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Is CAD the only application to use when working? If not, what are the other applications that a mechanic engineer uses?


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Alice’s Answer

Hi Andy,

CAD is certainly important for mechanical engineering among many skills that you need. An important way to evaluate CAD designs is through finite element analysis (FEA), which is a computerized method for predicting how a product reacts to real-world forces, vibration, heat, fluid flow, and other physical effects. For example, if you are designing a spring, you can perform FEA to evaluate points stress concentrations under various forces. Common FEA software include ANSYS and Solidworks Simulation.

In addition, statistics is a very important part of engineering in general, and statistical software like Minitab can be vary helpful to evaluate if the design change causes statistically significant performance improvement. There are also statistical software specifically designed to help you evaluate the reliability of the design, such as Reliasoft.

Lastly, general competency of Microsoft Office suite like Word, Excel, PowerPoint is pretty much a given now. Ultimately, your ability to communicate and present your ideas clearly and thoroughly is the skill that will set you apart from other engineers.

Alice recommends the following next steps:

Research Finite Element Analysis
Research Reliability Engineering

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Sungmo (David)’s Answer

There are a plethora of software that is used by mechanical engineers. CAD ( computer aided design) software is the category and specifics within that would include programs such as AutoCad, promechanica, CATIA, etc. outside of CAD type software you have programs ie- NASTRAN that simulates effects of various loads

In addition, there are free and open source applications that you can use. I always recommend a free version for learning. Sarah Pederson

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Amanda’s Answer

Hi Andy,
I'm sure you can tell from everyone's responses that there are a multitude of programs a mechanical engineer may use in their job. But note that each one has specific reason (I.e. Company preference/policy, task requiring CAD program for one thing vs. another, etc.). At least for me I've used the following but I hope this list continues to expand as better programs are found/develop:

1. Solidworks (SW)- CAD, drawings, etc. I've also seen Catia & Creo in other industries but SW tends to be the most used
2. Ansys- Finite Element Analysis (FEA)
3. Nastran- another FEA program
4. Rhino- Refining complex surface models or translating mesh models to nurb models (SW accepted models)
5. Navisworks- Large building infrastructure modeling tool (I think this was replaced with Revit)
6. GeoMagic Design X- I have not personally used it but a few of my colleagues have and it is very good for reverse engineering applications using scan data
7. Autocad- I'm seeing this be used less & less where I work but in other industries, they may use it
8. Composer- Type of CAD GUI interface (Solidworks side program used to make maintenance manuals/tutorials)

Not exactly 3D modeling application but still used:
7. Matlab/Arduino- Computer science
8. Mathcad/Excel- computational programs
9. Bluebeam- Drawing PDF review/submittal between multiple users

Hope this helps!

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Kyle’s Answer

I have used Microsoft Excel so much in my career as a mechanical engineer. It is such a powerful engineering tool, but most people don't understand it well enough to use it as such. I strongly recommend taking an Excel course somewhere in your education, particularly one geared towards engineering calculations (you probably don't care as much about finance stuff which Excel is also used extensively for.) If you can delve into the VBA side of Excel, even better. That will allow you to create your own functions and subroutines. Similarly, VBA can be used to create Macros in some CAD programs such as Solidworks and Inventor Profesional, and it's not too much of a jump to get to there from Excel VBA. Even if you don't want to go as deep as VBA, Excel is still a powerful tool just using the built in functions.

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naveen’s Answer

Some of the other CAD application that a Mechanical Engineer can use are as follows,
1. TinkerCAD.
2. FreeCAD.
3. BlocksCAD.
4. Creo.
5. Fusion 360°.
6. Solidworks.
7. AutoCAD.
8. CATIA.
9. OpenScad.
10. Rhino.


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naveen’s Answer

Some of the other CAD application that a Mechanical Engineer can use are as follows,
1. TinkerCAD.
2. FreeCAD.
3. BlocksCAD.
4. Creo.
5. Fusion 360°.
6. Solidworks.
7. AutoCAD.
8. CATIA.
9. OpenScad.
10. Rhino.


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