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computer-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. The technology is used for a wide variety of products in such fields as architecture, electronics, and aerospace, naval, and automotive engineering. Although CAD systems originally merely automated drafting, they now usually include three-dimensional modeling and computer-simulated operation of the model. Rather than having to build prototypes and change components to determine the effects of tolerance ranges, engineers can use computers to simulate operation to determine loads and stresses. For example, an automobile manufacturer might use CAD to calculate the wind drag on several new car-body designs without having to build physical models of each one. In microelectronics, as devices have become smaller and more complex, CAD has become an especially important technology. Among the benefits of such systems are lower product-development costs and a greatly shortened design cycle. While less expensive CAD systems running on personal computers have become available for do-it-yourself home remodeling and simple drafting, state-of-the-art CAD systems running on workstations and mainframe computers are increasingly integrated with computer-aided manufacturing systems.
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McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (foldoc.org)
CAD(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.)|
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