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Mid Level Cad Packages As Stepping Stones For Solid Modeling Education

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2001 Annual Conference


Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001



Page Count


Page Numbers

6.723.1 - 6.723.13



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Paper Authors

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Steven Schweitzer

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John Klegka

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2538

Mid-Level Cad Packages as Stepping Stones for Solid Modeling Education Major Steven J. Schweitzer, Colonel John S. Klegka United States Military Academy, West Point

Disclaimer: The views presented in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department of the Defense or any of it’s components. Also, the products mentioned in this article are not officially endorsed by the Department of Defense or any of its components.


Introductory courses to 3-D solid modeling have the difficult tasks of both introducing 3-D solid modeling concepts and instructing the use of a particular software package to exercise these concepts. In many settings more time is spent learning how to use the solid modeling software than understanding the conceptual techniques of visualizing 3-D solid objects. The use of mid- level Computer Aided Design (CAD) packages with built in tutorials can greatly reduce the amount of time spent learning how to use the software and allow the instructor to focus on conceptual understanding.

Most mid-level CAD packages do not offer the power or functionality of the larger, more robust software used by industry, but their ease of use makes them a great first step in educating a student in 3-D solid modeling. Several mid-level CAD packages are made or supported by producers of large, industry accepted CAD packages. This relationship makes it easy to use the mid-level CAD package as an instructional tool toward teaching the industry standard CAD package. The instructor is still faced, however, with the task of selecting the appropriate software. This paper will describe a process for selecting an optimum package from among a variety of contenders. It will also explore the use of Parametric Technologies Corporation’s (PTC) Pro/Desktop as a stepping-stone for the use of PTC’s Pro/Engineer.


In the past few years computers have begun to dominate the Engineering Design Graphic (EDG) curriculums. The hand drawing tools of the past are rapidly being discarded in favor of 3-D solid modeling software. A survey of EDG professional educators showed that over 40% of schools no longer teach the use of manual drawing equipment1. This fact implies that a heavy reliance is being placed on the use of computers for introductory instruction. It also means that young engineering students are being required to master complex software packages while trying to grasp the fundamental concepts of engineering graphics.

The majority of EDG courses rely on high-end CAD packages for their instruction in 3-D Solid Modeling. Pro/Engineer is currently the most popular 3-D solid modeling package used for instruction1. High-end CAD packages are extremely powerful but they are also extremely

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

Schweitzer, S., & Klegka, J. (2001, June), Mid Level Cad Packages As Stepping Stones For Solid Modeling Education Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. 10.18260/1-2--9560

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