CAD, or computer-aided design and drafting (CADD), is the use of computer technology for design and design documentation. CAD software replaces manual drafting with an automated process.
If you work in the architecture, MEP, or structural engineering fields, you’ve probably used 2D or 3D CAD programs. These programs can help you explore design ideas, visualize concepts through photorealistic renderings, and simulate how a design will perform in the real world. AutoCAD software was the first CAD program, and it is still the most widely used CAD application.
CAD programs have different features depending on whether your design process involves 2D vector-based graphics or 3D modeling of solid surfaces. Most 3D CAD programs let you apply multiple light sources, rotate objects in three dimensions, and render designs from any angle.
Unexpected capabilities of these associative relationships have led to a new form of prototyping called digital prototyping. In contrast to physical prototypes, which entail manufacturing time in the design. That said, CAD models can be generated by a computer after the physical prototype has been scanned using an industrial CT scanning machine. Depending on the nature of the business, digital or physical prototypes can be initially chosen according to specific needs.
3D printable models may be created with a computer-aided design (CAD) package, via a 3D scanner, or by a plain digital camera and photogrammetry software. 3D printed models created with CAD result in reduced errors and can be corrected before printing, allowing verification in the design of the object before it is printed.
The manual modeling process of preparing geometric data for 3D computer graphics is similar to plastic arts such as sculpting. 3D scanning is a process of collecting digital data on the shape and appearance of a real object, creating a digital model based on it.
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