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What is CAD
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3D Computer Aided Design (3D CAD) is the use of computer software for designing and drafting. In 3D CAD, changes are easier to make because working with a 3D computer model is like working with the real parts, but in a digital environment. Virtual parts can be created, modified, placed, and rearranged in minutes. Dimensions are in a very accurate 1:1 scale. Orthogonal or isometric views are automatically generated; thus, mistakes in different views become a thing of the past. In 2D CAD assemblies the different orthogonal views must be created manually, as a result mistakes frequently happen due to human error. 3D CAD makes it possible for designs to be optimized for function, manufacturing and maintenance. A reduction in overall cost and time is the result.
3D CAD is a powerful tool in the hands of an experienced designer. Keep in mind, the software does neither the designing nor the optimizing. The creative part of designing is still in the hands of the CAD operator. Beware of companies that use the “CAD Designed” buzzwords. It is best to ask how much experience the staff has. Many 3D CAD packages offered today are useful and can suit different industries in their own way. Some are less expensive but can help design-groups with smaller budgets.
Many engineering companies use the 2D CAD software to replace paper and pencil for their design and drafting work. This method of 2D CAD is more efficient than the old hand pencil drawings and can be useful to some industries. But changes are cumbersome and generating different views for the construction details is an administrative headache. The old saying, “Garbage in, Garbage Out” is as true as ever.
Some examples of optimizing:
1. Fewer parts: The 3D CAD software allows the designer to create assemblies with fewer, more reliable parts. This leads to less expensive manufacturing and gaining a competitive edge in the marketplace.
2. Keeping information flowing to all interested parties: Many times a 3D model can help the customer, the manufacturer, and the design team have a clear understanding of the final product. 2D drawings fail to do this because not everyone can look at a set of 2D blueprints and understand them.
3D Acrobat: This is one of the latest tools that design teams use to help information flow faster. Non-CAD users can open and view 3D assemblies. 3D Acrobat is powerful because it allows everyone to give useful feedback to the designers and helps streamline the design and manufacturing processes.