Computer-Aided Design in the 21st Century
CAD is a crucial part of the product lifecycle management for a broad range of industrial, technical and manufacturing industries. At its core it is the creation of a visual representation of a given product or object. CAD is critical in modern drafting and modeling, not just for the high quality users are able to create but in the significantly lower product development costs and significant time savings.
The list of occupations requiring CAD is indeed long. Much of this is due to the fact that CAD has such a broad range of uses, from creating 2-D and 3-D concept drawings for visualizing machinery, structures and objects to building clean, professional 3-D animation. Those professions using CAD most commonly are:
- Industrial Designers
- Graphic Designers
Training in CAD: 2-D Systems and 3-D Solid Modeling
There are a variety of types of CAD, all utilizing different tools and structures to enable design. The largest division in CAD programs is between 2-D and 3-D design systems. Much like their 2-D counterparts, 3-D CAD courses are generally classified by level of difficulty. Introductory courses will instruct learners in a variety of basic CAD skills, including:
- Building templates
- Utilizing symbols and symbol libraries
- Drawing tools: polylines, layers, snaps, arcs, polygons, etc.
- Adjusting and customizing personal layout
Building off of the drawing tools usually described in introductory level courses, advanced programs in 2-D CAD are intended to guide learners through creating more complex drafts, often outlining time-saving techniques as well as methods for scaling and presenting designs. Advanced courses in 2-D CAD usually include sections on:
Solid modeling is the development of objects described in three dimensions. It is different from other types of modeling in that it focuses on the creation of tangible, 3-D objects. Software programs in solid modeling allow users to automat complicated equations necessary to the given objects creation. Intermediate and advanced courses in solid modeling generally require that learners have at least a base understanding of 3-D design and guide learners through detailing drawings and the necessary validation and documentation processes.
While there are a multitude of different CAD software programs the most commonly used has to be the Autodesk program, AutoCAD. Currently in its 30thversion, AutoCAD is used worldwide and is available on a number of different operating systems and platforms, including Linux, Android, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS. Much of the programs consistent popularity and success can be attributed to its broad capacities. Professional development training in AutoCAD is usually dissected into purpose and skill level. Generally, AutoCAD courses guide users through a wide range of skills, including:
- Creating complex solids
- Modifying 3-D objects
- Converting objects
- Adjusting view angles