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Goal: Students learn to convey their technical ideas with technical sketches.
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Without the ability to communicate well, engineers cannot function in a team and are of limited value to industry. Technical drawing and sketching are essential communication tools for engineers. Using established sketching conventions (orthographic projections and isometric sketches), students will learn how to quickly convey their design ideas to others.
The ability to sketch ideas is not only important to engineers it is absolutely essential. Even if an engineer was stranded alone on an island, the ability to sketch would help to work out details in ideas and help to identify potential problems. Technical sketching and drawing does NOT require any artistic ability. Once one is made aware of the basic techniques, it is no longer the "ability to draw" that will limit his/her sketches. But rather, the limitation is one's "ability to think through the details of their design." In industry sketching is used to quickly document rough ideas and identify general needs for improvement. Technical drawing would be employed only for those ideas deserving a permanent record. Sketches and drawings are composed of the same basic information, but there is a tradeoff between time required to generate it verses the level of design detail (and accuracy). The basics of technical sketching can be learned in a single sitting. However, it will take considerable practice to achieve the fluency that really facilitates team discussions in the future. Don't be surprised if those who are new to sketching actually enjoy working on sketching assignments. It is an easy area for most students to achieve in.
Orthographic Projection is a generally accepted convention for representing 3D objects using multiple 2D views of the front, top, bottom, back, and sides of the object. In practice, the minimal number of views possible is used to describe all the details of the object. Usually, the Front View, Top View, and a single Side View are sufficient and are oriented on the paper according to accepted convention. Isometric Projection attempts to represent 3D objects using a single view. Instead of the observer viewing the object perpendicular to the object, the object is rotated both horizontally and vertically relative to the observer.
There are rules and conventions to guide the creation of both types of projections. Additionally, either of them can be supplemented with various types of dimensions. Whether sketching or drawing, the goal is the same. The goal is to communicate the necessary detail to the intended audience.
Without any introduction to technical sketching guidelines, have the students sketch one of your selected objects "with enough detail that someone else can make a similar object." Compare their sketches to a detailed technical sketch (that describes features on every side, has basic dimensions, and includes basic material descriptions). Explain the basic rules of orthographic sketching using a few examples. Then allow the students to practice in small groups. Explain the basic rules of isometric sketching using a few examples. Then allow the students to practice in small groups. Allow the students to work together to answer questions about a real part based on dimensioned sketches (or drawings) of the part. If you wrap up the week by having the students re-sketch the object from the beginning of the week, there should be some very obvious improvements.
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