CAD is the acronym for Computer Aided Design or Computer Aided Drawing. In their book CAD/CAM: Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing the authors Mikell Groover and Emory Zimmers have defined CAD as, “the use of computer systems to assist in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design.”
To perform the CAD operations the computer systems comprise of the software and the hardware. The hardware consists of all the visible components of the computer like processor, motherboard, mouse, keyboard, graphics card etc. The software consists of the program that can implement computer graphics on the computer system and also carry out a number of engineering functions on the computers.
The CAD software can carry out a number of engineering functions like analysis of stress-strain subjected on the components, dynamics response of the mechanisms, heat-transfer calculations, etc. Not all the CAD software will perform all the functions. Each CAD software is programmed to carry out specific function. Depending upon the type of the firm or the company, they will choose the CAD software that can perform particular application.
However, the most popular CAD software are the ones that can perform design and drawing operations. These CAD software can perform all the designing operations like making various calculations, performing simulations of the designed components, checking them for stress etc. The drawings of these designed components can also be drawn using the CAD software, which help avoiding long and cumbersome process of making the drawings on the drawing board.
Popular CAD Software
These days a number of CAD software are available in the market, some of these include AutoCAD, CADopia, SolidWorks, Catia, MathCAD, QuickCAD etc. One of the most popular CAD software being used since years is AutoCAD. Its latest version is AutoCAD 2009, which has ribbon in its user interface similar to the one in Office 2007. AutoCAD is very expensive and there are number of other CAD software available at comparatively much lesser prices but performing functions almost similar to AutoCAD.