Maker CAD Software & The Role of Experience & Education

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Maker CAD Software & The Role of Experience & Education

Postby SeanDotson » Mon May 09, 2011 2:36 pm

This post is the culmination of several things that I have noticed in the last few weeks. It all came to a head when I posted on Twitter:

"I'm a bit concerned about this latest "maker" push (eg 123D) and how it's (subtly) trivializing engineers and designers." - @SeanDotson

Last week as many of you know, Autodesk revealed a new initiative aimed towards the "maker" crowd with their 123D software. "Maker" is the new buzzword for things that people have been doing for a long time. Tinkering. Makers are people who build a custom bike, or hack a device to get it to do some new function. With the advent of cheap 3D printing via things like MakerBot it has come to mean people who can now produce items physically themselves. It's really a pretty cool concept and a great first step towards the mythical Star Trek Replicator ("Earl Grey, hot!")

Carl Bass announced the debut (actually not quite ready yet) of 123D recently at the Wired Business Conference. In the interview he stated:

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Re: Maker CAD Software & The Role of Experience & Education

Postby grsnovi » Mon May 09, 2011 3:48 pm

Along those same lines, you might enjoy reading: The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun
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Re: Maker CAD Software & The Role of Experience & Education

Postby AltechChad » Mon May 09, 2011 4:14 pm

Sean I saw your Tweet over the weekend, but didn't have a chance to persue it.

I agree with you 100% (mostly because I am a degreed engineer who didn't go to college to be replaced by joe and his laptop :wink: )

Another thing I would add would be that this type of thing works great when you are dealing with Typical or similar conditions, but you have to recognize when they change, and what small changes may have drastic effects on your design.

I see that sort of thing on a daily basis where I work. Computers allow us to plow through designs, but they don't prompt us to stop and ask a question when something is different (so-to-speak).
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Re: Maker CAD Software & The Role of Experience & Education

Postby iDS! » Mon May 09, 2011 6:53 pm

100% Agreed Sean...coming from a non-degree Mechanical Designer. Experience is one thing (the most desirable), Education (expected) another, as well as natural Talent which is irrelevant more times than not :( ...however one might agree that Experience is indeed Education, and therefore some refer to Industry Specific Experienced non-degree Designers as Engineers at some point....when is very debatable :P

...I'd say the root of the title confusion comes from most folks outside of the "Engineering" world constantly refer to all personnel in any Engineering Department as Engineers :lol:

...A very respected degree Engineer told me early in my career (I've personally experienced this misinterpretation) that a Degree does not make you a good Engineer, it does however state you've earned the title.

I for one have focused my career around the very link between Engineers and the reality of their respected ideas, this has placed me into positions that challenge the designs, purely from a logical outside of the box interpretation which has contributed to the results of some great designs.

...The need for Engineering Jobs part of this topic is quite funny because I was just pondering the other day about how Hollywood effects jobs by enticing the effect or awareness as we all know...i.e. CSI, or ER, etc... so would it not be great for Hollywood to re-focus on Engineering or Science jobs to boast interest, no? I for one think the idea is possible...the concern would be its delivery to the masses...its MUST have a sexy appeal ;) ...for the male and female allure :D
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Re: Maker CAD Software & The Role of Experience & Education

Postby RonC » Wed May 11, 2011 3:23 pm

Sean, in reading your post there's a glaring omission. NOBODY designs things in a vacuum, all by themselves. There's always going to be collaboration. Collaboration between the newbie designer/Engineer and the manufacturing team or the prototype shop. If a prototype is going to be prototyped 100% via a "MakerBot", then if it doesn't work due to design issues, that will be evident and the "Widget" will be redesigned, re-prototyped. Possibly repeated several times based on the experience of the newbie.

If something were going to go into production before maturity (Chinese assembly line), then the Chinese team will bring to the table their experience level and recommend changes.

As you know, I'm of the non-degreed breed. I have worked with brilliant Engineers with the basic BS degree and I've worked with imbeciles with PHD's who didn't know which end of a screw driver to hold.
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