By Elvis Sverko
We can design 3D models.
We can create 2D drawings of our 3D models.
We can manufacture or build 3D real world objects from our 2D drawings.
But the question we need to ask to anyone learning any CAD software for the first time, is “can you THINK in 3D?”
Not everyone can.
And that’s OK. Not everyone can do everything. We need different people to do different things. We’re all unique. That’s what makes us special.
But any software, in general, can be taught to just about anyone. CAD software is no different. Anyone can learn which command creates a cube, which one rotates a 3D model, or which one helps you create a spiraling G2 continuity spline. Anyone can follow the instructions for any of these actions, and do it successfully.
It’s easy to take a 3D model and create the 2D drawings of it. We looked at that in a previous post - 3D in a 2D World - Part 1. But what about going the other way around?
Using CAD, especially 3D, isn’t always about following set instructions. It’s about designing a new 3D model. It’s about creating something new. And you can be as creative as any artist. But to do that, you need to be able to THINK in 3D.
So how do you know if someone can think in 3D?
I’ve used a simple test before. Give them a 2D drawing with an isometric view of a fairly simple 3D object, such as:
Ask them to draw a quick sketch of the front, top, and side of the 3D object. If they don’t even seem to think about it, but finish it correctly in a few seconds, they’re ready. But if they struggle, pondering it for some time, and ultimately get it wrong, they may need to first get some training in the understanding of 3D, or CAD software may prove to be extremely challenging for them. And that’s OK, because we’re all different and unique. And with the right attitude and training, learning CAD can be accomplished!
By the way, here’s the front, top, and side view of the model above.
“We are each gifted in a unique and important way. It is our privilege and our adventure to discover our own special light.” - Mary Dunbar