What is Computer Aided Drafting?

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Chances are that you’ve heard of Computer Aided Drafting (CAD), but there’s a good chance that you don’t actually know what it is or its uses. When surveyed around 50-60% of Americans, depending on age, gender, and location don’t know what CAD is despite its wide application across a vast array of industries affecting the entire population.

An Introduction to Computer Aided Drafting

A draft in very simple terms is a plan: an outline, a sketch, drawing, or design. If you’ve seen building blueprints or old Leonardo DaVinci sketches for flying contraptions you can get the idea.  Computer aided drafting is using a computer facilitate the creation of these technical drawings through special CAD software instead of the tedious pen and paper approach of the past.  CAD software allows for rendering of both 2D and 3D models.

Engineers can use the drawings for any manufactured product, from the lowliest kitchen appliance to large industrial machinery or spacecraft. This diverse application makes CAD and increasingly important tool to be familiar with, particularly for those who wish to pursue careers in engineering and design. As computer processors improve CAD software only increases in power and flexibility, having long since become the most affordable option for product design.

CAD Applications

Courses offering CAD training focus on preparing students with computer and design skills, often allowing programs to be tailored for specific industries depending on a student’s career interests. Those with computer drafting and design skills can find jobs in architectural and construction firms, civil and government engineering departments, the medical industry, the energy sector, and manufacturing doing everything from designing aircraft, prosthetics, electrical systems, architectural structures, and security systems.


Buildings have always needed extensive planning down to the most minute detail and CAD has increased the efficiency of architectural and construction firms immensely, allowing designers to draw up 2D and 3D schematics of any type of building with the most accurate specifications for measurements, weights, and volume.


The aerospace industry uses CAD software as a first step to pre-visualize and create specifications for products that cost millions of dollars. This is everything from commercial and military aircraft, to satellites, missiles, and space vehicles.


Design and manufacturing using CAD has transformed the automotive industry. Designers use software to draw up plans and build prototypes that cover both mechanical details like engines and tires as well as what time of upholstery the car will have.

Civil Engineering

Civil engineers and urban planners now use CAD to plan city infrastructure projects from bridges and offices complexes to industrial units.


CAD is also being applied for the conceptualization of landscaping projects. This allows movement of trees, fences, fountains, and other components before any manual work commences.

Interior Design

Similarly, designers of indoor spaces can also use CAD to draw up plans and render digital designs to give clients detailed plans of what spaces will look like from furniture selection to color schemes.

Medical Industry

With a wide variety of complex and specifically tailored devices, CAD now plays and important role in the design and manufacture in the medical industry. Everything from pace makers to MRI scanners can be drawn up using CAD software.

CAD Future

For years CAD software manufacturing has been expanding as its use has become increasingly integral across industries. It’s a trend that’s expected to continue. Furthermore, new technology developments including cloud, social, and mobile technology and software are moving the process into a more democratized system allowing wider participation in the design area.

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