Juan David's Newsletter - June 6, 2021

So You Want to Learn CAD? Why Playing Rocket League is like Learning CAD

Hi everyone,

Let’s talk about learning CAD.

In this essay, I’ll share how I learned and have been learning to CAD, and in the end, I’ll show you pictures and videos of projects I’ve modeled.

If you have suggestions, improvements, or comments, let me know (reply to the email), and we’ll add them to the essay.

—————

👋 On my side, my discrete math class started, and of course, I already made a video explaining truth tables. I also had my first Clubhouse conversation, which felt like an in-person podcast interview.

Ok, now let’s learn CAD.


For better readability, read this essay on my website

So You Want to Learn CAD?

Why Playing Rocket League is like Learning CAD

Although this essay might be for 12-year-olds, anyone can read this essay and learn to CAD.

So you’re twelve and you love to play Rocket League. Your parents bought a 3D printer and they’ve tirelessly told you how fun it would be to learn CAD and 3D printing. You put together this 3D printer, and you’ve seen how cool it is to print stuff. Imagine what it would feel like to print something YOU made? SUPER COOL!

“Think of what you’ll learn!” your mom tells you.  “Don’t sit around the house all day doing nothing, you need to be exercising your mind!”

Your parents tell you learning is important, but they rarely tell you why.  They may not know why themselves. But they love you and want the best for you. And that’s good enough.

But them constantly telling you to do something that has made you want to do the opposite.   

Here’s what I’d suggest doing, you respectfully ignore what they say by saying “Mom, Dad, Thank you. You’re right.” Then, you find your own original reason to bother to learn CAD. 

What did you do with Rocket League?  You found your reason, and now you play because you get to socialize with your friends, customize awesome cars and enter an entirely new world.

What if I told you CAD allows you to create and model your own world? 

CAD is fun, and sometimes even more fun than Rocket League (I know what you’re thinking, “No way”). All you need to do is get started. 

“But how?”

By downloading a CAD software.

What CAD Software Should I Use?

Fusion 360. 

Why? It’s a cloud-based software with a supportive community, and a ton of YouTube videos to learn from.

“What if I want to use a different one?”

Go for it. There are many others like AutoCAD, Blender, Siemens NX, SolidWorks, Revit, among many others. 

The software you learn does not matter as they’re always changing. That’s why you should focus on learning the principles.

I Downloaded the Software. Now What?

There are two approaches. Let’s go one by one:

1. Take a Class

A mediocre path. Why?  Because you aren’t forced to find your reason for why you should learn. Instead, someone “teaches” you how to use it by giving you boring assignments, and doesn't tell you why learning to CAD matters, or about the possibilities of what you can create by using your imagination. By the end of the class, you probably won’t have learned much, but you can say you have taken the class. 

Despite these aspects, taking a class might make sense if you know you won’t have the discipline or patience to learn it on your own. 

2. Find Cool Projects

Find objects or ideas in your life that might be cool to CAD. How? Follow your curiosity. This is my favorite approach and the one I’m currently pursuing. 

Right now, I’m modeling a storage case for my microphones. Next, I want to model a camera cover for my laptop. 

If you go down this route, I’d recommend watching YouTube tutorials to learn how to get around your chosen CAD software. 

When I was in this process, I took this tutorial, which I recommend. It’s not that long, and you can do 2-3 videos every day, and you’ll know the basics in less than a week. Exciting!!!

This process will also help you find your reason for learning, you’ll know why and how to use CAD. No one will tell you what to do or how to do it except your imagination. You’ll be following your inner curiosity.

If you can’t find a reason yet, learn to CAD for the sake of it. Do it because you can. Soon enough, you’ll find a reason why you want to learn more, or a reason why you want to stop.

Start Today 

Guess what? You’ve already started by reading this essay. 

Now, download the software, and decide on your approach. 

Expect to be frustrated. You’ll know what you want to make but you won’t know how to get there. 

When you get frustrated, I want you to do one thing: ASK FOR HELP.  How? 

  • 1) Google: It’s your best friend. You’ll find an article or a YouTube video of someone who has had the same problem.

  • 2) Contact me, and I’ll be happy to help you or connect you with someone who can.

You will continue to get better and better, and you’ll get to a point where it’s enjoyable.  Like anything, it’ll take time to learn, but it will be worth it. 

Oh, and by the way, if you read this essay, and you thought it was too personal, your name might as well be Lucas.

My CAD Adventures

For fun, I’ve included pictures of things I have modeled using CAD.

Thanks to SMP for reading drafts of this essay.


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