What is CAD (Computer Aided Design)? Definition, Types & Applications

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Written By Neeraj Gupta

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CAD (Computer Aided Design) is a application software which is mostly used to creates digital 2D/3D models of real-world objects. This article explain will everything about CAD (Computer Aided Design), its types and about various application.

What is CAD (Computer Aided Design)?

Computer Aided Design (CAD) refers to the digital creation of products and design simulations in 2D and 3D. These simulations can be scaled, precise, and have physics properties that allow for optimization and perfection of the design, often in collaboration with other designers.

Computer Aided Design (CAD) is sometimes also known as "computer-aided drafting and design" (CADD). Computer-aided design is the use of computer-based software to aid in designing processes. Different types of engineers and designers frequently use CAD software. CAD software can be used to create both two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) drawings.

You can quickly create unique products by making it easy to share, review and simulate designs using 3DCAD. The traditional "pencil-on-paper" method of engineering and designing, also known as manual drawing, has been replaced by CAD(Computer Aided Design) software.

PRONTO, Dr. Patrick J. Hanratty's first commercial numerical-control program system, was created in 1957. It is believed that this invention gave rise to Computer Aided Design (CAD). SKETCHPAD was developed at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory by Ivan Sutherland, in 1960. It proved the viability of computer-aided technical drawing.

It was not economically viable because the machines were so costly when CAD was developed. Because the machines were so expensive when CAD was first developed, it wasn't exactly a viable business option.

How Does Computer Aided Design Work?

To use a standard CAD system, you will need to install a CAD software program and sometimes a graphics card. The heart of a CAD software program is the graphics kernel. Another crucial component of CAD software is the graphical user interface (GUI). The GUI displays the CAD geometry and collects user input.
Computer Aided Design (CAD) is the process of creating computer models that have geometrical constraints. Computer Aided Design (CAD) is often used to create a three-dimensional representation of a part or whole system on a computer monitor. The model can be modified by developers easily, making it easier for engineers and designers.

This means that the relationships and characteristics we use to create geometry, shape, or size can be controlled. Solid geometric modeling requires you to apply material first so that the geometric responds to forces in a similar way to real objects.

Trackballs and digitizers can also be used occasionally, as well as the keyboard and mouse. The GUI transmits the input from the input devices into the graphics kernel in a suitable format. The graphics kernel creates geometric entities and tells the graphics card how to display them on the GUI.

Designers may plan and create work using CAD(Computer Aided Design) software, then print it and save it for future revisions. The traditional objects of drafting can be represented using CAD software for a mechanical layout. This software uses either vector-based visuals or raster graphics, which show the overall appearance. However, it goes beyond just forms.

The CAD(Computer Aided Design) output must be consistent with the application-specific norms. It must include information such as materials, procedures, and measurements. This is similar to hand-drafting technical and engineering drawings. The software also takes into account interactions between different materials and stakeholders. This is especially important when subcontractors add more details to drawings.

Examples of CAD (Computer Aided Design) Software

In patent applications, CAD drawings can be useful in securing inventions and goods. These software tools are often used to create construction documentation, explore design concepts, visualize ideas through photorealistic renderings, or simulate how a design would work in real life. Let's look at five of the best CAD(Computer Aided Design) software:


AutoCAD was the first CAD(Computer Aided Design) program to hit the market. It is a well-respected product that has a strong reputation across many industries. This CAD program can be used for 2D or 3D drafting. This program can create designs, equipment layouts, and section planes. It also has the ability to produce model documentation. Mastering AutoCAD and other 3DCAD programs are key to your success. This software is for professionals with backgrounds in algorithmic modeling programming.


The Autodesk-provided software for CAD is powerful and specifically designed for mechanical design. It can be used for 3D design, documentation, and product simulation. The software Inventor has integrated tools for sheet metal and tube design. It also includes rule-based, parametric, direct, and free-form design functions. This CAD software also facilitates ideas exchange via secure cloud-based services and links designs to incoming client data.


FreeCAD is an open-source parametric modeling tool that excels at all important CAD(Computer Aided Design) applications such as product design and mechanical engineering. Python was used by developers to create the top layers of FreeCAD. It already has program customization capabilities. FreeCAD allows you to use 2D forms as a basis for designing other items. It is a multiplatform (Windows 11 and Mac OS X) software that can be customized and extended.


