I’ve read on here many times “anyone can be trained to do CAD work” and was wondering if someone could help me understand what degree of modeling most ID firms do?

Personally speaking, I’ve been working with CATIA, Unigraphis, Solidworks, and Pro/E for about 10 years now and I still find myself struggling sometimes.

-What types and level of CAD or 3D modeling are talking about? Are we looking surfacing, general structures, 2D DWGs, fully functioning mechanical/electrical systems (ie. something like a fishing reel with all the innards and functions can be simulated onscreen just as it would in real life)?

-Do ID’ers get into FEA analysis and GD&T much?

-Do most firms follow ANSI, ASTM, or any other product standards?


Based on your questions, it sounds like you are an engineer. As you probably know, ID firms have engineers on staff and they have designers.

Typically, designers work in 2D and 3D to develop a product, but usually do not get into the detailed design, technical drawings, etc. That work, the more traditional engineering work, is usually completed by members of the team with an engineering background instead of a design background. Of course, there are exceptions to this, but this is the general rule of thumb.

So to answer your questions:
@ a typical ID firm, the engineers on staff complete all of the CAD tasks you have described. Depending on capability & desire, the ID’rs usually contribute to surfacing & general form/structure/mechanism details in CAD.

Constaninople is pretty much right on.

ID firms specialize in either or both design research or product development. Research can include product placement, social implications, consumer acceptability, etc. That is probably the biggest difference between engineering firms and ID firms. Some ID firms will have engineers on staff. ID designers focus mainly on surfacing, engineers take Class A surfacing and will handle the CAD models with GD&T and possibly look at the FEA. If you can surface, you can most likely solid model (not as easy the other way around).

That’s my two cents… Hope that helps.

Yes, I am an engineer.

The reason I was asking is, my lady and I have been trying to relocate to NYC for her school. I’ve been trying for months now to understand exactly what the market is like out there and what specialties/skillsets are lacking so that I can better present myself to companies.

Being that there is only a fraction of the manufacturing and out there (compared to the midwest), I’ve come to the general consensus that design firms are going to be my best option. All my conversations with ID’ers seem to have down-played 3D modeling and CAD work. I find this to be one of my strengths and wanted to make sure my idea of modeling was the same as theirs. According to what you’re saying, I’m in a whole different world of CAD.

Thanks for the help.

I would not necessarily say that you are in a “whole different world of CAD”. I am a mechanical engineer and I work at a design firm. I work with all of the topics that you mentioned on a daily basis. It is just that what you have described is the role of an engineer in a design firm vs. the role of a designer in a design firm. Good luck on your search!

Different world of CAD from an ID, not an ME. sorry… We use it for vastly different purposes is what I should have said.

Being that you’re an ME working at a design firm in NYC area, do you have any suggestions for me on how to best portray myself in applications? I’ve tried everything I can think of and I can’t even get a “no thank you” email.

Is is better to be cocky, humble, sincere, or oversell? I’ve tried every approach I can think of with no avail. I honestly poured everything I had into cover letters and resumes. Each letter and resume was made unique for the job, I made a portfolios (the best I can with almost everything being confidential) . It’s not even that I’m applying to positions that I don’t meet every requirement for either.

I read your other thread in the Design Employment forums hertric5. It looks like you’re really focused on your resume, your cover letters, your portfolio, etc, and that’s all good, but, what tools are you using to search for employment out there?

More often than not, people find jobs based through who they know, not what they know. I’ve never lived in NYC, but I can probably name at least 5 if not 10 people I know that do live in NYC and I’m in my early 30’s, I’d be willing to bet one of them could point me towards someone that’s hiring with a recommendation. Just from reading your posts it sounds like you’re trying to go this alone and find work on your own, have you tried to leverage any of your contacts? If you aren’t on Linkedin and/or Facebook go sign up for them and start adding everyone you know (and like/respect). You will start thinking of all kinds of people and it might turn out that some of them ended up in NYC and you didn’t even know it.

Maybe you’re already signed up on sites like these and are trying to leverage them, so, sorry if I presume too much.

I know what you’re saying. I’ve done the big time sites (Monster, CB, Indeed, etc), I’ve painstakenly gone through, researched, and handpicked every favorable design firm in Core77 and Coroflot’s directory (let me tell you, there are ALOT), I’ve looked in magazines, newspapers, etc. I’ve even looked in highly unreliable craigslist.

Like I said, I’m in the midwest. I’d say every almost everyone I went to school either went out west or stayed near home. I’m friends with a a handful of people in NYC but they are in noway connected to anyone that could be of assistance to me (already asked). I could just start spamming people in the companies through linkedin but I always saw that as more harmful than good.

I’m usually not a big fan of forums and really only started posting here to try and make some connections or get some suggestions.

you seem well-spoken (written) and have a good attitude. Good luck!