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How hard can 3D design be?

The words ‘3D’ and ‘design’ in the same sentence for the average Joe probably sounds like a matrix of time and complexity. Odds are that at some time in the past you either uttered or thought of 3D design as “it’s going to take up too much of my time” or “only designers can do it – it’s too complex” or “I need to pay tooth and nail for the 3D software”. Well, the opposite is true.

Simply put, anyone can pick up 3D design in no time at zero cost.

Let’s begin. We know that just like in cooking, exercising, writing, etc. we only improve on a skill through trial and error. And ultimately, the biggest difference when pursuing any skill is Attitude. Our attitude (among other factors) determines the time and complexity of learning a new skill. The same is true for 3D design.

So until we can automatically wire ourselves to a PC and instantly download a skill, we have to go the less attractive route and learn a new skill willingly. Therefore, to answer the simple question “How hard can 3D design be?” we can answer it by asking another one “How hard do you want it to be?”  

Let’s have a look at the arguments.

“too much time”, “too complex” and “too expensive”

Like most things, there is always a learning curve associated to acquiring a new skill. But what if it was possible to learn and practically master 3D design in 3 to 5 hours? At school or home - that’s about 1/8 of a day. Could you learn other software from the beginning in that time? Probably not.

To test this, DesignSpark Mechanical (a 3D design software) was delivered to a group of students at the University of Bristol. You may argue that they were ‘forced to attend’ or they had ‘already worked on 3D design’ however in both cases this was untrue – pure novices. The students present were electronic and computer science students with no 3D design background.

Hence we can assume that the only conditions for learning 3D design is being an intermediate PC user and attitude.

So let’s take a look at what the students, educators or professionals alike learn in the 3 hours. 

1. A blank canvas is defined.

(Image 1: Drawing on a blank canvas)

2. Then you start learning how to select, pull and move objects to suit your needs. Nothing different from any other tool you would use.

(Image 2: Defining an object)

3. Soon, the design gets into detail without much effort - limited only by your ideas and imagination.

(Image 3: Creating refined detail)

4. At the final stage, parts are imported from the library into the design or you can sketch your own.

(Image 4: Import a design)

(Image 5: Create your own)

Without over complicating, this 4-step process is the typical process that DesignSpark Mechanical workshops follow. The same as the students at the University of Bristol followed - success!

If by reading this article, you interested in joining one of these workshops, stay glued to DesignSpark to find out when the next workshop will be. In the meantime, request some teaching material from RS University; watch some video tutorials; or simply read up on bloggers that have taken DesignSpark Mechanical and developed extraordinary designs.

Focused on providing the next generation of engineers with the tools, skills and resources to express innovative ideas and love what they do.

20 Dec 2016, 7:57