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CAD Definition

CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software is used to create precision drawings or technical illustrations, both two-dimensional (2-D) and three-dimensional (3-D). It is utilized in the fields of architecture, MEP or structural engineering, Art, etc. to explore design ideas, visualize concepts through photorealistic renderings and simulate how a design will perform in the real world. AutoCAD software was the first CAD programme and it is still the most widely used CAD application.

CAD is used as follows:

  • To produce detailed engineering designs of the physical components of manufactured products/artwork.

  • To create a conceptual design, product layout, strength and dynamic analysis of manufacturing processes.

  • To prepare environmental impact reports.

CAD systems exist today for all of the major computer platforms and the user interface generally centers on a computer mouse, but a pen and digitizing graphic tablet, space mouse (or space-ball) and stereoscopic glasses can also be used.

CAD software requires high-performance peripherals to support the myriad commands that must be input into the system, as well as the large physical dimensions of the printed output. Digitizers are specifically designed to input graphic information into a computer. They consist of either a hand-held stylus that resembles a pen, or a puck that is similar to a mouse. Examples of digitizing systems include the Puma Plus Manufactured by Hitachi America, Ltd. and the XLC or Xtra Performance Lightweight Compact digitizer series by Kurta of Phoenix, Arizona, etc.

CAD operators need monitors with large screens, high resolution and auto sizing to better view their drawings. The CM-2031 from Amazing Technologies in Cypress, Cal. offers one of the highest resolutions now available.

CAD software has now taken a step further by utilizing Virtual Reality (VR) capabilities which can help designers and consumers create, improve, and even test projects in a virtual space before they are created in the real world.

From the gaming and entertainment worlds, VR technology has branched out and is being utilized for design, architectural, and engineering purposes.

Joint research by the University of Windsor, Canada and the University of Hong Kong found that VR can be integrated into CAD either by using it as a toolkit or by designing in VR. For example, MakeVR, a VR-based software, enables users to create designs in a virtual space by pulling, pushing, or stretching, rather than generating them on a screen.


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