(Computer-Aided Design) Using computers to design products. CAD systems are high-speed workstations or desktop computers with CAD software. A graphics tablet is used for drawing, and a scanner may be attached for additional input. The output of a CAD system is either printed or electronically transmitted to a CAM system, which builds the objects (see CAD/CAM).|
Generic or Specialized
CAD software is available for generic design or specialized uses, such as architectural, electrical and mechanical. CAD 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.
The computer is used not only to create engineering blueprints for every last detail of a project, but it takes the finished object and renders 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.)