Learn CAD Skills by Building 2D and 3D Models

Introduction to Computer-Aided Design

Learn CAD Skills by Building 2D and 3D Models

Course Description

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) skills are required in robotics, engineering, science, architecture, game design, and in many other areas. In this course trainees learn how to use Constructive Solid Geometry (CSG) to manipulate objects in the XY plane and in the 3D space, and how to combine them to build complex CAD models. The main objective of the course is to help trainees develop strong spatial reasoning skills (“thinking in the 3D space”).

Trainees 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 and trainees receive useful real-time guidance, which helps them learn most efficiently. As a result, trainees 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, trainees create a capstone 3D model of their own choice under the supervision of an NCLab instructor.

The companion CAD App in NCLab allows trainees 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:

Required Background

This course requires middle school geometry and keyboarding experience.

Equipment Requirements

Internet access

Email and Browser

Course Structure and Length

This course is self-paced, and trainees will practice each skill and concept as they go. Automatic feedback is built into the course for both practices and quizzes.

The course is divided into four Units, and each Unit is composed of five Sections. Each Section consists of 7 instructional/practice levels, a quiz, and a master (proficiency) level. Trainees can return to any level or quiz for review.

This table illustrates the course structure as units, sections, and levels.

Trainees will need approximately 80 hands-on hours, based on their ability level, to complete this course. Since the course is self-paced, the amount of time required to complete the course will vary from trainee to trainee. Trainees are responsible for learning both the tutorial content and the skills acquired through practice.