My question is can I refer and learn AutoCAD such that I can teach it to some engineering students, while I'm not a Engineering graduate?

I mean, I'm a Mathematics graduate, who has a good knowledge in computer science though. So, I feel that I can easily learn AutoCAD. But I'm not sure whether I'll be able to give good examples for Engineering students because so far I don't have any knowledge in Engineering drawings they usually do on "on paper".

Will I be able to use only a basic knowledge on Engineering drawings and do AutoCAD for them, while still not having a complete knowledge about Engineering drawings done on "on paper"?

Thanks a lot in advance.

  • 1
    Hi. Welcome to GDSE. I'm sorry, but CAD design/technical drawing is generally off-topic here. This site is about graphic design. Also we can't really speculate about your abilities. You know your own abilities better than any other person.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jun 19, 2023 at 12:31
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    For more information about what topics you can ask about here, please check the help page
    – Billy Kerr
    Jun 19, 2023 at 12:35
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    The answer is: No, you can not. Its not so much about generating a drawing as its about understanding the manufacturing methods used, strength, tolerancing and conventions of different branches. Being able to draw something is just the start of the journey. Validating the design and getting it made is the game. Students generally become good at making drawings after 4 years of practice even though they can have a drawing done first day of class. Also autocad is prettymuch the legacy application, only really used by civil engineers at this point. And even they are trying to deprecate it.
    – joojaa
    Jun 19, 2023 at 13:58
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    Technical drawing is additionally a skill akin to writing or legal contract making (because that is what they often are). Yes kids can write, but do they write easy to read, understandable, error free, misunderstanding free, concise and well structured texts that are easy to maintain and track changes in.
    – joojaa
    Jun 19, 2023 at 14:01
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    So the fastest way to understand technical drawings is to go and make a flanged bushing with a internal groove for a snap ring on a manual engine lathe. This will instantly impart appreciation of a drawings structure, and need for seeing things you can not see in reality, Ans once you are done you get appreciation of tolerance stack ups.
    – joojaa
    Jun 19, 2023 at 14:17

3 Answers 3


So I will answer this since we have this exact situation unfold in front of us. So turns out that our workshop floor has a bottleneck issue. This bottleneck is caused by students not being able to generate suitable quality of technical drawings/3d models. So our operator/teachers need to spend extraordinary amounts of time debugging, sending work back to be redone and negotiating with students to get them to minimum level of competency. The primary responsible teachers are generally unable to help.

This results in 7 x 100-200€ an hour machines standing half idle, when the work is spent in doing things that ought to have been done by the designer. Now its not like these students haven't been taught to use their CAD application. Its just that they have too little time on making designs and understanding the implications of what they have done.

Since all of the people who could help here are already allocated to even more important tasks the solution that management came up with is that we teach one of our computer savvy computer scientists to the task. Well its not entirely that simple, we have now reserved 2 hours of 3 persons time every week to bring the persons up to speed by next 4-8 months. Technically it was supposed to be 4 but the first candidate burned out in the process. (which is not surprising engineering students have 4 hours every week for 2 semesters and even they still aren't entirely ready to make drawings up to scratch).

So generally I would say no you can not do this. But its not entirely impossible it requires how much resources you have. I mean we expect our new member to be laser/ waterjet/surface cutting/3d printing daily next 4 months to get there and eventually design for 5 axis machining, casting, press die making and deep drawing. But then you may not need exactly that much out of your drawings but the engineers will at some point.

Was i personally ready? Hell no, I had 2000 manhours of training and even my first and second practical design was only semi passable.

  • PS: make something, design a card board box, then manufacture it with your drawings. Did it work right? Laser cut pieces and join them together.....
    – joojaa
    Jun 19, 2023 at 15:52
  • Yes, it's not the drawings but the thought processes behind them that need to be learnt. I had no formal training but had the good fortune to spend a few years as a systems design engineer working with some old-fashioned draughtsmen. Even the less grumpy one didn't take it well if I made the same dumb mistake twice. So I learnt about designing things that could be made. Of course the other half of the lesson is respecting your experts, discussing the tricky bits early. The software just makes it possible to turn a decent design into a decent drawing with modest skill - and bad into bad
    – Chris H
    Jun 20, 2023 at 10:33

Software is a tool. Knowing a tool never translates to acumen in a given profession.

Where software is concerned...

The how is easy. It's a simple matter to teach...

  • This button does X
  • This menu item does Y
  • This command does Z

X, Y, and Z all generate relatively similar results. They are merely alternative methods in the software to go from A to B. Heck, for the "how", much of the time, it's possible to merely use the software user's manual and/or documentation as a pseudo-syllabus.

The why is never easy.

It's a completely different matter to teach when to use X, Y, or Z.

  • When is X more appropriate than Z
  • When will Y will cause more issues than it may momentarily resolve
  • When is Z blatantly incorrect

None of this can be taught without first an understanding of the profession and how the software is utilized within the profession.

One needs to have a grasp of real-world usage in order to effectively, and efficiently, teach any tool (software) for a career track. It's one thing to teach a course for some specific software, it's entirely different to teach a course for a professional track which may utilize some application.

I believe, it's a disservice to teach others if you don't understand the profession beyond its tools. One may be able to teach the tool, but not the tool as its used in a given profession.

  • I would like to add here that while it may seem that knowing a trick will enable you to do a task X easily. But you can not become a robust worker by knowing a bunch of disparate tricks. The basic tooling is usually really boring to learn. Also different professions have separate tools, i can instantly spot a competent mechanical designer in the way they layout their sketches so that they are design meaningful. And a woodworker from the way they plan the grains of their material and how to minimize waste. Not because its the simplest way to do the shape but because its the sane way to do it.
    – joojaa
    Jun 19, 2023 at 16:05
  • That somewhat translates to most software @joojaa -- I can instantly tell the proficiency of a designer merely by seeing an InDesign layout, or a PSD/AI file. Well-honed professionals tend to do things in very similar ways - regardless of when or where they were trained - because they know what works well or is the most appropriate configuration for production.
    – Scott
    Jun 19, 2023 at 16:09

As a mechanical engineering student I feel I can give a valid opinion here. It is most certainly possible to learn engineering drawing without doing it on paper. My university in Germany actually teaches it directly for Solidworks without bothering about paper drafting. But the real issue that you might face is your lack of experience with manufacturing techniques, lack of knowledge about standards (such as DIN norms, standardized parts) and such. A lot of the standards relevant to engineering drawing can be found in this book: https://www.europa-lehrmittel.de/Mechanical-and-Metal-Trades-Handbook/1910X-4 If you are able to gain experience by observing and interacting with technicians and machine operators, you might just be able to bridge this gap. Good luck!

  • Thank you very very much @KarthickAshwath are there any qualifications like Diplomas, that we can do in a short time period, which will give a qualification for us to be a teacher in engineering drawing (now I'm asking about drawing on papers)? Jul 4, 2023 at 17:53
  • Perhaps like a certificate from an accredited institute, which will make me qualified to teach engineering drawing? I'm not an engineering graduate nor an engineer. Jul 4, 2023 at 17:56

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