Table of contents
1 CAD: (1) Computer Software
2 CAD: (2) Currency
3 CAD: (3) Medical

CAD: (1) Computer Software

The acronym CAD stands for computer-aided design today, and the term encompasses a wide range of computer-based tools that assist engineers in their design activities.

Earlier, an alternative reading "computer-assisted drafting" was in use. A related acronym, CADD, stands for "computer-assisted drafting and design". It refers to the designing and technical drawing of various engineering or architectural projects on a computer rather than a traditional drawing board.

Since early days of computers they were used to perform calculations for designers. It is argued that a turning point was the development of SKETCHPAD system in MIT in 1963 by Ivan Sutherland. The distinctive feature of SKETCHPAD was that it allowed the designer to interact with computer graphically: the design can be fed into the computer by drawing on a CRT monitor with a light pen. Effectively, it was a prototype of graphical user interface, an indispensable feature of modern CAD.

First commercial applications of CAD were in large companies in automotive and aerospace industry, as well as in electronics. As computers started being more affordable, the application area gradually expanded.

CAD implementations have evolved dramatically since then. When the field was initially established it was typically limited to producing drawings similar to hand drafted drawings. Advances in computer technology have allowed more skillful application of computers in design activities. Today CAD is not limited to drafting and rendering, and it ventures into more "intellectual" areas of designer's expertise.

The capabilities of modern CAD systems include

  • Reuse of design components (so-called "IP")
  • Ease of design modification and versioning
  • Automatical generation of standard components of the design
  • Validation/verification of designs against specifications and design rules
  • Simulation of designs without building a physical prototype
  • Automated design of assemblies, which are collections of parts and/or other assemblies
  • Output of engineering documentation, such as manufacturing drawings, and Bill of Materials
  • Output of design directly to manufacturing facilities

Development in CAD resulted in the following tools and methods:

  • wireframes
  • solid modelling
  • graphically represented system or plant diagrams and databases
  • parametric design models
  • real-time process simulation
  • computer numerically controlled (CNC) load files (toolpath instructions)
  • FEA (Finite Element Analysis)

See also

CAD: (2) Currency

CAD is the ISO 4217-code for the Canadian Dollar''

CAD: (3) Medical

CAD an acronym used for Computer Assisted Dispatch.