Written by: Joe Richter, Application Engineer
If you are a parent or guardian, then you most likely want the best future for your kids. And as such you may wish to help them with some of life’s major choices. As for example what they will do for a career after they get out of High School or College. If you enjoy Engineering and Design, then why not share your passion with them?
Does this intro sound familiar? It might, as this was the start of an article I wrote back in 2013 introducing a number of fun CAD tools aimed at kids (including the really cool LEGO Digital Designer).
Bad news first – a number of the tools I wrote about previously have been retired. However, I’m pleased to be writing a new article on this subject, along with including some great news. Long story short, I shared my CAD for Kids articles with Marie Planchard, the head of SOLIDWORKS Education, at SOLIDWORKS World a few years ago. She loved the idea and thus spearheaded a project at SOLIDWORKS to focus on and create some SOLIDWORKS applications to inspire kids to become Designers and Engineers.
Therefore I’m pleased to share with you SOLIDWORKS Apps for Kids. This suite of tools will help to shape your young prodigy and they include:
This application is a digital doodle pad; this allows you or them to plan out a design by using pictures, text, and even a paint brush for free-drawing rough sketches. Complete with “move to front” or “move to back” layer control and support for transparency/alpha channels from .PNG images.
This application is like digital putty (a subdivision surface modeler). With it, kids can start with a basic primitive shape (Box, Cone, Cylinder, Torus, Globe, or Ball), and push or pull it to make whatever shape desired. Multiple shapes can be put together in the same document. Or they can start with a community model and ‘Riff’ it to make a new version of it.
This application takes the model that was created in Shape It and allows kids to change its color, free-draw, paint, or put some stickers on it. Then they can add a scene to make the model look its best!
This application is like a digital erector set that kids can use to create 2D structures like four bar linkages. Included is the ability to add motors at various joints. This will allow them to see the mechanical motion of their design. Along with the ability to add markers to various joints, it quickly becomes a digital type of Spirograph for creating fascinating spiral artwork.
(Show It is Coming Soon) This application will allow you to make a storyboard slideshow with your models.
(Print It is Coming Soon) This application will allow kids to print out images from Style it, generate a 3D cube model for printing, or order a 3D print of their creation from Sindoh.
If your kids like what they have created and want to share with the community, they can! This will enable others to modify it to evolve the design or to make other fascinating creations with it. And the best part is that these applications run in the cloud, so they can work with their projects on their computer, tablet, or smartphone. By logging into their account on any device, they can continue where they left off.
Please share this with the youngsters in your life and watch their excitement for mechanical design grow into a potential life changing career.