Ace Centre Learning is introducing a series of training courses on Computer Aided Design (CAD) in Assistive Technology in (AT) aimed at makers, engineers, designers, technologists and others involved in the development of assistive technologies with no or low knowledge of computer-aided design tools. They will also be useful for those with more experience who would like to develop techniques specifically suited to low volume development in assistive technology. The series will form a solid foundation from which you can develop additional skills independently.
CAD has become a ubiquitous tool in design and engineering over the last few decades. More recently, the cost of ownership of CAD tools has reduced significantly with subscription-based pricing models and their ability to run on mainstream hardware. No or low-cost solutions are also available, it’s good to have an awareness of these too to see if they meet your needs.
This change means that these tools are now within reach of a wider range of individuals and organisations. It’s possible for more people to take advantage of the key benefits:
- reduced development time – CAD tools allow you to work fast
- increased productivity – it’s easier to work smart and reuse previous work
- faster modification and design changes – edit what you’ve done, you don’t need to start again
- use of repeatable configurations – use component ‘templates’
- near-automatic generation of engineering drawings – orthographic, exploded and isometric view are simply placed in the document
- improved document quality – no need for sketches defining component specification
- re-use of data – the same CAD model can be used to produce an engineering drawing, exploded views for product documentation and a photo-quality rendering for marketing or presentation purposes
- easy assembly construction – use a library of components assembled into a kit of parts
- cloud-based storage enables collaborative working – allow distributed teams to work on projects at the same time from different locations
- reduced time from design to prototyping or production – use the CAD model to produce data that will drive the machine that makes the part, like a 3D printer
In the assistive technology world, we can make use of these benefits. The labour cost of development is usually high per item produced due to the relatively low production numbers. Sometimes we only need to make one object – so we need to work quick, and we need to work smart. CAD software helps keep development time down particularly when combined with local or desktop manufacturing using CNC-based production such as 3D printing, laser cutting, routing or machining.
This is a series of seven courses running in this order:
- An Introduction
- 3D Parametric Modelling
- Engineering Drawing and Design Management
- 3D Surface Modelling
- Standards and Regulation in AT (UK/Europe)
- Simple Electronic Development