A couple of years ago we took the decision to stop teaching engineering drawing on traditional drawing boards. However, we recognised that the processes are really important in being able to unerstand orthographic projection. Our solution was to use NX as an electronic drawing board and you can see an example here;
Overall I think we saw an improvement in standards as we can achieve more in the same time. I would say that we still teach freehand sketching as we think this is an essential skill.
A side benefit has been that the 4 introductory digital drawing seesions we run acts as a nice gentle introduction to the NX package prior to starting the 3D work. As a result the students seem to be a lot more confident by the end of the 1st year.
Has anyone else had a go at this sort of approach?
Robb Doyle - Loughborough University, UK
Hi Robb -
This is an ongoing debate in engineering education today, at least here in the U.S. Many schools still teach some form of 2D drawing, with many of them doing so as a mechanism to teach visualization. What is your opinion on that approach? Personally, I am not convinced that is necessarily a good approach. Historically, we did that because our tools required us to create artifical (2D) projections to communicate with others. That mechanism evolved due to the medium by which communication happened (paper).
Given contenporary CAD tools, I don't believe those same rules apply. Sure, students need to be able to construct and de-construct geometry in their mind, but the 2D portion of that process (the constrained sketch for a feature) is really more analgous to section views or auxiliary views than orthographic projection. Teaching what I call sketched modeling procedures, where the student sketches the 2D cross setion and the resulting solid from a specific feature translation (e.g., extrude, revolve, etc.), might be a more appropriate method for teaching students how to model. We tend to teach students about the creation of drawings as an artifcat of model creation, versus the creation of the drawing as the master document.
Anyway, I would be curious to know your thoughts.
I can understand your point of view on allowing the CAD system to sort out the projections. This is fine if all you want to do is to create drawings. We also need students to be able to read the orthographic drawings as well. Some people are naturally able to conceptualise in 3D but we get a big bunch of students who find it really difficult. Here at Loughborough we find it really does help students get over the hurdle by making them create 2D drawings the hard way and spending a reasonable amount of time working through the thought processes.