CAD, CAD Careers, General

I am curious about who is using Google Sketch Up and how it is being intergrated into the design process

Is there a roll for Google Sketch Up in your job?                     

I am curious about who is using Google Sketch Up and how it is being integrated with Autocad projects. How might this new tool affect your career?

My experience started out on my own and using the free version just to see what it was all about. One year later, Sketch Pro is installed at home; the office and I have one real project behind me. To top it off the boss has asked that I model all of our existing projects for linking to Google Earth to use in marketing.

Going into Sketch Up I had assumed that my experience with CAD would carry me through. I wasn’t completely wrong but I, absolutely, climbed the learning curve faster after reading “Introduction to Google Sketch Up” by Aidan Chopra, with Laura Town (Wiley Pathways – publisher). Even though I don’t have another text to compare this one to I still recommend it highly. This book comfortably takes you from beginner through to advanced skills. For the trainers out there I want to mention that this book is also part of the Wiley & Son’s Pathways line of text. You will have to visit their website for details but the gist is that they use a method of presenting the material, they call C.A.S.E. (Content, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation). Accompanied by a host of online reference materials, available to teachers and students, the Pathways line of text is on the top of my list for future classes.

My first work related project, you know those ones with a budget, was a very high-end barn/workshop.                                                        After a week or two of modeling the doors, windows and trim in very realistic detail I realized that my time was well spent as a learning exercise but did very little to help the project’s budget. I should have been more focused on the required end product from the start of the project. As an aerial view of multiple buildings, no one could appreciate all that detail work and time I had put into it. Just to scratch the surface, this is one tip I will offer here. In a nutshell, take time to play with the software and get comfortable with the environment. Working in 3D like this can take some time to get used to especially if you spend the majority of your time working in 2D. When you start a project, with Sketch Up, take the time to plan out your attack. Know what the end out put will be (close up and detailed kitchen cabinets or an aerial view of the whole site). These are skills that you are likely to have already, so focus on what you know and you will be more likely to impress the on lookers.

You may remember that I teach an Autocad class? This was where I got my second big Sketch Up project. In voicing my excitement over the potential for Sketch Up to the Adult Education Director, I agreed to teach a nine-hour course that would introduce Sketch Up.

My goal was to:

  • Expose the potential benefits and limitations of the software.
  • Introduce the basic tools and get the students familiar with the 3D environment.
  • Help ease the learning curve the way “Introduction to Google Sketch Up” did for me.


Our first semester went very well and a second class is scheduled for this spring. The only change that I will make is to add another three hours of class time. As far as any future Sketch Up classes go I can foresee switching to a more industry or project specific course structure and going into detail on the tools and processes need to achieve the results.

If there appears to be enough interest I may produce an “Introduction to Sketch Up” online course that would accomplish the same goals as my current Adult Ed class has, so chime in and let me know your thoughts!

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CAD, CAD Careers, CAD Training, General

Still Training

Welcome back,

Since I last wrote, I have closed out another semester of teaching CAD at the adult ed program in town. The main course that I teach is a beginner’s introduction to Autocad and drafting. I say the main one because I took on another course introducing Google’s Sketch Up but I will get to that next time.

This past semester I threw out all of my notes. Not in a fit rage or anything, I needed to refocus and rewrite them thinking of ways to use what I have learned in the class room and on the web. Having an online business has been a goal of mine for awhile and it didn’t take long teaching to see that I found a great opportunity to get paid while I built a product to sell on the web. I have much to learn about the internet environment, but I have a start.

My first thought was to create the material in a format that my students could use while away from the class room all week and still be translated easily into web-based material. I started by getting every class outlined with the study material well formatted and organized in a word document (and ready for Power Point).

I am pulling away from the text book and creating my own material that I teach. For now I feel that it will be a good investment to author my own material, especially since much of it has been done already as I refined my CAD class. I would not have made this a priority had I not been so far into it already. I am trying to remember Michael Masterman’s phrase “Ready, Fire, Aim”. I still feel that the textbook we used is very good, however, could be more of a companion text.

By the way, thanks for your patience, I am using the “Ready, Aim, Fire” concept in blogging also. Hopefully the passion that I have for what am writing about comes through and holds your attention!

I’m evaluating a multi-media course on blogging from the folks at Simpleology. For a while, they’re letting you snag it for free if you post about it on your blog.It covers:

  • The best blogging techniques.
  • How to get traffic to your blog.
  • How to turn your blog into money.

I’ll let you know what I think once I’ve had a chance to check it out. Meanwhile, go grab yours while it’s still free.

A new semester is starting in a couple of weeks and I have some work to do but I plan to roll out the new material to the class and get their input. What a great opportunity!  My goal this semester is to break into the internet and establish a site where I can publish the material for my students and add some additional resources for them.

We may have a few expanded topics here soon. I could really get away from CAD and just talk about training, blogging, entrepreneurial spirit, and lets not forget staying organized and balanced!

CAD, CAD Careers

And what’s wrong with hand drafting?

In 1981 I started my training at central Maine Vocational technical Institute. I will never forget the lettering guides and the first exercise of the day was to fill a page with text to practice making the perfect block letters, every day.

There were no computers in the architectural department and the concept of cad, at least to us students, did not exist. I didn’t realize it at the time but I was perfecting what would soon become the lost art of hand drafting. Would one now use the acronym H.A.D.?