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see computer-aided designcomputer-aided design
(CAD) or computer-aided design and drafting
(CADD), form of automation that helps designers prepare drawings, specifications, parts lists, and other design-related elements using special graphics- and calculations-intensive computer programs.
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(computer science)

computer-aided design (CAD)

The analysis and/or design, and/or modeling, and/or simulation, and/or layout of building design with the aid of a computer.



(Computer-Aided Design) Using high-speed desktop computers to design products. Either a mouse or graphics tablet is used for the physical drawing, and a scanner may be attached for additional input. The output of a CAD system is often electronically transmitted to a computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) system or 3D printer, which builds the objects (see CAD/CAM and 3D printing).

Generic or Specialized
CAD software is available for generic design or specialized uses, such as architectural, electrical and mechanical. The software may also be highly specialized for creating products such as printed circuits and integrated circuits.

Solid and Parametric Modeling
More complex forms of CAD are solid modeling and parametric modeling, which allows objects to be created with real-world characteristics. For example, in solid modeling, objects can be sectioned (sliced down the middle) to reveal their internal structure. In parametric modeling, objects have meaningful relationships with each other (a door must be on a wall, not the floor; holes cannot be drilled too close to the edge, etc.). See wireframe modeling, surface modeling, solid modeling, parametric modeling, graphics and CAE.

Two or Three Dimensions
While 2D CAD programs work for some applications, they are essentially the computer counterpart to hand-drawn objects. In contrast, 3D CAD enables objects to be drawn with sides, top and bottom so they can be manipulated as a whole and viewed from any angle.

From Rivets to Trees
Some CAD software suites can take the finished object and render it as a real-world entity. This building was designed in MicroStation Modeler and rendered in MicroStation MasterPiece from Bentley Systems. (Image courtesy of Bentley Systems, Inc. and Cooper Carry.)
References in periodicals archive ?
Price is one of them - from $500 for a plug-in library to more than $15,000 for a high-end CAD system with integrated mold design.
CAD software programs easily can place graphics on complex curved surfaces for considerable time savings.
VisiNet Mobile will provide complete integration and functionality with the TriTech CAD solution and full messaging will be facilitated between other units and dispatch.
Modules to increase the connectability of CAD to other programs were also a prominent value enhancement at the show.
Drafting Assistant's high-end CAD features such as integrated parametrics, associative dimensioning, detail views, and Nurb splines, help shorten the design cycle and increase productivity.
In addition to converting CAD files into DWF, users will be able to translate hundreds of component parts at one time.
Actify's full suite of products are designed to enable easy and secure access, communication and distribution of multiple 2D/3D CAD file formats, and related documents through global enterprises and supply chains, without requiring access to native CAD systems.
Mold engineering, construction, repair, prototype development, model-making, CAD, including disc integration.