CAD is especially helpful to designers because it automatically imbues geometrical soundness into their designs. Engineering designs, also known as blueprints, specify each component's measurements and scale. Moreover, blueprints describe dimensions, allowable building variances, and materials for each part of the structure. All these concepts are denoted by various lines, some of which are dotted and others are dashed, and which also vary in boldness and pattern. Once they are finished with these blueprints, building designers present them to their clients, who are often perplexed by the technical markings. CAD, on the other hand, uses its 2D or 3D presentations to make both the building process and the finished building hugely more understandable to clients. CAD often makes it easier for designers to make a sale by virtue of this comprehensibility.
Naturally, hand-drawn blueprints are vulnerable to faulty specifications, which CAD has also transformed. Since it is software, designers can save possible designs to the computer and revisit them for future reference. Doing this same process with blueprints is far costlier and longer, since blueprints involve distinctive grades of paper, pens, and pencils. Therefore, CAD has both cut the costs and hastened the rate of the design process. Since it automates geometrical operations, the designer can focus more on the creative process while abiding by technical controls. This shortened design process often attracts more clients who want their project finished as soon as possible. Moreover, designers can easily collaborate with other designers and contractors through instant electronic transmission on the software.
There are numerous CAD software packages available to building designers. Many architectural and engineering firms adopt one company-wide CAD program. Regardless of its brand, the software generally includes both 2D and 3D views of designs, rotation options, and technical blueprints that use vectors. These vectors are geometrical figures such as lines. Vectors permit the user to zoom in and zoom out of designs while maintaining the image's clarity and original equations. Vectors also permit stretching, compressing, and even construction animations that maintain the original equations. It is these constant mathematical equations, which lay behind CAD's remarkable mathematical soundness.
CAD programs can be run on Windows systems. They can also be run on Unix and Linux operation systems, which are network-based systems that permit multiple simultaneous users. Notwithstanding the platform, CAD enables users to not only create and manipulate their designs, but type out notes. One of the most popular CAD programs that these features is AutoCAD. AutoCAD has so many drafting features that there have arisen drafting services firms that specialize in AutoCAD and provide their professional experience to architectural and contractor firms. Other CAD systems include Alibre, Autodesk, ProEngineer, and SolidWorks. Many CAD-services firms are fluent in more than one CAD program.
In choosing a CAD program, architects and engineers consider both features and affordability. They also opt for programs that address the specifics of their industry. For instance, engineers often choose CAD programs like ProEngineer and CATIA, while residential architects may select Softplan. Moreover, many smaller firms and small-town builders regard AutoCAD as too expensive, so they select programs that offer more features without the “bells and whistles.” These programs often include the older 2D programs, which nonetheless offer more efficiency over manual technical drawings.
Though CAD programs are often straightforward, it is advisable for architects and engineers to gain training in them well before they apply for entry-level jobs. CAD is now a full-fledged occupational skill and is required by most architectural and engineering firms. Fortunately, many colleges and universities train future designers in this software as part of their coursework. Students can also earn CAD certification in individual programs offered at colleges and CAD organizations, which offer beginning classes to advanced classes. Many architects also state that MiniCAD, another CAD program, is much more user-friendly than the most renowned programs.
Many traditional designers are frightened at the prospect of hand-drafting becoming a lost art. However, many architects and engineers still sketch out their original designs, even if they are not yet geometrically sound. They often upload a photograph of their design onto their computers, and refer to it as they use CAD. Many designers concur that this process enables them to have the best of both worlds: they can still use their menial drafting skills in a project's beginning stages while exploiting CAD for their project's utmost development. They also state that CAD is necessary to building higher and more complex structures that need as error-free measurements as possible to ensure safety.