Student drawing in CAD

Fundamentals of CAD

Fundamentals of CAD

Learning the fundamentals of CAD (Computer Aided Design) prepares students for the future of design and manufacturing. The students from Warren-Walker got their first introduction to CAD while designing components for an underwater ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle) during a customized Making STEM workshop. Combining design thinking with CAD allows students to quickly turn their ideas into reality.  Prototypes can be quickly built using 3D printers, and laser cutters.  Prototypes can be tested and improved to continue the design cycle.

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See additional pictures from this workshop

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Engineering Challenge:

At the start of every Making STEM workshop, students are faced with an engineering challenge.  Their first challenge was to collaborate as team, to construct a parabolic bridge as quickly as they can.  After their competition, students work together to analyze and improve the strength of the bridge.

Students use teamwork to build a parabolic bridge
Students use design thinking to analyze and improve the parabolic bridge


Students display parabolic bridge engineering puzzle they build
Students proudly show off their successful build

Laser Printing

During a tour of MakerPlace, students learn about the advanced manufacturing equipment including 3D printers, CNC mills, woodshop, and laser cutters.  Students worked together to set up the laser printer by aligning the X, Y, and Z, axis.    Students can be prepared for the future by learning how to safely use all the equipment during the Making STEM Engineering Mentorship Program.  

Students setting up the laser printer
Setting up the laser printer
Students using the laser printer at MakerPlac
Watching name tags be printed

Design Exercise:

Students collaborate and brainstorm ROV designs before learning how to use CAD.  Every good design starts with drawing sketches and planning.  

Students sketching designs for Remote operated vehicle
Using design thinking to collaborate and brainstorm ROV designs


Student sketch and plans for remote controlled vehicle ROV
Sketch of ROV with engineering analysis

Fundamentals of CAD: 

Students build a laser cut ROV model and analyze what additional parts are needed.  Their first CAD project is to design a bracket to stablize the wings of the ROV.  They use OnShape to design their parts.  Onshape is a professional grade parametric modeling software that is completely free for students.  They work together and learn about about sketching, planes and extrusions.  

Student using Laptop to design in CAD
Starting his first design


Students learning together using laptop computers
Learning together is always more fun


Student drawing in CAD
Completing 3D model of ROV bracket

Continued Learning:

After an introduction to CAD, students can start to see the benefits and power of using CAD to design their ideas.  Learning the basics is simple but mastering CAD takes dedication and practice just like any other skill.  Making STEM provides additional CAD classes as well as an advanced engineering mentorship with customized curriculum to meet students creativity and academic goals. 

Check out upcoming Making STEM workshops for additional learning opportunities

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