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1992camrysedan

Mechanical Engineering Vs. Industrial Design

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Hey all, I used to be on this forum when I was a Junior High School student who had the username "Clear-Slider." I was proud of my design at the time but it got lots of flack, and I realize now how silly it is. Anyhow, I now am self-taught in designing and sketching 3d models. I can even improvise designs. However, I chose to pursue my college degree at Colorado State University (I'm a Freshman currently) in Mechanical Engineering. The school has a specialty motorsport engineering facility and two professors write for SAE. All throughout my childhood, I was dead-set on industrial design. I thought all body designs were purly industrial design and done by artists. However, I found out in my junior year of high school that supercars, race cars, airplanes, and boats have bodies designed in large part by mechanical engineers rather than industrial designers for the sake of structural efficiency and fluid dynamics. For example, the Ferrari 458 Italia is mostly done from science and math so that the car optimizes it's downforce and drag. I am certainly suffering currently in college, Mechanical Engineering is INSANELY hard. I studied 25 hours for my last Calculus test and I am hoping to get at least a 70% so it will curve to a high B or low A. I study about 30-35 hours per week, and my course load will get way heavier from here. I think the main difference between industrial design vs. Mechanical engineering is Art vs. Science/math. Function follows Form for designers, and vice versa is true for engineers. I just know engineers have a way harder time in college and our grading standards are completely different. Eventually a failing grade will be considered good in classes like Fluids or Thermo, with mega test and class curves.

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Mechanical Engineers basicaly creates machines. They may enhance existing ones or come up with new technology. There are a couple of sub specialties under mechanical engineering. Like the following; Aerospace engineering, Agricultural engineering, Bio mechanical, computer, geological, industrial, manufacturing and mining engineering. What industrial designers function includes determining the ergonomics, usability and aesthetics of products that are mass produced. Their main job here is to improve existing design, marketing, function and engineering of the product. For products that are not yet released, it is common that both industrial designer and engineers work hand in hand to achieve great results. Industrial designers are those generally rendering designs using CAD programs with 3D visuals and the engineers are the ones making all the designs come to life. In simpler words i belive that a mechanical engineer is more of a "bits and pieces" function while an industrial designer is more of "over all look and functions"

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To the original poster,

 

Similar to the replies above, ME and ID are two distictly different disciplines. Depending on the industry, they complement and rely upon one another - because you're fully engrossed in an ME program, expect to hear that ME is the way to go but it's all about where your passion lies.

 

As an industrial designer, I worked with lots of MEs, EEs, MBAs, graphic designers, plant engineers, quality engineers, etc and each discipline contributes a specialty. While Mechanical Engineers make stuff work, the Industrial designer sits squarely between Engineering and Marketing and the designer is charged with being aware of and sensititve to both the Engineering package and the goals of Marketing (and Program Management).

 

I chose ID long ago because the combination of aesthetic, art, science and salesmanship catered to my talents. Find your passion and your career will follow.

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