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  • Should an Engineer be able to draw?

    Discussion in 'The main mechanical design forum' started by Archimedes, Mar 20, 2014.

    1. Archimedes

      Archimedes Active Member

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      I have read a few biographies of famous engineers James Dyson, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Soichiro Honda. I noted that they all studied art or were accomplished artists.

      I found this interesting.
       
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    3. ChrisW

      ChrisW Well-Known Member

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      I have a good answer but to probably a different question.

      James Dyson (for example) isn't an Engineer! No disrespect for an innovative genius but he is an entrepreneur, inventor, creative designer but not an Engineer.

      It is likely that similar figures in the past employed artistic talent and familiarity with their subject to create designs which "look right" without necessarily employing Engineering principles.

      The greatest such talent is probably Da Vinci who went one step further and could imagine things which no-one had ever seen before.
       
    4. GarethW

      GarethW Chief Clicker Staff Member

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      That's an interesting question Archimedes. I think it's an extremely useful skill to have. I'd say that advanced abilities are not essential, but any ability will help massively. I can draw reasonably well and it often in comes in handy when I want to communicate an idea to someone else quickly or get my head around a design. At the bare minimum, I think mechanical engineers should at least be able to scribble out a section view with reasonable coherency to help figure out designs on paper quicky (the "back of a fag packet sketch") or communicate something to others - maybe in impromtu whiteboard sketch in a meeting, for example.

      My view of the drawing skill requirements for different design roles:

      • Mechanical Engineer: Reasonable sketching skills to communicate functional or design intent are a major advantage
      • Product Designer: Good sketching/drawing skills are essential
      • Industrial Designer: Excellent drawing skills are absolutely essential
       
    5. tsutrina@gmail.com

      tsutrina@gmail.com Member

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      Please not that James Dyson the founder of the Dyson vacuum cleaner is an industrial designer to my knowledge, not an engineer.
       
    6. brads

      brads Active Member

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      Being able to hand sketch is very handy skill to have. My sketching is rubbish and rather than clarifying any confusion it just makes it worse.

      The companies I have worked for have all been weighted towards engineering (calculations, welders etc) rather than design, so when we are brain storming the sketches can be quite comical. It’s like when a bunch of you look at the same cloud in the sky and all see something different.

      I think an Engineer should be able to hand sketch. This helps like GarathW says in meetings or when brain storming at the start of a project, hand sketches are loads quicker than trying to whip up a CAD model. I am surprised sketching isn’t taught as a module in University (well they didn’t in my Mechanical Engineering degree). In University and in every job I have had everybody assumes that everybody has this skill.
       
    7. brads

      brads Active Member

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      I have just checked the university courses with these titles and the entry requirements for Product Design and Industrial Design is an A-level in Art. For Mechanical Engineering (with design) is A-levels in Maths and Science.
       
    8. PierArg

      PierArg Well-Known Member

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      This is quite reasonable and in agreement with Gareth's post.
      Mechanical Engineer must see the objects even from a phisical point of view.
      The mechanical engineer must give a function to his objects.

      Engineer comes out with a solution, not with a drawing.
      Then the Designer puts in a sheet the engineer's idea.
      They are two different and complementary roles.
       
    9. brads

      brads Active Member

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      Yes I was agreeing with GarethW.
       
    10. Dana

      Dana Well-Known Member

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      That depends on where you work. In many industries, draftsmen and designers are a thing of the past... I have always made my own drawings, on paper when I started out, but using CAD for most of my career.

      A good design engineer should be able to make an understandable freehand sketch. When I was in college (late 1970s), CAD was in its infancy and hadn't made it to the universities yet; freshman year engineering students all had to take a class in mechanical drawing or engineering graphics, and part of that was freehand sketching.
       
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    11. PierArg

      PierArg Well-Known Member

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      Hi Dana,
      is always a pleasure to read your posts! :)

      I agree with you about the freehand sketch.
      I'm a bit younger than you: I attended university/college in 2000's with the CAD softwares enough diffused but I can say that freehand drawing was still widely used.
      I think freehand drawing is synonimus of Desing knowledge.
      The CAD is just a tool that allow the Designers/Draftsmen/Engineers to communicate their ideas.

      So, what I wanted to mean in my post is exactly what you wrote.
      If I need to do a quick mockup I always use the "blank paper sheet" and the pencil.
       

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