Week 1: Drafting

Still File


We will go over what the class is all about. We will introduce ourselves. We will do some drawing exercises.

What the class is

The goal of this class is to gain an understanding and proficiency with Computer Aided Design (CAD).  We will become familiar with CAD software, mechanical design, and simulation.  The class will cover common CAD modeling techniques.  We will use our designs to get physical parts made as well as use them in virtual projects.  And we will explore CAD as an art medium.

What the class is not

This is not a virtual reality class, sorry the class title is a bit misleading. This is not a fabrication class, not exactly anyway.

The goal of the class

CAD, computer aided design, is often used to create drawings and models of parts to be manufactured. It is used to run simulations. Create animations. And we will do all of this, but we will also look at CAD as an artistic medium. One can model impossible things in CAD. Objects that can never be created in the real world.

What I Expect

  • Work Hard
  • Documentation (blogs)
  • Craftsmanship


Let’s meet each other. We will introduce ourselves, talk about our backgrounds, and discuss what we want to get from the class.

Why I Don’t Usually Teach CAD

There’s a huge chasm between having a theoretically perfect model… and then you having to make it. The world is filled with imperfections. Your tools, your materials: everything is imperfect but it’s not in your model. – Carl Bass


CAD lies to you.

At ITP, there seems to never be enough time. Never enough time to get the project done. To get it “right”. Never enough time to learn the tools and software to get something made. Why would I 3D model something, create assemblies of parts, and run simulations when I can quickly make the part and test it in the real world? I agree completely.

Learning to use CAD is a drag. It’s confusing, the software is often extremely complicated, and it never seems to operate the way we want it to. Honestly, the best way to learn is to watch a how-to video on one screen and follow it step by step on another screen.

My hope that after the class, everyone is comfortable with CAD and sees it as a tool. We will focus on Solid Modeling.

CAD Software

Fusion 360 CAD model

When you boil it all down, all CAD software pretty much does the same thing. But some do some things very well or more easily than others. When you hear “this CAD software is the best”, it usually means “I know this CAD software the best”.

We will be using Fusion 360 as our CAD software.

The good: It is free, it is quite a powerful piece of software, and there is a large and informed community of users out there.

The bad: It is cloud based and your files do not “live” on your machine.

The ugly: It is cloud based and is often updated, you have no control over this. Documentation and examples are often very outdated.

Must Haves

  • Computer that can run Fusion360
  • Paper and pencils

Nice to Haves

  • Digital Calipers
  • External Mouse
  • Cardboard, tape, scissors, hot glue, and clay

In-Class Exercises

We will be doing some basic sketching and technical drawing. Every time you sit down to model something in CAD, you should at least create a quick sketch if not a full technical drawing.

Sketch for rocket toy

If you can’t sketch it, you can’t CAD it.


We will use paper and pencil to get started with some drawings. You do not have to be a skilled draftsman, don’t worry if you “can’t draw”. The goal is to get the idea across in our sketches.

Quick sketch of a part

Let’s sketch a few objects.

Technical Drawing

Quick top, front, and side views

Technical drawings are a little more formal than sketches. Typically, they have a front, top, right side, and orthogonal view.

Orthographic Projection

Understanding Projection & Views

Let’s make some technical drawings from some objects.


Download the free student version of Fusion360 and install it. Make sure you can run the software on your computer.

Create technical drawings (front, top, side, orthogonal views) based on your object. Post drawings to your blog.

Related Reading/Viewing

Still File

Fusion 360 Student Download

Understanding Projection and Views