Professional 3D artists often use this Dassault Systemes product. It's a parametric, feature-based model. Because SolidWorks is a popular mechanical design software, employers often look for applicants with SolidWorks experience. SolidWorks 3D modeling CAD (Computer Aided Design) software can be used in many areas of mechanical engineering and design. Solid work software includes a variety of capabilities including tools for reverse engineering or design validation.


A web-based 3D modeling tool, Tinkercad, is now available online. It is free to download. Since its availability in 2011, it has gained popularity as a tool to create models for 3D printing. This CAD (Computer Aided Design) program allows users to combine more direct objects to create complicated models. Tinkercad also allows you to incorporate electronic circuits and write programs.

Types of CAD

Computer-aided designing (CAD) can be divided into two types: 2D or 3D. You can also categorize them as follows:

1. 2D CAD

2D CAD was the first CAD program in the industry. It was developed in the 1970s. Large aerospace and automotive companies, as well as other engineering firms, developed internal technologies that could automate repetitive drafting tasks. 2D CAD is based on basic geometric shapes such as lines, rectangles, and circles to create flat drawings.

This is the earliest version of CAD most people know. 2D CAD software also allows for annotations to drawings using text, dimensions, leaders, tables, and other elements. 2D CAD software is used to plan, section, view elevations, and detail structures within the built environment. They also show how components interact to form assemblies and provide crucial inspection points.

2D CAD systems include a library of geometric images, the ability to design Bezier curves and splines as well as the ability to specify hatching patterns, and the ability to create bill-of-materials. Some of the most well-known 2D CAD programs include AutoCAD, CADkey, and CATIA v4.

2.5D CAD

2.5-D CAD, a middle-level CAD that is between 2D/3D, is called. This type of CAD produces prismatic models, which show the object's depth. The components of these items are made from geometric shapes just like 2D CAD.

No overhanging parts can be found in objects that are three-dimensional. This is why 2.5D is used for surfaces. A contour map is used to show the height (i.e. thickness or depth) of objects of this type. They exist on single planes but Z levels are also possible.

3. 3D CAD

There are many types of 3D CAD software available, each one designed for a specific application and level. As computer processing power has improved and graphic display capabilities have improved, 3D CAD is becoming more popular as a design tool.

There are many versions of 3D CAD software available, each with different levels of detail and applications. 3D CAD software allows designers to create a more realistic representation of the design object. This makes it easier for them to resolve potential problems sooner and costs less. Inventor by Autodesk, VX CAD, and CATIA V5 is a few 3D CAD applications, and there are many software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps for 3D CAD.

This computer-aided design type can further be subdivided into 3 categories.
Surface modeling -These models are created by joining 3D surfaces, in contrast to wireframes. Surface models can be quite accurate considering the fact that the background is invisible. Modifying the model, which is a complex operation in surface modeling software, usually doesn't have a tree. This is in contrast to solid modeling software where you can review and modify any part of the modeling process without needing to start the model over again.

Wireframe modeling- With lines and arcs they create skeleton-like designs. Because everything is visible in the background, wire-frame models are called such. They appear to be made of wires. They aren't as popular as they once were. They have a skeletal frame made of wires, which resembles an entire item.

Solid modeling- Solid modelling is useful because it can often calculate the dimensions of objects while creating them automatically. This can be done in several ways. Constructive solid geometry (CSG) CAD is based on the same principles as 2D. It creates an item using prepared solid geometric objects. These CAD software can be difficult to modify after they have been developed.

Use Neutral File Formats For CAD

These file types are designed to be shared between different software programs. This allows for interoperability, which is crucial. It was necessary to create a neutral file format that other software businesses could easily understand. With CAD agnostic files formats, it is possible to work with multiple software packages. It's a great option if you don't need additional CAD software.

They remove barriers and encourage greater collaboration. Today, the most popular file types are STEP, IGES and 3D PDF. Although these CAD-neutral file types do a fantastic job of removing barriers, not all are created equal.

Native File Formats Are Used For CAD

Native CAD formats are files that are only available to a particular CAD system. "Native CAD Formats" refers to file types that are exclusive to specific CAD programs. If you are able to understand them, then they will contain the most data and be most accurate, in comparison to Neutral CAD format and Geometric Modeling Kernel CAD format.

Only use the software that comes with these CAD file types. They cannot be accessed by any other software. All CAD design programs can use a proprietary file type. These file types can only be viewed with the program that created them.

