I expect they would want to see your process i.e. sketches, ideation. Cad is great but it is not industrial design. There are lots of designers that cant draw but they like Leonardo (myself included) but you should be able to work out your ideas and evolve them in sketch form before you jump into cad or you are just wasting a lot of your time ( and your clients) .
You should basically be able to show them how you arrived at your final solution.
What I mean is working out details by sketch. Things like surface details, positions of buttons etc. If you build a model in cad and decide that you want to add a ripple in the surface, change a key layout etc. you may have to fundamentally change your model/ assembly. You can work these sorts of details out much quicker on paper than in cad.
With a sketch you are not letting your knowledge of cad dictate the end result. This doesnt mean that you need a perfect rendering of your idea only that you can show your intent. Once you have that worked out, you can go nuts in Pro.
When I workes at Digital some years back the Industrial designer took a design and basically packaged it up with keeping in mind the design parameters and manufacturing costs.
By design requirements I mean EMI supresson requires NO long slots for air flow (they become antennas), metal or conductive surfaces, things like that.
The ID had to know the required and saleable aesthetics for the target industry.
The ID had to know manufacturing processes and costs that would match the project requirements.
The sucessful projects had the ID involved up front in the project and many iterations were usually required by engineering and the ID department to get a quality compromise.
The ID had to create visual renditions, it could be in CAD as long as you could see what it was. Pencil sketches impressed no one. Using Pro/E is a big benifit because the models can be used in engineering analysis as well.
Unfortunately life evolves and kids comong out of school now who work cheap and can't even make change at the fast food restaraunt are getting control of projects and the experienced personnel are being shoved aside somewhat. So don't let your ego get you down. It isn't always the quality of your work as much as who you know in some cases.
On the gun design, many US manufactures have political pressure on them, try the european ones like Hammerli or Pardini or Unique.
CAD is only a tool much the same way that pencils/pens are.
Ok at the end of the day proe can be used to have manufacturable data. Industrial design is not necesarilly about manufacture. Sure good industrial designers have manufacturing and production know how, but not the be all and end all.
The industrial designers job is to add emotion to the product. To give a product something that will appeal to the user be it through aesthetics or primary functions (the way it is to work)
Sketches/CAD whatever are used to present ideas. I agree that CAD can be great for this but I dont care how quick you are on CAD you can never be as quick as on paper for realising ideas.
Also as said before you start in a package then you can start to cage your creativity, bowing to the softwares/users limitations.
This never happens with pen and paper.
I appreciate that CAD can be complex and takes experience to know how. Unfortunately people seem to forget its a tool and base their whole career about it. CAD is getting easier and easier to use so this situation is not going to be so familiar in the future.
If you are in design then surely its to be creative, innovative and care about the products you work on design?
Or maybe its just another 9-5 show me the money job?
To speling dont get so wound up - i work in product design and dont get to work on coneptulisation - though i get to play an active part in suggesting ideas - the concptual stuuf once approve usually comes down to me. Then i can be creative make unique mechanism/ features to add value to the design
remember a great product has form and functionality