Creative CADworks Academy: Where dreams come true
Creative CADworks Academy is an exciting after school program offered at Davisville Public School in the heart of Davisville Village. Using CAD (Computer Assisted Design) software, the program offers students the opportunity to design virtually anything they can imagine and then build a 3D model of it. We spoke with Hemdeep Patel, one of the creators of the Creative CADworks Academy, to learn how he engineered this unique after school program.
Photo courtesy of Creative CADworks Academy
What is your background and experience with CAD software and the Creative CADworks Academy? What got you involved?
I have a B.Sc. in Physics and Astronomy from U Of T. My brother and I started Creative CADworks in 2009 with a key focus on the CAD and 3D printing industry. Our initial business was to provide CAD and 3D printing services to a wide range of industries including mechanical and nano technology design, jewellery design and the dental industry. In 2009, we felt that CAD and 3D printing was going to revolutionise how design can go from a “paper napkin” concept to reality within a short time frame and more importantly, the tools needed were going to be readily available for many to use. From first hand experience, we are seeing the exponential growth of CAD and 3D printing being used in a wider range of industries. As we grew our Creative CADworks business, we were starting to develop a learning module for CAD. Initially, the learning program that we put together was primarily for business and industry. And during this development, we noticed that the learning program could be adapted to students and with my brother and I having kids of our own, we felt that this would be a valuable addition to a student’s skills.
So, how did you adapt that learning module from one that was based on business and industry to something targeted more towards engaging a younger student’s interests and imagination?
For students, we have found that CAD and 3D printing allows them to express their ideas in a more tangible way. Students are curious to learn how mechanical systems can be re-created with CAD software and printed. Last year we had one student (who had a class project on the digestive system) build a system on CAD and print it out for their presentation. For many other students, it is just the act of creating characters or everyday objects. The process of design, printing and evaluating the printed object is a valuable skill of self evaluation.
I see, that’s really interesting. The student has to learn how to evaluate their own design, to problem-solve and think critically in order to expand their skills and create more complex designs. Is there a minimum skill level that a student must have before beginning the program?
The classes are focused on building a broad range of skills in design using a number of CAD software programs. And as students become more skilled, we start to add projects that are fun to reinforce their new skills. There is no minimum skill level or requirements that students need to have (in order to) learn CAD or 3D printing. We have taught a wide range of skill and age levels through our school and business programs, the only requirement would be an interest in learning and a curiosity to explore new ideas.
Do you think children may have an advantage over adults in the imagination department?
Kids have a broader imagination which can diminish as we age. If you give kids the opportunity to build with CAD they can often adapt better than adults can in learning how to use the software. The intention of the program is to engage their curiosity. Kids can absorb a ton of information, more than adults.
Photo courtesy of Creative CADworks Academy.
Who is eligible for your after school program?
The Creative CADworks Academy afterschool program is open to students from grades 5 and up. Currently, we are running the CAD and 3D printing program at Davisville PS and we are looking to add our program into additional schools around the GTA. In order to introduce our program to any school, we initially run an introductory course.
Why do you do what you do, both with your work with CAD software in general and with the Academy? In other words, why does this matter?
It matters because the technology and industries across the board are moving in this direction. Any user around the world can access 3D printers. Many people are designing products that are commercially sold, there is a revival of people building things that they want that will improve their lives. Finding shortcuts, developing new tools — people are getting back into DIY technology. I feel that it’s important to train children in this technology, this will become standard material that they will need to know in university. This is a kickstart in that direction. No elementary schools are providing this type of information. The teachers of today went through their education 5 years ago, and this technology had not really taken off yet on a consumer level. Now consumers are actively participating. Average users can build and sell items easily now.
Creative CADworks Academy puts the power to design and create in the palm of a child’s hand. The program is an intriguing combination of challenging and fun, and teaches kids to think critically and creatively. Children in the program are encouraged to dream big and take their ideas from concept to model, all while learning marketable skills that may well be essential and invaluable in the future.
Greenrock Property Management is proud to be a part of the Davisville Village Community and share the neighbourhood with great businesses and services like Creative CADworks Academy. For information on our Davisville Village Community please see our website.