Computer-Aided Design/Drafting is the process of using computers or workstations to design and draft various products through various CAD softwares. CAD applications are found in a wide number of industries today from manufacturing, automotive, aerospace, shipbuilding, electronic circuit designing, and much more.
Over the years, CAD has become a valuable asset to many designers. However, what is it about CAD that has made it so demanding a tool?
Importance of CAD
In the old days, engineering designing was done on a drawing sheet by hand using various drawing instruments. This, however, posed one distinct disadvantage, any modifications to the existing design needed to be rebuilt from scratch. Moreover, the optimal strategy was not available from hand-drafted systems. Translating design ideas from a Mechanical Engineer’s brain into a tangible object has always been difficult and prone to many errors when done manually using a pen and paper. The most critical step in this process has always been the design of the idea, which actually gave the idea its first form.
With the advent of CAD systems, these difficulties have been efficiently overcome as CAD softwares allowed designers and engineers to design their ideas more accurately without having to use a number of instruments and in much less time than before. Moreover, optimizing drawings to accurately create a product by adding various machining instructions for the machinist has been made possible with CAD softwares. In addition, modifying existing designs is a piece of cake with CAD softwares. The designer can simply create a copy of the current structure and tweak it to fit the requirements.
How it benefits designers and engineers?
The tools used for designing a product using CAD are all in digital form, meaning you no longer need to carry them as you did while drawing by hand. Moreover, these tools give very accurate results. You can also design 3D objects, which are the most common product of a CAD design. Additionally, you can view various 2D projections of a 3D object. This helps the layman or machinist manufacturing the products to understand its dimensions and processes needed to be applied to manufacture the product.
CAD softwares also help render and simulate processes that help engineers understand the various parameters that define a product. Sometimes these simulations are carried out in order to find any error in the design or a fault line that may be present in a product even before manufacturing it.
In the aerospace, automotive, and shipbuilding industries, CAD holds a very high prestige as they offer a unique workbench that helps designers work on surface modelling as sheet-metals are the foundation for the structures of vehicles, airplanes, and ships. Surface modelling workbenches present in most of the CAD softwares enable designers to create the most accurate aerodynamic designs for their products.
Moreover, assembly designs can be easily carried out with CAD softwares. Handcrafted designs have no provisions for such design practices. CAD softwares are also used in electronic circuit design, architectural designs, and many other industries. Thus, one can see how much importance CAD holds in core engineering as well as structural engineering sectors.