Learn Advanced CAD Skills by Building 2D and 3D Models

3D Modeling

Learn Advanced CAD Skills by Building 2D and 3D Models

CAD (Computer Aided Design) skills are highly sought-after in robotics, architecture, design, engineering, and many other areas of Industry 4.0. One way to learn CAD is with commercial software such as Solidworks or AutoCAD. However, these softwares are not freely available, they require powerful computers, and moreover they come with complicated graphical user interfaces which make the learning curve extremely steep for beginners.

In contrast to that, the NCLab’s self-paced CAD course uses an extremely intuitive web browser interface accessible from any laptop or tablet, where students create and manipulate 2D and 3D shapes by typing simple commands. Students learn Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG) actively by building 2D and 3D models. They begin with simple 2D shapes and gradually progress to complex 3D models. Their models are automatically checked by the server and students receive useful real-time guidance which helps them learn most efficiently. As a result, students acquire advanced CAD skills along with visual-spatial reasoning skills, and ultimately they become prepared for a smooth transition into advanced commercial CAD systems. At the end of this course, students create a capstone 3D model of their own choice under the supervision of an NCLab instructor.

The NCLab’s CAD course is a one-of-a-kind, platform-independent experience that teaches advanced CAD skills using simple scripted programming. This unique approach enables students to focus on the underlying geometrical principles of CSG without struggling with complicated user interfaces of commercial software. The companion CAD App in NCLab allows students to create their own 3D models, save them in their user accounts, export as STL files for 3D printing, and even share with others online.

This illustrative video shows how 3D shapes can be created easily by typing simple commands:

Complex 3D models can be built easily by combining and manipulating 3D shapes:

Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG) Concepts Taught:
  • Create, color, and display 2D and 3D shapes
  • Move shapes in the 2D plane and 3D space using vectors
  • Rotate shapes in the 2D plane and 3D space using angles
  • Scale shapes in the 2D plane and 3D space
  • Subtract objects from each other, create unions and intersections of objects
  • Use axial, planar and rotational symmetry to simplify designs
  • Use the properties of finite shapes to control accuracy and efficiency
  • Identify repeating patterns and exploit them to simplify designs
  • Exploit repeating patterns, and automate designs using the Python for-loop
  • Create rotational Bezier solids, surfaces and shells