Today, I’m the President of Engineer Essentials, a company I founded to help engineers, machinists, inspectors, students and others learn the concepts of geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T). I’m a mechanical engineer and a Certified ASME GD&T Senior-Level Professional. My GD&T training programs – GD&T Basics – are used by hundreds of companies and have trained thousands of engineers and technical professionals since 2015.
You may be surprised to learn that my college education is not what made me an expert in GD&T. (Or maybe not if you have already graduated.)
When I graduated from college and got my first job as a design engineer, I knew little about GD&T. Getting my degree taught me how to create nominal 3D designs and how to analyze the stress and strain of a design, but I had no idea how to read or work with a 2D print.
When I started working, I thought GD&T was just a hodgepodge of symbols that you used to make little tweaks to a part. Once I was working with experienced engineers and machinists, I quickly realized just how wrong I was, and that I’d need to get up to speed on GD&T if I was going to keep my job. So, I taught myself GD&T (with some help from coworker mentors) so that I could become an effective design engineer.
As I was learning, I discovered that GD&T is an incredibly powerful communication and design tool that encompasses all four fundamentals of part design: Size, Location, Orientation, and Form. I eventually came to realize that GD&T should be the core of thinking in design engineering because it provides an unambiguous reference system for design, production, and quality departments across industries.
Despite its importance in manufacturing, in college, I was never told that I’d need to know GD&T – and GD&T instruction continues to be missing in the majority of engineering curriculums today. These schools, while giving their students valuable instruction in many areas, do them a disservice by failing to emphasize and teach GD&T concepts.
I learned firsthand how overwhelming it can be to go from academics to the working world. I understand the blow to your confidence that comes when you realize that your education didn’t teach you what you need to know to be able to do your job.
That’s why I started this company, and that’s why I’m so passionate about helping new engineers prepare to enter the workforce. The good news is, schools don’t need to overhaul the curriculum or teach the entire ASME Y14.5 standard to prepare their students to get to work.
With just a few points of instruction in GD&T and related concepts, engineering programs could dramatically increase the confidence and ability of newly minted engineers. Here’s what every engineer ought to know before they graduate:
- How to read, interpret and create unambiguous standard engineering drawings – They will be working with engineering prints daily in almost every career option they choose. (Mechanical engineers, especially.)
- The engineering process and how parts are made – including the real-world ramifications of geometric tolerances, cost impacts of design choices, manufacturing capabilities and processes, and the terminology used by machinists.
- The basics of GD&T – This is the language in which almost every engineering drawing is written and communicated from design to production to inspection to the customer.
Of course, there are those who believe that 3D modeling is the future and that learning about 2D drawings is anachronistic. I agree that one day, 3D Model Based Environments (MBE) may become more widespread in manufacturing – but today is not that day. The move to Model Based Environment has been underway for decades and 2D drawings are still the primary form of communication in real-world engineering. That’s not changing anytime soon.
That’s why I’ve built this company and dedicated my career to teaching GD&T concepts, so that designers, machinists, and inspectors can be better at their jobs and make a positive impact at work.
Check out the video below for more discussion of the importance of GD&T training for new engineers:
Learn Everything About GD&T Right Here
Check out our Our Comprehensive List of GD&T SymbolsGD&T Symbols Guide