What Is Computer Aided Drafting?

Computer aided design and drafting or CADD is a system that uses computer software and tools to create, alter, analyze and optimize a design. The programs used in these systems have greatly improved the quality of the renderings while at the same time allowed computer aided drafters to become more productive. Moreover, CADD systems have allowed engineers, architects and drafters to collaborate and make immediate changes on their designs.

CADD systems are actually used in many different fields. The term computer aided drafting or CAD specifically refers to the realm of mechanical design where computer software is used to make technical drawings. It is commonly used in drawing architectural plans for buildings, residential homes and other infrastructures. CAD can be used to produce images in two-dimensional space or three-dimensional space. What makes CAD illustrations more comprehensive is that they don’t just show how a project will look like. It is also able to show information vital to the project. For example, it will include the kinds of materials used, the specific dimensions and the processes followed, just to name a few.

Although computer aided drafting is used in the design of buildings and other edifices, it also has other applications in other industries. For example, it is heavily employed in the design of cars and vehicles, ships and boats and airplanes. It is also used in the field of biotechnology to design artificial limbs and other prosthetics that help improve the quality of life of patients. Tools and pieces of machinery in the manufacturing industry are also designed using computer aided drafting systems. New gadgets and appliances and even seemingly mundane things like containers and bottles of particular products are now designed with the use of computer aided drafting systems. In the field of entertainment, computer aided design has also figured prominently because it has paved the way for more realistic special effects and more vivid animation in motion pictures.

Aside from making drawings and giving the technical specifications to architectural plans, CAD is also used to simulate what will happen in case the project is actually built. This is especially important in formulating Environmental Impact Reports which are necessary before approval is given by regulating agencies for a proposed project. With CAD, it is possible to put the CAD illustration of the project over a photograph of the current area where it will be built. This will allow engineers and architects to analyze what will happen to the environment in the event that the infrastructure really gets built. This enables them to determine problematic areas ahead of time and make the necessary changes to the design so that the regulatory permits and approvals will be given. They are also able to check for potential flaws in the design after it has been superimposed on the existing environment and come up with the necessary revisions before actual construction takes place, saving the firm a lot of time and money.

Computer aided drafting has shown the pervasive influence of computers in many industries. It is often used together with other systems like building information modeling or BIM and product data management systems or PDM which both facilitate collaboration among colleagues and tracking of the changes made to the project’s technical specifications.

Career Spotlight: Computer Aided Drafter

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