ADDA hosts 53rd Technical & Educational Training Conference

American Design Drafting Association is hosting the 53rd annual Technical & Education Training Conference on March 27-30, 2012 at the Hard Rock Hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  The theme this year is “Training with Evolving Technologies”.

The conference is a 4 day event focused around building drafting and design skills.  There is heavy focus on drawing standards by ASME, in particular GD&T and ASME Y14.5-2009.  CAD technologies are also well covered.

Though this is not one of the larger trade conferences, its tight focus on design and drafting puts it at the top for training in the area of ASME standards, in my opinion.  This will benefit individuals who need more in-depth skills related to GD&T and drafting (even when paper drawings aren’t used).  The two day workshops on GD&T are particularly valuable.

Due to scheduling conflicts, I won’t personally won’t be able to attend this year, but I do hope to get a chance to go again within the next couple of years.

The early bird special for people who register by March 5, 2012 is $100 off the attendance fee.  More information may be found at their registration form page.

**UPDATE** 2/2/2012

Description of workshops for this conference are now available.

ATEC11: GD&T presentations

ATEC11 offered explorations into GD&T in the form of two separate 2-day courses prepared by the ADDA, GD&T Fundamental Training and GD&T Application Training.

GD&T Fundamental Training

This course, presented by Dennis Schwartz, trained attendees with great coverage of GD&T fundamentals.  It walked them through an educational approach to learning the ASME GD&T standard, as applied to engineering drawings.  I spoke with one of the attendees, Kahlil Owens.  Owens is a drafter for a local company in the Kansas City area.  He is also attending ITT Technical Institute for formal education in the Drafting profession.  Even though he had a lot of praise for ITT Technical Institute’s program, he said that GD&T isn’t covered very well within school.  He found ADDA’s course at this conference to be intensive and important to the development of his career.

I attended the portion of this course that covered positional tolerancing.  I found the presentation of the material to be well-paced.  It was repetitive where necessary to help attendees fully understand and appreciate the use of GD&T.

GD&T Application Training

This course, presented by Luis Aguirre, was designed for individuals that already have an understanding of GD&T fundamentals.  It engaged attendees to offer solutions to their own real world problems.  Focus was on sharpening GD&T skills, making GD&T more useful, reducing costs, improved datum selection, etc.  There was also discussion on the advanced use of positional and profile tolerances.

Interesting presentations at ATEC11

Dr. Edward PriceA rather unexpected bonus at ATEC11 are the variety presentations, from the highly technical to practical real world application.  Dr. Edward Price presented a video about the Chicago stormwater retention system, run by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.  This program and collection of public works handles water pollution and sewer backup problems for 52 municipalities within Cook County.  Price covered how Chicago is setting up a water management system that can handle 11″ of rain in one day (from the so-called 100-year storm; there have been several such 100-year storms in the past 10 years!).  The system treats about 1.5 billion gallons of waster water each day.  Overflow is often stored in several reservoirs, including one called Deep Tunnel.  Treated solid waste from the system is used to convert old strip mine craters  into beautiful prairie land via a program called the Prairie Plan.  See the image below for a basic schematic of the water treatment system.


Sketchup Applications presentation

Jeff Levy gave an interesting set of hands-on presentations about Google’s Sketchup tool at the 52nd Annual Technical and Educational Conference.  Of course, Sketchup is a free 3D modelling application that uses mesh faces for the conceptual stages of design and graphic arts.  It seems to be most useful for architectural and civil engineering fields.  It also has functionality for mechanical engineering, such as simple physics simulation and animation (with plugins).  Some examples of this may be found on Youtube.   Sketchup Pro is a paid version that has some additional tools, such as Sandbox which allows the user to create natural looking topography.

Levy claims that companies are investing millions of dollars to develop Sketchup plugins.  The Google Sketchup community “has a plethora of models in the 3D warehouse”.  Models of real buildings may be added to Google Earth.  There is also 3D rendering available that has output which is almost like photography.

Levy advises to apply layers to elements within Sketchup.  Apply useful names to those layers.  Layers work differently in Sketchup than other applications as they don’t control visual properties.

Levy stated that his architectural students are asked two questions when they interview for jobs.

Do you know Revit?

Do you know Sketchup?

As with any 3D modelling application, users must learn the best workflows to get desired results.  Levy warns, “you get into trouble if you think like you build,” particularly when applying materials to elements that will be replicated within the model.

One area of difficulty with Sketchup is selection.  The selection window doesn’t have a field of depth.  Levy advices user to be careful in how they select elements, as unintended changes may occur.

General Session on Day 3 of ATEC11

Day 3 of the Annual Technical and Educational Conference started off with the presentation of The Leader’s Voice.  This was an informative discussion which focused on finding a balance between the emotional, factual and symbol aspects of leadership.  There was a recognition that emotion cannot be taken out of leadership, but must be considered and even utilized to improve leadership skills.  With that, there still must be efforts to present facts in relevant ways.  Well crafted use of the metaphor (symbols or storytelling) is a powerful tool of leadership as well.

The session ended a bit early, which gave attendees time to socialize between the beginning of the breakout presentations.

Annual Technical & Educational Conference Day 2

Due to timing and problems with my flight, I didn’t get into Kansas City until 12AM last night.  Obviously, this means that I completely missed day 1 of the Annual Technical and Educational Conference.  The schedule for day 1 of the conference was geared towards part 1 of a full two day course covering GD&T principles.

When I arrived to the conference this morning, I was immediately greeted at Registration by Donna Brenton, who help organized the event.  Not long after that, Floyd McWilliams (ADDA President) introduced himself to me.  Olen Parker, ADDA Executive Director, introduced himself right after.  This conference is put on by a very friendly group of individuals with lengthy experience in the field of design drafting.

Day 2 of the conference started out with a brief opening word from McWilliams.  ADDA Board of Directors each introduced themselves to everyone.

The first breakout presentation I attended was by Jeff Levy, who covered Google Sketchup very well.  There was also an interesting presentation and video by Dr. Edward Price, who discussed the Chicago Stormwater Retention System.  After that, I sat in on a portion of the second day of the GD&T training course.  My own presentation in the afternoon covered the establishment of company CAD procedures.  Finally, there was a very engaging presentation by Terry Schultz that covered workplace ethics.  I’ll go into more detail about most of these presentations at a later date.  As I’ve learned from other conferences, it’s a good idea to pace my coverage over the couple of weeks that follow the event.

So far, I’m seeing a lot of value in this event.  The GD&T courses are high quality.  There is enough variety in presentations to justify attendance for just about anyone in the drafting field from all areas, including mechanical engineering, architecture, civil engineering and graphic arts.  There is a lot of focus on covering several CAD applications, including SolidWorks, PTC, AutoCAD and Revit.

It should be noted that I did receive a pass to attend this event, although I’m kinda earning my keep by being a presenter.  No other expenses were covered by the ADDA.