CAD stands for Computer Aided Design, it is an application that helps create or optimise the design. It is commonly used by engineers, architects, designers to create precision drawings and technical illustrations in 2D or 2D.
The use of CAD is widely used such as for cars, buildings, new product designs, almost anything you use today. CAD helps designers see the creation of the item without need to actually produce it. It helps to see if the item is actually viable before it is created.
As CAD software increasingly becomes more popular due its accuracy, efficiency and cost efficient designing there is a lot of competition in the marketplace to be the No.1 CAD software.
Common features offered by CAD Software:
At the end of the day, CAD software does not replace the engineer, it is equipping them with better tools to focus their skills.
It is probably the most essential software in today’s market for engineers, designers and architects and has been used for over 40 years to improve the design process in the industry. CAD has completely replaced the need for manual drawings as CAD can ease the difficulty of complex designs with better presentations.
As every industry becomes more digital, it is important the the construction industry keeps at the forefront. With CAD software it can easily store and share designs in the cloud to be accessed from anywhere securely.
CAD is a great bit of software that has benefited the industry massively. It has removed the limitations of complex designs which previously had to be made by hand and it gives engineers, designers or architects the ability to see if their designs can work before it goes live.
Here are some of the best benefits of using CAD software:
The old way was manual drawings, CAD drawings is faster and easier than ever before. Modifying the design and making multiple variations of the final product is a massive benefit.
Using CAD software can increase employee productivity by up to 10 times. This mainly comes down to the ability to create simulations in CAD rather than doing manual calculations.
CAD saves the engineer a lot of work that can be used elsewhere and the software makes complex designing simple with intuitive design options. In addition, it is really simple to make corrections or additions to original designs in a lot less time.
Originally manual drawings would have to have 3 drawings (plan, elevation, and side view) to fully see a product. CAD software makes the most difficult drawings easy to understand
Manual drawings have no comparison to the accuracy of CAD drawings which is unparalleled with almost no errors. CAD software has a massive advantage on manual drawings and designing.
With the complexity of some designing especially when trying to get it right manually, CAD can handle these tasks with ease.
Like with many software, the elimination of human entry decreases the errors in general. With the accuracy and reduction of complex tasks, CAD makes the chance of making errors much lower however you still need to stay focused and not rely on the software to check everything for you.
CAD Software makes collaboration on the same product very easy. Sharing is instantaneous keeping everyone in the loop and if needed allow them to review and make any modifications.
CAD has a standardised form which keeps everyone working on the same type of format without walking into any problems.
There are various types of CAD software available in the market which are specialised for specific applications but the one that has been around the longest is AutoCad which is considered the Grandfather of the industry!
If you are looking to learn 3D designing, you must first learn 2D designing and AutoCAD is the best platform you can get in the market for 2D Designs.
CAD Softwares we recommend, in no particular order:
One of the oldest and most reliable CAD software on the market! It is also one of the software that students through university start using to complete their degree and widely used by designers all over the world.
If you only need 2D designs then CAD is perfect however for 3D designs is when you start seeing AutoCAD limitations. Despite this it still ranks No.1, pretty much everyone in the industry has had a go at AutoCAD at one point or another.
3DS Max is an Autodesk program which is popular due to its very powerful plugins which can make the software really customisable to exactly what you do and can scale as you grow.
Compared to AutoCAD, 3DS is all about 3D modelling, as the name suggests. Its value is from creating visuals and fly through animations to promote a project which is ideal for sharing with developers or clients.
3DS can add different plugins to suit your needs with set packages for media and entertainment work, product design and manufacturing, architecture, engineering and construction. These tools offer structural analysis, steel detailing, building performance analysis and vehicle path calculations to name a few building focused option.
Mainly used in the video games industry, this software is also used by architects for previsualization.
ArchiCAD is one of the popular CAD softwares for Architects or interior designers, allowing them to do both 2D and 3D drafting, visualisations and modelling. Through the software you can handle all aspects of engineering and design work you will ever need. It has advanced visualisations with high quality and photorealistic architectural rendering. It is commonly used to design buildings and interiors for general houses.
Revit is a powerful tool made for the architecture sector, as all its features are specially made for architects. A big advantage of Revit is its collaboration: any architect can access to the drawings no matter where they are, meaning multiple people can have inputs on the decision making on the go.
Vectorworks Architect has connected the BIM modelling, drafting and documentation into one package with the design process in mind. It allows you to take on complex 2D and 3D ideas, precise construction details and explore project energy efficiency and streamline costs.
It offers features such as built-in energy analysis and automated schedules, worksheets and data reports. It allows architects and construction managers to easily collaborate and share multiple documents in one place, speeding up the process.
SketchUp is a FREE 3D modeling program that can be used in variety of industries including construction. One of the most loved features is Push/Pull features which can easily convert 2D drawings into 3D (so it can also be applied as a Building Information Modelling (BIM) Regulations tool). SketchUp is considered to be much easier to leave compared to other CAD softwares however this is also a factor of the tools available. SketchUp also includes a 3D model library so you can spend more time designing and less time creating common models (such as staircases and floor plans) from scratch.
It is extremely popular with people starting off within the industry looking to keep costs down. Overall its a great product for the quick jobs however you might find yourself lacking some functionality as you grow.
SolidWorks allows you to work with your team to quickly create 3D product visualisations. It offers multiple design and manufacturing tools in one integrated solution. Within the software you will also have access to an estimation tool which can monitor your project cost, helping you to keep within budget. It can also export IFC files making it compliant with the new Building Information Modelling (BIM) Regulations.
With all these benefits, there’s also quite a big price tag attached making it more suitable for larger/specialist companies.
A great bit of kit and has similar functionality to AutoCAD plus it is very user-friendly. Rhino also offers students a free subscription which means once they graduate they often carry on using it.
Rhino however are not the most innovative software out there and can often lack functionality and updates. We often see other CAD years a good few years ahead it available features so it is something to look out for.
It does however have a wide range of available plugins, possibility of automation, programming and scripting features.
Like with any software, you just have to have a go with it! Many of the CAD softwares out there have very similar features however they have a slightly different way of doing things. We hope we covered the main CAD softwares for you to narrow down your searching.
Many of the CAD softwares do offer free trials so we highly recommend taking advantage of them to have a little go through each of them. It might be a time investment at the start however a common factor the CAD softwares have is a large price tag!
This article was written for Saint Financial Group, a multidisciplinary group based in the UK that helps construction businesses develop and grow. SaintFG offers a range of quality solutions in supporting businesses.
Saint provides the luxury of free business consultancy for of our clients, call now for your free consultation with a friendly business advisor to discuss your burning questions and put that energy back into your business!
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