What is Computer Aided Drafting (CAD)?

What is CAD, what is it used for and why is it so popular?

Regardless of huge popularity CAD has today, many people still don’t know what it actually means. You are one of them. So, what is CAD, what is it used for and why is it so popular?

These famous three letters stands for Computer Aided Design/Drafting or use of computer technology in making designs. You are confused because you have heard about CADD, too? Some people use this abbreviation. This one is for computer-aided design AND drafting, so it is almost the same thing.

Today all kinds of designers, architects, drafters, engineers and workers from many other professions basically can’t work without computers. And it is not something strange, because we all know that they can easily create, modify, analyze and optimize their design by using CAD. That wouldn’t be so easy if they worked manually, would it be?
Specific computer programs always help them to work quickly and more precisely, so the drafter can be more productive in every project he/she starts. Isn’t it great? Designers are allowed to make different and complex calculations in any moment while using CAD.

Designs are definitely better in every way because the final product can contain all needed info about materials and dimensions. This makes their work complete and it is easily to see how the actual product will work in the future and in different circumstances, which is something every designer looks forward to. Also, those designs can be rotated and viewed from all angles which make them more real and vivid. In this way it is easy to see all eventual mistakes. This is important because then drafter can make any needed modifications right away after designing. Further that means the wastage is dramatically reduced and the final product often has higher quality level. Some components can be standardized and saved for future works, so drafter doesn’t have to draw every element every time he works on similar product. This can save time and energy in this often stressful job. Two-dimensional and three-dimensional drawings are possible to be made with this software.
For showing how the final product will look CAD programs always use vector graphics or raster graphics. Of course, there is not just one type of CAD software but many and each of them is specialized for particular area or function. For example, there are AutoCAD, MathCAD, QuickCAD, SolidWorks, Catia, CADopia and many others. Because of its possibilities and useful characteristics today CAD is used widely in many industries and it is extremely important for best results in areas of advertising, fashion, graphic and industrial design, architecture, movies, etc.
We shouldn’t forget more than significant role this software has in landscaping, civil engineering, aerospace and cartography, too.

There are some CAD programs free to download, as FreeCAD, OpensCAD, QCAD, KiCAD, 3DCrafter, LibreCAD, NanoCAD, Sculptris and others. Today CAD is often related to CAM, which stands for Computer Aided Manufacturing. Those two types of software are often integrated so the designing and manufacturing processes can go smoothly, one after another.

When we are talking about CAD software there is a question that comes naturally– which one of all these programs is the best? Many experts in this field say that AutoCAD is unmatched.

But what is AutoCAD? AutoCAD or Automatic Computer Aided Design is CAD software application. It is often used for creating scaled drawings related to designing electrical circuitry, planning infrastructure projects, building commercial structures and homes and manufacturing equipment. Some customers say that it is the king of all CAD applications.
The very first version of it was developed by Mike Riddle. The first name of this program (while they were still working on it) was Interact. Later it became MicroCAD but at the end final version got the name we all know – AutoCAD. This product was released at December 1982 by Autodesk. After this first version of AutoCAD around 30 versions more were published in next 35 years. Today we have AutoCAD 2018 (22.0). Customers are able to use few different types of this application – Architecture, Civil, Mechanical, Structural Detailing, Utility Design, Map 3D, MAP, Electrical, etc. Although the first version was realized 35 years ago and it has its alternatives (VectorWorks, TurboCad Pro Platinum, DesignCAD 3D MAX v24, BrixCAD and others) AutoCAD is still very powerful and has many capabilities. There are thousands of people using it on daily basis and many of them are trying to become experts in this field. Of course, you have to know that it may take few years to truly master it and that your computer has to meet specific requirements if you want to use this program properly (for the version AutoCAD 2017 you need Windows 7 or higher, 1GHzu or better CPU, at least 2GB of memory with more recommended and at least 6GB of free disc space). Two latest versions offer some new features, as design publishing, migration of previous settings, centerline editing, PDF import and ability to send models to a 3D printer.

If you want to learn AutoCAD for free this complex program, you should definitely start with basics (just as any other program). Next steps are viewing, geometry, precision, layers, properties, modifying, blocks, layouts, notes and labels, dimensions and printing. After all of this, try out the commands. There are hundreds of commands and some of them have hotkeys. Be sure you have a lot of patience and strong will – those two things will be necessary, together with enthusiasm and open mind.

Do you want to know more about company that stands behind this fantastic program? This company was founded in 1982 by John Walker and 15 co-founders. First name of company that is owner of AutoCAD was Mafin Software Partners. Later it became Autodesk, as we know it today. Start up of this famous company was worth around $60 000, but today estimated worth of Autodesk is around $13 billion. This fact tells enough about all the success Autodesk has achieved. Today it is one of the most important American software corporations.

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