MCAD Tech News (#249)

3 Sep, 2008

Promoting Education, Part 2: SolidWorks

Like an increasing number of CAD companies, SolidWorks offers a wide variety of products and programs for aspiring engineers.

By Jeffrey Rowe

Jeffrey Rowe photo

I've long been a proponent of technical education at several levels, from secondary school through college and university, in math, science, and technology. I'm happy to report that the MCAD community has become increasingly more involved in education with greater commitment and impressive results.

In April, MCAD Tech News #238 discussed the educational programs and products offered by Autodesk. This time around, I spoke with Marie Planchard, director of worldwide education markets for SolidWorks, who provided insight into the world of education from SolidWorks' perspective. She's an enthusiastic proponent of education who has "been there" as an engineer, educator, and author on several CAD packages over the years.

Planchard sees herself in supporting the education of students and teachers specifically as an engineering education advocate first and a SolidWorks advocate second. She employs SolidWorks as a medium for promoting engineering education — a means to an end. To help teachers and students make the connection between design and SolidWorks, she likes to suggest, "Let's see how SolidWorks can help you." This mindset leads her to promote SolidWorks from an educational, rather than a marketing, perspective. She was also proud to say that education advocacy is ingrained within SolidWorks as a company, from CEO Jeff Ray on down.

SolidWorks Products and Programs
"One of the main objectives of education at SolidWorks is to teach students not just modeling, but running a business with 3D design as a frame of reference and context," Planchard said. The company does this by offering several 3D design products and packages and supporting them through several company-sponsored and independent programs. The company also has some value-added resellers who are focused exclusively on education and who visit schools, competitions, and trade shows developing relationships with educators and educational institutions. Read more »

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Cadalyst contributing editor Jeffrey Rowe is the principal of Cairowest Group, an independent industrial design, mechanical engineering, and technical communication consulting firm with offices in Colorado and Michigan. You can reach him by e-mail at or by phone at 719.221.1867.


MCAD Modeling:
Is 2D Drawing Doomed?

By Mike Hudspeth, IDSA

During my last few semesters of high school, I stressed out about what I would do for a living. My mother wanted me to be a doctor — she even named me Michael David so I would be an M.D. from the start. Unfortunately, I didn't really want to be a doctor, but I had to do something. I wanted a job that would always be in demand. I looked hard and settled on drafting. Everything had to be designed, I reasoned, so there would always be a need for someone to document the design. I would be a mechanical draftsman, I concluded, thus fulfilling my mother's wish for me to be an M.D.

I have since moved on to other titles, and my job today is very different than the jobs I held in those early years. For me, the changes in my professional life were mostly out of necessity. But what about all the professionals today who create 2D drawings and depend on that skill for income? Some say that 2D drawing is becoming obsolete. I have to ask: Is it really? Read more »


Mark Your Calendar: MCAD Events

Autodesk Northeast 2008
September 18, 2008
Boxborough, Massachusetts
The focus of Autodesk Northeast 2008 is digital prototyping and how use of the Autodesk Digital Prototyping tools can connect disparate departments into one cohesive team. Hosted by M2 Technologies. Read more »

AUGI One-Day CAD Camps
Various U.S. Cities
September 18 - November 5, 2008
AUGI CAD Camps offer a full day of training, expert advice from top instructors, networking opportunities, technology updates, and more. Read more »

SolidWorks 2009 Midwest Premiere Events
October 1-8, 2008
Various Upper Midwest Cities
Graphics Systems will host these events focusing on the release of SolidWorks 2009. The free seminars will also highlight several additional products that increase productivity and product quality for companies that design their own products. Read more »

SolidWorks 2009 Launch Events
October 8-16, 2008
Various California Cities
Sponsored by 3-D CADWARE, these events will let participants discover new tools for designing better product; learn to handle large, complex assemblies; network with fellow designers and engineers; and more. Read more »

For a complete list of CAD meetings, conferences, training sessions, and more, check out our calendar of events on