AutoCAD and its Uses: What is AutoCAD Used for?
If you are currently reading this article, I guess it will not be far-fetched to say that this maybe one of the first times you ever heard the word AutoCAD. It also means that you may be interested in design and what computer aided design software brings to the table. Whatever your reasons are, I invite you to treat this article as an introduction on AutoCAD and its vast uses in the professional world of digital designing.
What is AutoCAD?
During the 1980’s, a group of engineers interested in simplifying how draftsmen, architects and engineers approach drawing projects, brain-stormed and came up with the idea of refining the difficult CAD processes that were popular in the 70’s. To do this, internal graphics controllers were in-built into microcomputers which allowed designers simply draw diagrams at the front end while internal graphic controllers replicated these diagrams from the back end. And in the following decades, this innovative process would revolutionize the world of designs.
In simple words, AutoCAD is a commercial software application used to draft 2 dimensional and 3 dimensional models with the aid of a computer. Although this description provides an all-encompassing explanation of what AutoCAD is used for, it does not break down its uses into the specialized units the software is known for. Therefore, I shall outline 5 practical ways in which the CAD software can be made used of.
As an architectural planning tool
AutoCAD provides its users with an intuitive user-interface that comes with built-in design lay-outs. These lay-outs include numerous templates that were specifically designed for architectural planning and building construction. So with an adequate knowledge of AutoCAD, anyone can take on projects that consist of designing architectural plans for construction purposes or building structures to be replicated in real-time.
Newer versions of AutoCAD also provide architects and builders with the analytical tools needed to analyze a building’s components and troubleshoot the stress and load levels of every support structure of a virtually designed building. This means that with AutoCAD, you can create an architectural plan, design a building and carry out specific analysis to know the buildings capacity and strengths before replicating it on a physical site.
As an Engineering Drafting Tool
The drawing of engineering components, infrastructure designs and analyzing HVAC systems plays a major role in most engineering –Civil, Mechanical, Systems and Electrical engineering— fields. And to do this while minimizing human errors, the use of a computer aided design application is recommended.
AutoCAD is one of the recommended design software applications because it provides professionals in these niches with unique drafting tools that can be used to bring their engineering ideas to life with the accuracy they require. So in this stead, AutoCAD serves as software for designing mechanical components, analyzing electrical and piping systems and solving design issues that may arise.
As a Graphic Design Tool
Although there are arguable more advanced graphic design tools in the computer aided design community, AutoCAD’s innate features that enable its users plan out architectural spaces, map them out and take advantage of the available space makes it a formidable design tool that can be used simultaneously with 3D Max, Maya and other design/animation tools when the need arises.
AutoCAD supports the use of DWG and DXF files which can be exported from its interface to those of other advanced CAD applications to aid animation projects. This means that as an animator or graphics designer, you can take advantage of AutoCAD to create building structures and architectural plans which can now be exported for further design additions on advanced modeling applications.
In 3D Printing
To create a 3D printed object, an individual must go through these three processes; choose the object, get a virtual 3D representation of the chosen object, and then feed the 3D printer this prototype to carry out the 3D printing process. It is clear to see—from the 3D printing process—that a model design tool or software definitely has a part to play and this is where AutoCAD comes in. With AutoCAD, 3D printing enthusiasts can create be-spoke 3D models on its workspace for use in the 3D printing process.
AutoCAD also ensures that file compatibility is not an issue for you can design your models on its interface and export your designs in the preferred ‘.stl’ format which most 3D printers and slicing software functions with.
In the Fashion Industry
It is important to understand that the design pattern of every diamond, shining stone or jewelry you have had the pleasure of either wearing or viewing did not come by chance but from careful design considerations and plans. AutoCAD is a design software that comes with required tools needed to draft and design virtually anything of your choice, and the design of certain fashion items is no exception.
This CAD software and intuitive interface, un-complicates the complications that comes with designing intricate shapes consisting of octagons, tetrahedrons and many more shapes you or I may have no knowledge of.
As an Industrial Design Tool
The goal of every manufacturing and industrial organization is to make enough money to cover the cost accrued in producing any product and AutoCAD helps reduce that cost in many ways. With the use of its CAD interface, industrialists can design working prototypes of virtually any object as well as test its functionality during the design process.
AutoCAD provides the tools to both design the initial prototype as well as tweak its ergonomics before the need to sink money into the actually production comes up.
Subsequently, designers can also use the virtual prototype for presentations when advertising or seeking for funds.
I have outlined what I believe are the most important uses of AutoCAD in today’s design society but your input on this topic will definitely be appreciated. So please feel free to share some of the creative ways in which you have used computer aided design in your field of study in the comment box below.
To be more specific, here are few answers to this question from Reddit.
What do you use AutoCAD for?
To draw & print architectural floor plans.
Ship Design – Currently for producing general arrangements, which are like architect’s drawings of many aspects of a ship and it’s layout.
Civil 3D for environmental engineering
I have been using LDD for roadway design. My company has been using Microstation and LDD for years. I have recently been messing with CIVIL 3D. Its been great for making alignments and grading. It has so much potential, but I don’t know how to Use it all. You can do Flood, utility analysis, and other simulations
Structural engineer’s drawings for multi story residential properties
Although most of my work is heading to Pro-E, I do all the drawings to repair older/broken steam turbines. It’s interesting work for sure
I’m an environmental engineer, 3rd yr EIT. I still use 2007 ACAD. I draw plans for Waste Water Treatment Plants and Water Treatment Plant designs. It mostly entails cutting and pasting layers from DWGs provided by the equipment suppliers, structural engineer, and surveyors into the same consolidated DWG with a few added notes. The only original parts I draw are hydraulic profiles and plant flow schematics which are just a bunch of arrows and lines, it requires no AutoCAD skills at all. There’s no one at my office to teach me. My more complicated files, where I copy and paste stuff in, are pretty on the surface, but a horrific mess of X-Ref errors, missing shapefile links, un-used layers that I don’t know how to delete, and are generally just ‘exploded’ until everything works. I’m trying to work on getting better at organizing. I’m very embarrassed whenever I have to send my DWG to someone else, because it so precariously held together!
Wiring diagrams, P&IDs, piping diagrams, store planning layouts, fixing topo maps I’m going to redraw in 3DS
Civil 3D for street design, parks, railroads. I work for a municipality
Architectural one off sketches. Engineering designs. Detailed mapping in planning. Loads of others. General drawing to do with maps or construction