Top Applications for CAD

Because CAD can be used to aid in the design, simulation, and modeling of numerical data, it is applicable across all industries. Here are some of the most important uses for CAD(Computer Aided Design).

3D Printing

A process known as three-dimensional printing allows you to create a 3D object from a digital model. The additive method involves building up layers, usually thermoplastic, in a succession. Each layer, which is finely cut, shows a horizontal cross-sectional view of the final object.

A CAD file is the first step toward creating every object. It can be produced using either a 3D modeling program or reverse engineering. Nowadays, nearly every industry uses CAD for creating drawings for additive manufacturing applications (3D Printing) and representing goods in development.

Dental Industry

CAD(Computer Aided Design) technology is the current best system for aiding in the design and production of dental treatment-related items. Because this digital technology can create a 3D model from the patient's mouth, it is almost exclusively used in restorative dental procedures.

The software can create precision parts such as crowns for dental implant crowns, prostheses, veneers, and prostheses. The CAD(Computer Aided Design) software allows for the design of the treatment and can create the custom-made piece without removing any mouth molds. It saves time and keeps patients comfortable.


Most people think they don't need to have a map anymore, as there are many map apps that can be accessed from any smartphone. Custom maps are useful for preventing people from getting lost in an area without cell service, rendering helpful maps useless when trying to navigate unfamiliar terrain.

You can add points, accommodation, and routes to create your own map. This is useful for those who travel to the mountains or other places. It is possible to save the CAD file to a smartphone or print it.


Fashion designers often use 2D CAD software programs when they first conceptualize their designs. CAD can be used in many areas of fashion design, including mass-market and haute couture. CAD(Computer Aided Design) applications offer many useful features, such as pattern creation and virtual test fitting, pattern grade, marker creation, and others. They are indispensable tools for fashion designers, clothing manufacturers, export firms, and other companies.

Clothing manufacturers can reduce their production time by using a Computer Aided Design (CAD) system. CAD also allows designers to view clothing designs on virtual models in different colors and shapes. This helps save time as it reduces the need for revisions to prototypes or samples later.


Animations, as well as other presentational materials, can be made using CAD(Computer Aided Design). CAD can also create 2D and 3D representations. Technical drawings contain detailed instructions on how to create something. Technical drawings that use CAD(Computer Aided Design) can contain designs for both architectural and mechanical engineering.

Technical drawings are copies made from blueprints. Blueprint is often used to indicate any layout, such as a floor plan. In floor plans, and scale diagrams, which are shown from the top, you can see the dimensions, locations, and shapes of rooms and other items within a structure.

Furniture Construction

It allows for the creation of complex furniture that is often more complicated than traditional furniture design software. CAD(Computer Aided Design) has created a software solution for the furniture industry that meets all market requirements, guarantees a cost-effective production process, and offers personalized solutions.

Combining both mechanical design system modeling capabilities, and specialized furniture systems automatization might be the best solution to today's market issues. It includes quickly creating furniture of any complexity from any material. Modeling is becoming an increasingly important aspect.

Automotive Sector

Major and small businesses in the automotive supply chain industry are using CAD(Computer Aided Design) as their standard software. The future of software will be simpler and more human-friendly. The automotive industry is constantly challenged by increasing efficiency and enhancing the quality of its products.

Automakers must find innovative ways to reduce the manufacturing intensity, speed up development, integrate more with international suppliers, and collaborate better. Virtual and augmented reality technologies exist today. However, all businesses will eventually have access to them.

Interior Design

CAD(Computer Aided Design) allows you to design and create mockups of room arrangements. It's much easier than hand drawing to make a mockup for any physical location in a 2D/3D model. Most people will work from a 2D layout and then collaborate with customers to plan where important furniture and fixtures should be placed.

AutoCAD 2010 has a Room Maker feature that allows you to convert 2D floor plans to 3D. It makes it simple for interior designers to show clients exactly how your finished room will look.


Computer Aided Design (CAD) is an important field in product engineering as well as the industrial sector. This allows engineers to test and optimize their designs in a controlled environment without the need to make expensive prototypes.
The CAD(Computer Aided Design) software provides documentation, records specifications, and allows collaboration between different disciplines and stakeholders in product production.
It is important for organizations to be able to explain how computer-aided designing works and the key concepts.

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