM
NO RATINGS
This isn't necessarily a guide, but a record of what I had to do to stay relevant in the ever evolving embedded engineering career world. It's for the generalist, more so. Most jobs I get, the company has only a vague idea of what they need. That need often changes at a drop of a hat, then I have to switch gears.

I sometimes wish I could just sit there and write highly complex Java programs all day. Be the master-level expert at something and go home. Instead I have to design a PCB.. then the enclosure for it.

Here is a breakdown of the programs I use, so you can get to those tutorials! -

Solidworks

AutoCAD

Draftsight

Mach3

Labview

MultiSIM

EagleCAD

Flowcode

 

C

Bob Hulme
User Rank
Iron
Software options
Bob Hulme   3/4/2013 2:00:44 PM
NO RATINGS
A good article to give the broad outline of how computing has changed traditional design and machining.

The real problem is that there is such a multitude of software available that the process of evaluating and determining which best suits the purpose is daunting.  There is also a very wide price range.

Does anyone know of any written work that compares a good variety of proprietry software and give opinions on them?

bobjengr
User Rank
Platinum
Versatile Engineer
bobjengr   3/6/2013 2:35:01 PM
NO RATINGS
Great post Cabe.  I remember years ago when I was a senior in Mechanical Engineering, my advisor indicated the half-life of an engineer was about five (5) years.  This, of course, was based upon changing technology and not really the digital age.  We had not entered that age as yet.  I have absolutely no idea as to half-life now but it can't be much more than two or three years  IF you wish to keep up.  I just took an assignment on developing a vortex tube for a specific application.  Had to go back to school on this one.  As a consulting engineer, I find that to be the rule and not the exception.  One of the very best vehicles for "keeping up" is Design News Daily.  I find this web site to be extremely valuable for guys like us.  Again, great post.

Cabe Atwell
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Versatile Engineer
Cabe Atwell   3/6/2013 2:51:39 PM
NO RATINGS
Half-life isn't an measure anymore (only an award winning video game series). Many adept "engineers" I know do not even have a degree. They instead learn on their own. Like my post shows here, you can learn anything you want, rather quickly too.

The tech is there to hold your hand all the way through.

Relevancy all depends on the engineer's needs and ambitions, these days.

C

bobjengr
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Versatile Engineer
bobjengr   3/9/2013 1:21:48 PM
NO RATINGS
Good point.  I recently read an article entitled "Do We Need Teachers Anymore".  The thesis was basically what you mentioned.  With the Internet explosion, sources of information are readily available; even tutors that can and will aid efforts towards understanding the material.     At one time the classroom was the only way to go because it was the only vehicle in play now,   online education is so available it would be a real error for working engineers not to take advantage.     I still think there are courses of study that require "being there" and interaction between peers is a valuable learning tool also, but half-life, maybe no longer appropriate.

Cabe Atwell
User Rank
Blogger
Re: Versatile Engineer
Cabe Atwell   3/11/2013 5:13:01 PM
NO RATINGS
No matter vast size of learning materials on the Internet, I doubt people will take advantage of it. Most engineers I run across tend to learn only when absolutely necessary. So, unless forced, no one will learn. Which is where school comes into play. It forces students to take a "well rounded" curriculum. Where, as my post here suggest, learning just what you need to know is not an option. Few are disciplined enough to learn on their own.

Once you have the education, learning the software in this post will take you to another level.

C

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