Freelance CAD work.
April 26, 2006 2:12 PM   Subscribe

I am a Design Engineer looking to break into the freelance/contract market. My expertise is using Unigraphics and I am also proficient in solidworks. I was a tool designer and worked closely with one of the major auto makers in the US before I got fed up with office politics and left to go to a much smaller company.

Anyway, how does a person find contract/freelance work online. I did a quick search before posting this and found discussions which mentioned Media Bistro amongst others. Will these sites also have CAD listings. Any help will be appreciated.

posted by 5acres to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
What type of engineering degree do you have?
posted by phrontist at 2:31 PM on April 26, 2006

I have an associates degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology with an emphasis in mechanical design from an ABET accredited institution. I know the lack of a bachelor's degree is a problem, but before I left my old company I was offered to manage my department. I have been a guest speaker at my alma mater and am also on their Industrial Advisory Board. I also program CNC's and regularly critiqued designs from auto makers to improve manufacuring conditions in plastic molds. I feel my credentials are excellent aside from the bachelor's degree. Is a bachelor's degree a must for someone looking to do contract work?
posted by 5acres at 3:26 PM on April 26, 2006

Is a bachelor's degree a must for someone looking to do contract work?

I wouldn't know, I was just trying to clarify what exactly your situation was.
posted by phrontist at 3:44 PM on April 26, 2006

I've done a fair amount of 'freelance' work, having been self employed for a number of years until 3 years ago.

Most of my clients were folks I knew or were referred to me by people I knew. I've never even used a contract engineer I found online. Not sure I would now.

While it might be possible to scare up enough work online, I suspect the best way to get enough work to lure you away from your current job is to find some local moonlighting to do in parallel with your job and gradually grow that into a trusted network of referrals... people who know what you can do and who will tell their contacts. Once you do something successful for someone they frequently send you more work.

Started in that manner, there is minimal risk for everyone and you can develop your client base irrespective of any educational shortcomings you might think you have. That won't be any issue at all until you are competing for a contract and then, your performance means a lot more than your degree, anyway.
posted by FauxScot at 5:10 PM on April 26, 2006

Do you want to work for your self or work on a contract basis for a company? The contract CAD guys that work with me don't seem to have a great time. They constantly have to move to find work and they get paid better on an hourly basis but on the long term it works out to less (no holidays, no benefits.)

That said I took a UG class with this machinist that was learning advanced CAM stuff and he would be hired on as a consultant for large scale machining operations to help draft and machine impellers and other high dollar complex shapes. That always sounded interesting to me (but now that I look doesnt really answer your question.)
posted by Dr_Octavius at 10:51 AM on April 27, 2006

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