industrial design

need some help from the industrial design guys here.

I’m an engineering student in vancouver canada, and lately I’ve become interested in industrial design and manufacturing. I’d like to work with metals and plastics, etc to improve some of my engineering projects.

The problem is that my school (sfu) doesn’t offer any machine-shop type programs, and local colleges only offer full-time degree programs.

so… how do I get started in this stuff? I’m reading books, but it’s pretty useless without some hands-on training.



You could check and see if any machine shops in your area, have openings for Interns. It is kind of an old school way to learn a trade and I am not certain in today’s lawsuit happy world, if many shops still do this or not.

How can I help you?

I am sure I teach actually what you want to learn :wink:

You may wish to check out this site, links, tabs and all. Then see if you can get a job at a company that uses their systems. I volunteered to come in on my own time to learn. Mind you, this is pretty high end software and equipment to run it. The company said that I could, so I did. (There was no way that I could even afford a seat, around 30K a year, let alone the equipment which our company leased.) The manuals are very large and there was not a structured learning program. I did not learn it all, believe me, it is awesome.
Another thing to consider is maybe trying to get a job in maintenance at such a place. That way you get to know the machine tools and their limitations. You can draw whatever you want, but if the tool can not do what you tell it to do, you are liable to cause a bit of damage.
Cad/Cam applications are also interesting, working with post processing applications and all.
All the above have rather steep learning curves, and then there is the matter of gaining the employer’s trust to let you try.

Good luck!

cekuhnen, I will personally pay for your airfare if you come to vancouver and tutor me :smiley:

I like the idea of an apprenticeship/internship. I’ll look around and see if I can find anything.


There are occasionally opportunities for cross school projects between SFU and Emily Carr (the local ID school for those of you outside of Vancouver) You might want to check these out as that may help you get some more access to ID related info. Try visiting the office of Rob Inkster. He is based out of Emily Carr but works as a technology industry liaison and is responsible for things like internships, co-ops, and inter school collaborations.
Alternately - I can think of a few machine shops in your area that do a bit of design. - Look up Pathway Design and Manufacturing or Dark Cycles - they are run out of the same office near SFU and do contract machining and manufacturing but also design and produce their own line of Mountain Bike pedals cranks and assorted other items…

Hi Jack000

thanks for the offer - but I work here in Grand Rapids full time.

In which scale do you need help?

cool, I’ll check out emliy carr too.

the biggest thing that I might do is a roughly human-size robot. But generally I think smaller, hand-held kind of stuff.

Knowledge of Autocad or Inventor would help you land an apprenticeship and get your foot in the door. It is what got me in a Manufacturing Engineering Office (and occasional work in the Product Engineering Office). Our head engineer is TERRIBLE with Autocad, and you might be surprised by how many of the “good old boys” of Engineering haven’t transferred over to computer aided drafting.
Be useful to them first, prove your engineering ability second.

this thread is useful for precision modeling with blender

i think it’s far from easy to get a job in this field from self-study but i might be wrong