An Owens Community College Engineering Technologies professor is the author of a new textbook on computer software that allows students to design anything from plastic food containers to a jet plane fuselage.
Ralph Semrock, who has taught Computer-Aided Design (CAD) at the College for 12 years, said only one other current textbook on the subject of CADKEY Solids software exists.
Titled "Hybrid Modeling with CADKEY Solids - Solid Design Solutions Made Simple Using 2D, 3D and Solid Modeling," Semrock's book is published and distributed by Tech Ed Concepts of Concord, New Hampshire and is being marketed worldwide.
For eight years, Semrock has done initial, or beta, testing of software for Baystate Technologies, Inc., owners of CADKEY, helping them to work the bugs out of the software before it is released to the public.
Tech Ed asked him to write the book in June and he completed the 433-page text in November. "I spent nights, early mornings and weekends writing," he explained. "With a technical book like this, you have to get it out in a timely manner or it's obsolete - the technology changes too fast."
Given the complexity of the subject matter, Semrock said he wanted to write an informative, yet easy-to-follow textbook . "It has a conversational style, like I would be there teaching it," he explained. There also are frequent references to his 51 original drawings. "Many drafting books use the same drawings - I wanted something different."
The text serves a variety of readers including high school students, two-year college students, university students, individuals using the software and those in corporate training classes. Baystate Technologies estimates there are 300,000 users of the CADKEY software throughout the world.
Semrock is using his new textbook in upcoming semesters to teach his classes in CADKEY Surface and Solid Modeling at Owens Community College.
CADKEY software commonly is used by industries such as drafting and design firms, tooling companies, and mold and die operations, he said.
"You literally can design anything with CAD: cars, bicycles, machinery, containers, scientific equipment and many everyday things," Semrock explained. "All designs change constantly. For instance, glass bottles or detergent bottles, you'll notice that they always have new shapes. Designers are constantly working and re-working them."
Currently, the majority of computer-aided design consists of designing objects by drawing wireframes that only show all edges of the object. However, with CADKEY Solids software, the objects are solid and more easily visualized, he said. "The blocks, cones, cylinders and spheres are all shaded, which adds volume and better depth perception. It's a much more realistic designing tool."
Well-trained CAD operators are in demand at local industries, Semrock said, and there are great job opportunities available for his CAD program graduates. In fact, he said, each semester there are more jobs available than students to fill them.