How Professionals Use CAD Software as a Career
The world of Computer Aided Drafting (CAD) is vast and diverse. CAD software is used in a variety of applications and in a number of professions. The industry can be broken into two main groups, those mainly in architecture and the other in mechanical engineering. The purpose of CAD is to allow the users to quickly and efficiently design in both two- and three-dimensional environments. These designs can be applied to existing products that need minor adjustments or to completely new objects that can revolutionize the way industry uses products. CAD is not just drawing software, it can also be used analytically to assess or better understand existing objects or structures as well. When selecting a computer aided drafting training program, it is important to understand the various functions and applications of CAD.
Primary Functions of CAD Software
Prior to the introduction of CAD, industry utilized teams of drafters who spent hours upon hours generating hand-created representations of a designer’s vision. This was limited to a 2D environment and required many hours of dedicated focus to create a single drawing that would ultimately change and have to be redrawn. The accuracy of these drawings was limited to the ability of the drafter and the team involved in the design. The introduction of the computer changed the industry as we know it. Designers can now create virtual 3-D representations that can be tested within the CAD software to prove the design’s viability and application. Building a model via CAD can allow multiple design firms to collaborate on a single design at the same time, thus allowing errors in design to be changed before the physical structure is ever built.
CAD and the people who use it are revolutionizing industry and touch every aspect of today’s life. Think about your day. From the moment you wake up to the time you get ready for bed, CAD has in some form changed your day to day operation. CAD has touched products like your alarm clock that wakes you up, to your newly designed toothbrush, to the new shoes that you put on for a morning run. CAD and the people who design the products change how you go about your daily life. Every day a new product is designed and with the innovation of products like 3-D printers, we can prove those designs quicker and more accurately than ever.
The ability to create virtual models that accurately represent the product being made and how it interacts with the environment is a tool that is being used in every aspect of the industry. Think of the design for the “Freedom Tower” in NYC. Renderings of this project and how it would look and interact were a critical part of the design process. CAD’s reach is not limited to just our physical reality but allows the creation of virtual realities used in the entertainment industry. Its contribution is evident in virtually every animated movie being released today.
Architectural & Mechanical CAD
Architectural CAD software functions in many of the ways already described. It can be used to create both two- and three-dimensional design models and can remodel and alter designs on the fly without physically constructing anything. This allows the architect to observe how every part of a design interacts and how individual parts fit together as a whole. The software actually creates the design based on input from the architect, catching design problems and making necessary corrections along the way.
While architectural applications of CAD focus primarily on a contiguous whole, Mechanical CAD is centered on the individual parts of a design and is used primarily in the development of all types of machines from home appliances to automobiles. Its primary benefit is its ability to create complex designs without the need for traditional prototyping (physically building a working model). The software provides all the necessary information about every facet of a design from dimensions to materials. It also provides accurate assessments of the function of moving parts within a machine.
Finding Mechanical CAD training programs for these types of applications is relatively easy. As this career option grows in popularity, many colleges, universities and career colleges have begun to offer in-depth training programs with emphases on every facet of computer aided drafting technology.