Often used by architects and engineers, computer-aided design or CAD is a computer program that allows for design and design documentation. Simply put, it is a computer file that allows designers a better view of their designs and lay outs before they get made. Since output from these programs can go up in size, they are often vector-based instead of raster-based. Another advantage of vector-based files is that they do not pixelate after a certain percent of magnification. CAD environments are not only just shapes, they can also convey detailed information from materials, show processes, dimensions and tolerances all of which are very helpful to engineers making buildings or designing machinery and vehicles.
Another feature of CAD output is that they can render both in two-dimensional or 2D and three-dimensional or 3D. Because of the versatility of the software, a lot of industries make use of it like prosthetics, industrial and architectural design, shipbuilding and aerospace design. A lot of design based industries benefit from using CAD because of its speed and effectiveness as well as compatibility of the file.
Below are a few tips and suggestions on how to learn and be adept in using CAD software.
- What do you want to use it for? There is a lot of CAD software currently out there. These programs vary with the level of complexity and price of the software. You should first determine what you want to use the software for. Some CAD programs can be used to create circuit boards and complex heavy machinery while others can be just used as a guide for illustration and interior design. Determine what you intend to use it for before choosing which CAD software to get.
- Learn the tools and libraries. CAD software has built in tools and image libraries that you can first play around with before learning how to use properly. Some CAD programs have scale tools that help you resize buildings en route to a career as a city planner while some CAD programs can help you redesign room layouts in your home. Become familiar with the basic tools and libraries available to you in your CAD software before you can move up to more complex commands and executions.
- Like a more powerful version of video games. If you’re used to macro-planning and design games like the Sims, then you’ve got a basic idea on how CAD programs work. It’s not completely accurate, but it’s basically the same principle. You plan out and design the look of things. This will require a bit of forward thinking and advance planning on your part.
- Start small and work your way up. Play around with the many templates and sample projects found in your CAD software. Begin by designing a piece of furniture before graduating to bigger, more complex designs.
- Practice often. Like with any skill, gaining proficiency in CAD software requires hours of practice and trial and error. Have fun with the program!
You can download freeware from this site to install in your computer
Here is a CAD resource site; you can find instructors, books and classes which teach you how to work with CAD software.