The Gift of CAD to Design Engineering
Before the existence of computer-aided design, or CAD, engineering was slow work. The planning and design process took months of labor, and the end results were usually far from perfect due to the required meticulousness of technical machinery. Designers, who often rely on draftsmen, had to wait long before they saw the prepared plans, and likewise, draftsmen were under constant stress with every revision to the original ideas agreed upon. The production and assembly drawings had to be manually synchronized with each other, which resulted in a process that was overly tiring and complex.
However, everything sped up and cleaned of most error points with the help of CAD. Computers with capable hardware and good input equipment can take ideas and translate them to later-modifiable and actionable objects with the help of 2D, and even 3D CAD software. Production drawings for parts, at least the simplest ones, now only take minutes to create, check, print, and send to the factory for production. Design errors are minimal with the help of shapes adapting instantly to inputted measurements, unlike in physical drafting where even the slightest mistake in the calibration of devices like the compass, ruler, protractor, caliper, and T-square, will result in a flawed design. And if things go wrong, you can always call a reliable IT support service to get things up and running again.
You can create a plan for a simple assembly, and then later take each part one by one and apply the dimensions retroactively, and you won’t have to worry about matching dimensions and scales. The computer does the heavy lifting; all that is needed from the designer is the design. CAD has eliminated the need for draftsmen and designers to be separate individuals, because much of the time spent on drafting has been reduced. The designer can design his machinery and prepare the drawings required simultaneously, thereby minimizing the errors lost in relaying his designs to other people who will prepare the plans for him.
Standardization has also immensely profited by the arrival of CAD. Assembly and production drawings are easily linked together and can be manipulated to great extents. For example, a machine that only requires changing a few key components but otherwise is the replica of an already-made, thoroughly tested unit can be produced with less checking requirements and more focus on important analysis for the modified factors of the design. This is done with the help of digital libraries that house previous designs available for use instantly, in contrast with physical libraries where momentum is constantly interrupted by physical exertions.
Additionally, 3D CAD significantly cuts down time for engineering design by giving the ability to perform visualizations. This range of abilities include rendering with background and lighting for presentation purposes, creating exploded views for easy understanding of assemblies, and simulating advanced dynamic operations for the movement of complex designs. Static and dynamic stress analysis can also be performed with dependable results, thanks to the added ability to assign materials to specific parts with complete, updated composition data and appearances.
Properties such as mass, area, volume, and density affect the reaction of materials to applied static and dynamic loads, which can be presented in CAD-generated reports that are easily exportable to popular document formats, printed, and archived with official specification sheets. Such are a CAD software’s reliability in giving visualization and advanced analysis. These used to take months to complete, not even including the production phase, but with CAD it would take only a few weeks, if not days, for ideas to complete conceptualization, design review, production, and delivery to the customer.
And the learning curve is not steep. Anybody can prepare a production drawing even on first acquaintance with any CAD software, the given visual nature of which is created to be user friendly but with options that power users can explore. But to efficiently use any system, professional training can be acquired by signing up for specialized classes. Modern design and engineering schools have such courses in their standard curricula. And for anybody wanting to learn without leaving home where there is a capable computer lying around, online courses like the ones offered by CAD Institute are available.
CAD has sped up all industries with the reliable, easy to learn, and efficient method it provides. Without its gifts, civilization as we know it will slow down to a crawl, quick availability of superbly designed machines will become impossible, and manual labor overhead expenses for engineering design firms will skyrocket. Any serious machine design enthusiast or student should learn to use CAD software because it continues to be a universally acclaimed set of tools, and the growth of engineering will halt without it.