A design engineer produces blueprints and engineering drawings for a number of structures, parts, mechanisms, machines, and equipment. A design engineer is part of a design team which includes draughftsmen, architects, structural engineers, civil engineers or mechanical engineers. Most people who become design engineers use the latest computer technology and applications, such as computer-aided design (CAD) programs to help them design and analyse virtual 3D models. Depending on the piece of equipment that is being designed, an engineer might deem it necessary to build a scaled physical model or prototype to test in real life. Design engineers (or Designers for short) are employed in many different organizations and industries, both private and public, including research and development companies, construction firms, and product manufacturing plants. A number of design engineers also work independently as contractors to aid smaller businesses and entrepreneurs to come up with a working design for their product, idea or invention.

Professional design engineers liaise with planning departments, engineering managers, clients and other engineers to coordinate a set of design plans. Designers may be given very direct instructions or broad conceptual ideas, and asked to create drawings or blueprints which can be transformed into working parts, machines or structures. A designer sometimes begins the design process by creating hand sketches or using CAD programs such as AutoCAD or SolidWorks. CAD programs allow designers to insert accurate lines, curves, and input dimensions, often to create a dimensionally correct virtual 3D model of the component or structure. Other programs can put the 3D designs through virtual simulations called Finite Element Analysis (FEA) to test their integrity, strength, and fatigue life.

It is common for a design engineer to take the lead on projects and manage the fabrication or production of working prototypes of their designs. With the help of fabricators and rapid prototyping companies, designers follow plans and drawings to fabricate actual machinery, equipment, or products. Once the prototype has been created engineers can put the prototypes through physical tests and present them to their clients to determine their feasibility.

It’s important for a designer to have good knowledge of and understand the machines or structures they will be creating drawings for. For example, a mechanical design engineer who works in the power tool industry may be asked to formulate schematics for a new cordless drill. In order to accurately design and draw the internal parts, the engineer must know what each component does and how it interacts with all the other components. By visualising the finished product, the engineer can create reliable and accurate drawings efficiently and effectively.

Anybody interested in a career as a design engineer is usually required to obtain a degree from an accredited university and it is an advantage to become a member of Engineers Australia. Most universities offer four-year bachelor’s degrees to become a professional civil, mechanical, or electrical engineer. Once a person has obtained a degree and been recognised by Engineers Australia, they are eligible for employment as a design engineer.

3Dmodelling.com.au has a number of degree qualified professional design engineers ready to assist you with your designs. Take a look at our range of services or send us an enquiry to see how we can help you.