Thread: Question How to Learn CAD
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Old Jul 02, 2012, 01:06 PM
samc99us is offline
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United States, MD, Lusby
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For aerodynamic (surfaces) and model work, reading through the tutorials it looks like Rhino is a very good choice. Rhino is ~$1k and would do everything you need.

I personally use Solidworks, which is arguably the go-to CAD program. It is very powerful and integrated into a lot of other engineering tools, for doing flow simulation and FEA. It is hard to recommend for the casual or home user, due to the cost (>$6K). I have used Autodesk Inventor and found that a pleasant experience, similar to Solidworks, but didn't do any advanced modelling in it (aero surface work is advanced modelling in most all CAD programs). They have a free trial I believe, as does Solidworks. If you are a student, both software packages can be acquired for much lower cost than retail.

Finally, as far as "pro" work is concerned, what is out there has become more limited. In the "old" days, you had engineers and drafters, the latter of which did the modelling. In the "new" days, the engineer is expected to do his own drafting. Hence, I suspect it would be much more difficult to get a job working as a pure CAD person without some additional qualifications (machinist or engineer), but I'm sure some jobs still exist if you are capable of doing very advanced modelling.
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