The advent of information technology (IT) has revolutionized product development in numerous industries, such as construction. Computer-Aided Design (CAD) is a technique that utilizes specialized software to generate designs, blueprints, and structures. In this blog post, we will delve into the meaning of Computer Aided Design and its significance to the industry and economy. We will also discuss some widely used CAD software, while clarifying that we do not endorse or market these products.
What is CAD?
CAD is a crucial component of contemporary product development processes. It refers to computer software that assists engineers, designers, and architects in designing, editing, analyzing, and documenting blueprints. CAD software comes in various forms, ranging from 2D software which generates basic technical drawings to 3D software capable of producing intricate 3D models. Moreover, there is specialized CAD software designed for specific industries, such as architecture or mechanical engineering. In the construction industry, Graphisoft's ArchiCAD and Autodesk's Revit or AutoCAD are among the commonly used software solutions in Europe.
Overview of Common CAD Programs
Graphisoft's Archicad, launched in 1984, is the "mother" of CAD software in the construction industry, primarily used by architects. It is an architecture CAD and building data modeling software with extensions like the CineRender engine, parametric profile editor, facade design tool, and mobile BIMx model visualization. Archicad is cloud-based and enables multiple people to work on a model simultaneously. This means that any changes in the building model are immediately transferred to all plans, and all editors have the latest information. It saves a significant amount of time but also requires an extremely precise working method from all participants. The standard file format is PLN, other file formats are PLA (plan archives), MOD (plan modules), TPL (project templates), and PMK (plot maker files). Interfaces exist for DXF, DWG, IFC, and DGN files.
Autodesk: AutoCAD and Revit
AutoCAD, created by Autodesk in 1982, is a graphics drawing software initially designed for creating vector-based drawings. It consists mainly of basic objects like lines, polylines, circles, arcs, and text, which are the building blocks for creating complex 3D objects. Until the 1990s, the software was used as a CAD software with programming interfaces for creating technical drawings. Nowadays, the product range includes extensive 3D functions for object modeling and specialized extensions for design professionals of all disciplines. The standard file formats for AutoCAD are DWG and DXF.
In 2000, Autodesk launched Revit, a new software designed specifically for architects, building technicians, and structural engineers. Primarily a BIM software, Revit facilitates coordinated 3D design and offers various tools, such as floor plan design, 3D visualizations, and a WYSIWYG editor. Revit is composed of several components, including Revit Structure for civil and structural engineering and architectural structural planning, Revit Architecture for building design, and Revit MEP for building technology. The underlying principle of Revit is based on the 2D and 3D modeling of a component-oriented building model. Whenever a change is made during the planning process, it is automatically reflected across the entire project, ensuring that designs and documentation remain consistent. Revit supports data exchange through industry-standard file formats such as RVT, DWG, DXF, and DWF, and it can also export to formats like IFC, gbXML, and PDF for plan outputs. Of course, there are many other CAD programs available, including SolidWorks, CATIA, Rhino, and OpenSCAD, to name a few.
Modeling with Computer-Aided Design
The CAD design process consists of several distinct stages: sketching, modeling, and simulating. At Miviso, we mainly specialize on the modeling process, which involves creating 3D and BIM models of existing buildings. In our case, the sketching stage entails surveying the building using a point cloud, which is generated by a surveyor and provided to us in digital form. Modeling involves creating a digital model of the building based on the point cloud, while simulation encompasses the various possibilities offered by the resulting 3D or BIM model.
The Importance of CAD
CAD is a crucial tool for driving technological advancements in a broad range of industries, including construction. It enables daily refinement and improvement of products and processes, providing opportunities to explore new possibilities, experiment, and test new ideas. Although mistakes can occur, CAD allows for modifications and adaptations, providing a safety net in the planning phase and helping to stay one step ahead of future challenges. Overall, CAD is an indispensable technology for achieving greater efficiency, productivity, and innovation in modern-day design and engineering.
Are you interested in the topic of 3D modeling (BIM) and want to learn more about it or do you have specific questions? We would be happy to have a conversation about it.
Tel.: +43 664 4563309