Training draftsmen for woodworking

Can an engineer learn the nuances of drawing millwork in CAD? March 20, 2001

Iím training a guy to draw store fixtures and millwork in CAD. He is fluent in AutoCAD and has been an engineer for years. I have successfully trained him to run the CNC router, but training him to do drawings has taken longer than I expected.

Has anyone had success in this situation? Did I underestimate the learning curve? Should I have started with a trained woodworker and taught him CAD?

Forum Responses
We have trained four woodworkers to learn CAD. We had trouble training skilled draftsmen to learn the nuances of woodwork. Our senior engineer trains the staff every week on methods and practices. He started out as a CAD operator and another shop taught him casework detailing. I think the learning curve is a minimum of six months. It's a learning process every day.

AutoDesk, the maker of AutoCAD, estimates that is takes two years to become proficient in AutoCAD.

I had two good AutoCAD guys drafting for me and they just didn't get it. You are better off sending a worker to some CAD classes.

It's usually easier to go the route where lead guys in the shop who show interest move into engineering. They should be knowledgeable enough to perform project management tasks. That requires a thorough knowledge of construction, materials, hardware, etc.

There are indicators of who's worth the effort. The guys who learn fast are the ones who find time to take Community College courses after work; who have a computer at home and use it to learn. They'll be reading the industry magazines and buying Cadence. If they only draw at work, it's going to take a long time.