3d Cad Software

Written by Adam Blau
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Engineers and designers have recently been granted a remarkable set of tools, thanks to the significant advancement in 3-dimensional computer-aided design (CAD) software. Projects that would have taken weeks to design, analyze, and construct can now be modeled in a matter of minutes. The model output, too, has progressed from 2-dimensional drafts to photorealistic 3D renderings of the finished product.

Computer Advancements and CAD Software

There are a number of technological innovations that have allowed for such progression in the CAD realm. First and foremost, the mathematical computational power of today's computers has advanced significantly, allowing for complex calculus equations to be manipulated in fractions of a second. In the past, such manipulation of numbers encompassed a large portion of the engineer's job. Now, the computer can take care of the number-crunching.

The development of the 3D rendering capabilities of modern computers has also advanced significantly. More than ever before, graphics cards can construct a 3D shape with definition and ease. The manipulation, rotation, and revision of these shapes, while actually quite complex mathematically, can be depicted with ease by today's machines.

3D CAD software has also been well-served by developments in network technology. Those engineers who work in collaboration with one another can benefit by the team design tools integrated into some CAD software. These team design features allow for a number of engineers to work on a project either simultaneously (on separate machines) or in their own time and at their own pace (benefiting from the check in/check out tools in some CAD software).

Choosing 3D CAD Software

There are a number of different CAD programs available on the market today. It can be somewhat overwhelming to muddle through the countless offerings. At times, it may seem like the feature sets are remarkably similar between programs.

In fact, many of the programs do accomplish the same end result. The question, then, is how easy it is to achieve that goal. Is the CAD program's user interface intuitive and conducive to good design workflow? Does the program offer a variety of designing methods, from 3D solid modeling to 2D drafting or AVI motion depiction?

If your engineering needs necessitate team design tools, are they included in your particular CAD software package? Does your program have the data management tools that are required to manage your components and designs? Does the software have a steep learning curve, or will you be able to utilize all its features fairly quickly and easily?

CAD Software and Support

One feature that can make or break a CAD program's reputation with engineers is the support included with the program. Some programs offer excellent real-time online support for the program, enabling users to have their questions answered quickly and clearly. Some programs have even incorporated this real-time support directly into the user interface in the program, allowing support personnel to access the engineer's machine to sort out problems.

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