Hard working professionals such as engineers and architects have taken “hard” out of the equation and have replaced it with “smart.” This allows them to efficiently work on completing projects at a much faster pace without compromising quality. Engineers and architects have a lot of standards such as ISOS that they need to comply with so simplifying their tasks would require highly specialized tools such as engineering CAD software.
Whether you’re just starting out as an engineer or architect, you will certainly benefit from knowing why other professionals like you have opted to use CAD. But before you can start shopping around for the top engineering CAD tools, it is important that you know the basics first.
You’ve probably heard the term used multiple times while colleagues talk shop. But what is it really? CAD stands for Computer Aided Design. It is basically a computer design system that helps professionals like engineers draft, modify, analyze and optimize their designs. It is also used for design documentation to ensure that there is more efficient communication throughout the process. This is because the CAD output or produced design needs to convey vital information such as materials and dimensions. In fact, most engineering CAD tools feature automatic component numbering to make it easier for more people to understand the schematics of the design.
Using engineering CAD software allows the person designing to explore and create innovative ideas in their projects. This is made possible because of the various features the tool has like the application of multiple light sources and instant validity and reference checking. CAD basically helps give form to what is envisioned by engineers and architects so others can see it too.
The improved design quality created in CAD software for engineering is often something that cannot be achieved in manual drawings. The 2D vector graphics can be used to show spaces and curves while the 3D modeling can clearly illustrate surfaces and solids. It gives the design a more realistic effect that makes it easier for others to appreciate and plan for.
Technology vs. Tradition
Drafting and designing has been around for ages. Even ancient engineers and architects have created drawings to illustrate how a certain building or technology should be structured. And as civilizations evolved, man has found newer and more efficient ways to create and document designs. From cave walls to computer screens, the evolution has been extensive.
While CAD is a technology that has slowly become a standard, there are still those who prefer the more traditional manual drawing. In this section you will learn the pros and cons of both techniques so you can determine how you can benefit from each one.
The choice of which one to use often depends on a lot of factors. These could include,
- The medium preferred by the company or client
- The resources available to the engineer or architect
- The type of drawing required
However, when these factors are negligible, you can opt for what you are comfortable with and which method can produce the most appropriate design. Here are some elements that need to be considered when choosing which method to use.
In most engineering designs, there are a lot of standards to adhere to such as ISO. In these situations, accuracy in scaled measurements is a necessity. While a manual draft can create this, it may take a while as human errors can compromise the needed measurements. This is even with the all the tools available. If you’ve ever tried your hand on a project like this, you know how manual drafting can take a long time with a lot of help from your eraser.
However, with engineering CAD tools, all you would need to do is adjust the settings and you can comfortably create your design. The software will provide much needed help to ensure that you are able to remain accurate in terms of the required measurements.
The cost involved when comparing these two methods is basically with regard to the equipment needed. Some engineering CAD software can be downloaded for free. These already come with basic features that can be used to create simple designs. However, for the more advanced 3D or 4D CAD engineering software, a small investment would be needed in order to download these. Whether you will be using the free or the purchased version, you would definitely need a computer that has specifications that could support the software.
So, if you total the cost involved in upgrading your computer and the purchase price for the top engineering CAD tools, you can see that this would involve a sizeable investment. This is often the factor that influences engineers and architects from using this technology on quick projects.
Before the onset of CAD software used in engineering, professionals created designs and schematics by using good old tools that included a variety of rulers, paper, pencils and erasers. While these were dependable and inexpensive tools, the process of designing had a lot of challenges. And because of this, drafting the designs and making revisions took quite a while.
Designing with CAD on the other hand takes much less time as the software simplifies some of the processes involved in the drafting. Revisions are also much easier to complete.
In a nutshell, below are the advantages and disadvantages of each technique.
- There is no need for a big investment on tools
- A full set out allows you to quickly see the design from all angles
- Design needs to be kept on file so a physical storage space is required
- Reproducing or revising may take a while and a lot of effort
- There is no remote access to the design and design documentation
Computer Aided Design
- The design can be accessed remotely through the internet
- Designs are saved on file so these are easy to reproduce in high quality when needed. This also lessens the risk of loss or damage.
- Reproducing and revising designs are easier
- The cost of equipment and software is a considerable investment and may take a while on ROI
- Some forms and shapes are still a challenge to create on the software
Engineers and architects go through years of training to be able to practice the profession they chose. Part of this training and learning how to create drawings that would illustrate the design they are creating.
Engineers work in various specialized fields where they draft blueprints for projects they take on. Architects work with designs as well. Part of the job of being an architect involves preparing designs of new and old buildings. These are subject to the approval of government agencies as well as the client who hired them.
The tasks of these professionals require that they be skilled in drafting and designing. For this reason, more and more of architects and engineers are choosing to use CAD. Below are the top 3 reasons they choose to do so:
- CAD Reduces the Risks of Costly Mistakes
A 3D CAD tool allows architects to see and test how their designs would work. This can be done prior to the build. This prevents mistakes that may result in the project going above budget.
In addition, engineering CAD software can prevent fatal consequences by analyzing the different elements of the design and identifying possible errors. From structural stability to environmental impact, key components can be looked at more closely before any construction or build begins.
- CAD Increase Productivity
As discussed earlier, CAD software have features that make architects and engineers more efficient. These may include real time bill of materials and component wiring. These are all details that need to be included in the design that will be prepared and presented. To create such documentation along with the manual drawing will take a lot of extra tasks such as research and cross checking. As a result, it takes longer to complete the project as nothing gets built until the design has been reviewed.
Designs also often need to be revised based on feedback from the local planning and building offices as well as the client. This process when done manually may take a while as well.
By using CAD, designing professionals can quickly and efficiently make the revisions and have the drawing ready to be presented for another review. Architects and engineers are then able to work on more projects in the same amount of time they would have needed with manual drawing.
In addition, the designs are always accessible. So an architect can work on the design while having lunch outside of the office. There’s less risk of damaging or losing the original design as these are safely kept on file.
- CAD Output is More Appealing in Presentations
The designs created by architects and engineers may make complete sense to professionals but cause a lot of confusion to regular folks. The way the space in a building is to be utilized is always a primary concern for clients, so seeing a quality 3D scaled model would be a great presentation tool.
CAD output creates quality images that are easier to understand. And since the software can easily make changes in the design, the client and other people involved in the build can provide necessary feedback while it is revised.
With more and more professionals in your field opting to use engineering CAD software, it would be a wise move to make the transition as well. Check out the list of top engineering CAD tools on CrowdReviews.com to pick the right fit for your needs.
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