Computer-aided design (CAD) software normally gets associated with technical specialists who are skilled in its usage. It’s easy to assume that these technologists don’t manage any other aspects of the engineering process, but CAD documents are normally drawn to make some parts of the said process easier. Nearly anywhere you’d once have found a conventional paper blueprint is today the purview of CAD software.
Here are three examples of engineering-related chores that would be much more difficult if development team staffers had to do all of the work by hand instead of relying on CAD software to complete the tasks.
1. Drawing Detailed Elevations
Multiview projections, known as elevations in the drafting trade, are the customary way of displaying several sides of an object at once. These are as vital for construction projects as they are for those who work in the automotive and civil engineering fields. Computer versions of elevation drawings have existed since at least 1963, and it’s gotten to the point where engineers often can’t proceed with a design until they have at least several CAD documents showcasing different projections of the item they plan on assembling.
Orthographic drawings generally showcase the sides of a design individually, which makes it easy for construction officials to envision the placement of various components. Isometric displays provide a simulated three-dimensional look at a particular object, thus offering an at-a-glance look at it. Both of these use cases predate CAD by many centuries, but they’re every bit as relevant to modern computer industry development crews as they were to Renaissance-era mathematicians.
2. Authoring Electrical Schematics
Wiring diagrams have changed little since the days of Tesla and Marconi, but they’ve certainly grown in both size and complexity. Schema used in the electronics industry have gotten so complicated that they couldn’t physically fit on actual paper. Technologists will use both 2D and 3D software packages to help visualize their designs before they start manufacturing them. Automated production workflows can actually accept these diagrams as input, which allows them to produce circuit boards with a far greater degree of precision than could ever be done by hand. In some cases, producing a new design is as easy as making a few changes to an object stored inside a computer file.
3. Microelectronics Development
Traditional semiconductor manufacturers invest in a sophisticated physical plant that then enables them to cut integrated circuits from wafers. Newer organizations have combined CAD drafting with innovative product design cycle techniques to develop dual in-line package chips much faster than a monolithic organization ever could. That’s helped to fuel what some in the telecommunications space have called a wireless race to the top where technicians continuously come up with smaller and smaller mobile devices that operate on increasingly short UHF wavelengths.
Considering the pace of change in the technology sector, it’s likely that many new use cases for CAD software will come around that aren’t even imagined as of yet. As technology continues to evolve, the uses of CAD software will continue to grow and develop.