3.6 Practical engineering skills

Students will be expected to draw on their knowledge and understanding of engineering to apply the following practical skills to a problem.

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Mathematical understanding

Solve problems through a logical, systematic approach.

Analyse and evaluate existing solutions to problems.

Use block diagrams and flowcharts.


Produce and work to a series of engineering drawings or schematics.

Both mechanical and electrical/electronic, which must be drawn using current conventions such as drawings in:

  • orthographic (3rd angle)
  • 3D representation (Isometric)
  • assembly
  • section view.

Use CAD to assist in the creation of a solution.

Use Computer Numerical Control (CNC)/Computer Aided Manufacture (CAM) in the manufacture of a solution.

  • CAD in both 2D and 3D.
  • Examples of 2D being Circuit diagrams, PCB layout, orthographic views.
  • 3D being solid modelling, isometric views.
  • CAM can be 2D or 3D.
  • Laser cutting, vinyl cutting, PCB routing or hole drilling, turning.
  • Rapid prototyping, milling/routing.

Test materials and their structural behaviour under load in order to ascertain suitable material(s) for a chosen component.


Produce and follow a production plan taking into account: materials, processes, time and safety.


Predict performance using calculations and modelling.

Through systems modelling and data analysis.

Iconic, analogue and symbolic modelling can be used. Calculations will form an important part of any symbolic modelling.


Select and safely use a range of appropriate:

  • materials
  • parts
  • components
  • tools
  • equipment.

In order to manufacture a working solution.


Select and use appropriate processes in order to manufacture a working solution.

Examples include:

  • measuring
  • marking
  • turning
  • milling
  • drilling
  • forming
  • bending
  • casting
  • joining
  • fastening
  • folding
  • shaping
  • finishing.

Apply quality control methods and techniques during the manufacture of the solution.

These will be appropriate to the solution being manufactured.

Methods and techniques should include:

  • working to necessary tolerances
  • demonstrating the ability to check tolerances through the use of tools (Vernier calipers, micrometers and depth gauges)
  • using software (CNC/CAM) to ensure that all parts/components fit together allowing the solution to function.


Design a range of tests to assess the fitness for purpose and performance of a completed product.

Students should take into account how areas for improvement/modification could be identified and consider alternative solutions.