AutoCAD stands for Automatic Computer Aided Design, and that is representative of what this program is all about. It creates 2D and 3D drawings and models, providing a modern alternative to drawing with pencil and paper. It was developed by the company Autodesk in order to speed up the design process and develop a more efficient method of generating technical drawings.
Below are the top 5 AutoCAD features that will display how this digital design software works and why it has become the industry leader and standard for 2D drawings:
Accessibility and Storage
Files used within AutoCAD are stored locally on a computer, shared drive or cloud storage. Computer drives take up much less space than if you were to try and store the enormous amount of drawings involved in every project in a physical location, think of the trees saved by reducing the use of all of that paper! Physical drawings are also much more susceptible to damage than their digital counterparts, and they can be destroyed in a large number of ways, like fire, water and general damage and aging of the paper they are printed or drawn on. Software files can be stored in their thousands on drives that can be stored in your computer or on your desk, or for an even more efficient space save, on cloud storage that requires no space and only an internet connection.
While AutoCAD is known as the best 2D drafting software you can buy, it does have 3D modelling capabilities. It can visualize 2D drawings into a 3D model, and create 3D models from scratch, but it is built around a sketch-based, flat workflow. It allows the user to create complex surfaces and solids, create sections, animations and camera perspectives, set up renders with lights and materials, work with composite solids, and set up drawings for 3D printing. This is useful for visualizing projects and analysing how a design will work. This is useful for the civil, electrical and mechanical fields. It can also feed designs to 3D printers where a model can be made into a physical prototype. In addition to this, AutoCAD also ensures the files are compatible with other programs and machines by having a wide range of file exporting formats. 3D modelling is generally more taxing than 2D drafting and requires more skill and experience to operate proficiently.
Modifications and Revisions
AutoCAD gives the user the option to edit drawings in an instant, as opposed to a draftsman attempting to create drawings by hand and having to redraw every time they make a mistake. This was time-consuming and often resulted in errors in the scaling of drawings and loss of older details. You can edit and modify drawings quickly and easily, and they allow any number of revisions. User-friendly commands can be utilized to add or delete aspects/details of the drawing, and previous versions of drawings can be saved if the user wishes to revert back to a previous point in the design. AutoCAD also comes with analytical tools that can be used to analyze the various components of a project, e.g. a building and troubleshoot the loads and stresses that the building will experience.
The dimensions within AutoCAD enable the user to design to the smallest fractional dimensions to increase the accuracy of any drawing to levels hand-drawn drawings could never reach. Precision can be set to any number of decimal places desired, which reduces the margin for error in drawings. It was known in older times where hand markups were prevalent, that defects in products occurred when the manufacturer measured to the inside of a pencil line when the measurements were accurate to the outside of the pencil line. The discrepancy the size of the thickness of the pencil line was enough to throw the alignment of many projects off! The accuracy of AutoCAD also allows designers to take advantage of all space possible when designing floor plans. Spaces can be mapped out to maximise every inch and it can also be used with other programs like 3D Max to create the best design possible. It aids professionals like engineers to solve design issues, eliminating errors and ensuring the accuracy of the design and the smooth progression of their projects.
It goes without saying that creating a drawing in AutoCAD is much faster than drawing with pencil and paper. The speed with which one can draft is aided by the re-usable block library that is contained within the design software. These blocks can be copy and pasted into drawings to save time on complicated details and ensure that precise and correct measurements are used. These blocks can also be edited and mirrored, rotated, stretched, scaled and copied to fit the designs needs. The user can also create their own custom title blocks, blocks, templates and details that they typically use to save even more time. These are then divided into themed libraries to also make them easier to find. This can also help to reduce costs as it saves time and effort that is used on manual designing, and it also allows for quick edits to designs which can save money on manufacturing as less errors carry through to production.
AutoCAD’s ease of use and flexibility to be utilized in multiple different fields have made it one of the most popular design tools used in architecture, engineering and interior and graphic design. It is the undisputed king of 2D drafting and there are no programs even close to threatening its position at the top of the pack. Most buildings built in this age are designed with AutoCAD, with the addition of BIM (Building Information Modelling) and its constant development of new features, it will stay as the must use tool for many years to come.
What do you think the best feature of AutoCAD is? Let us know of your experience with this major design software and if you think there is a feature that should make this Top 5, list please leave a comment down below!