Module Report: Computer Aided Design
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
27 January 2018
Module Report: Computer Aided Design
The days have long passed where
technical drawings had to be drawn by hand with the extensive labor, time, and
errors. Advances in mathematics and
geometry software have enabled design technology such as Computer Aided Design
(CAD). CAD is a software that allows you
to create computer models through geometrical parameters (Techpathi, 2013). The models created in CAD are able to
transform into three-dimensional models that can be viewed and adjusted from
all angles. Furthermore, in the YouTube
video, I learned that CAD can test models in real-world conditions by
simulating physics and fluid dynamics.
Applications of CAD vary from clothing, robotics, space shuttles, cars,
and visual effects (Agile Tech Support, 2017). Needless to say, CAD has been
CAD has not only changed the way we
do things, it has cut down on cost, improved accuracy, and enabled more
opportunities the share design content (Techpathi, 2013). The traditional method of drawing designs by
hand for engineering and ensuring drawings were to scale and accurate was
extensive and expensive. Especially for
big and complex drawings. Furthermore,
drawing by hand is two-dimensional, therefore, multiple drafts had to be drawn
in order to represent a full-scale technical drawing with all sides of the
design. Not to mention, the probability
of error was high. With CAD, the
dimensions of the design are calculated to the highest level of accuracy and
presented in three-dimensional models (Techpathi, 2013). Thereby, simplifying the job of engineers.
Not only did CAD automate and
improve the drafting process, but also, it is able to simulate the testing of
designs. CAD is able to run simulations
to test how parts in the design behave when they are at work (Advice
Manufacturing, 2018). This allows for
the detection and measurement of stress, vibration, strain, and structural
failures. Additionally, CAD can simulate
computational fluid dynamics to test the effects of aerodynamics,
hydrodynamics, and thermodynamics on the design model (Advice Manufacturing,
2018). Furthermore, material properties
can be assigned to the design. This
allows for the testing and measurement of center of gravity and mass (Advice
Manufacturing, 2018). Undoubtedly, the
possibilities in CAD allow for a better analysis of the model in order to make
adjustments before manufacturing begins.
This cuts the cost of physical prototypes and design overhauls at later
stages of manufacturing.
So what can be the disadvantage of
using CAD? Well, as expected when using
any software technology, the initial cost can be high as well as the upkeep. The cost of the software and computer can be
a large initial cost (Garnock Academy, 2018).
Not as much as going back to the old hand and paper method in the long
run however. Additionally, new software
updates and eventually replacement software and hardware can add on to that
price. Also, personnel might take a
while to figure out how to use CAD and all the tools available in order to
properly take advantage of all it has to offer.
Therefore, the time and perhaps money in training can be a disadvantage. Furthermore, as with all computers, the
susceptibility of contracting a virus and computer crashing can affect your
design data stored. However, the work
can always be backed up and saved to the cloud to avoid this (Garnock Academy,
All in all, the benefits far out
weigh the disadvantages of using CAD.
The trail and error process in engineering and manufacturing can be lest
costly and more beneficial to conduct in digital form in order to fix all errors
of design at early stages of production (Advice Manufacturing, 2018). CAD has revolutionized every aspect of design
from the small toys our children play with to space shuttles that explore outer
space. CAD allows people to create and
test their designs in a digital environment, as well as, document every aspect,
line, and dot in detail. CAD gives
people the tools to create. Now, looking
into the future, imagine if it could actually create with you?
Just as CAD revolutionized the pen
and paper method of technical drawings, the new replacement for CAD may not be
too far off into the future. Some 10
years ago, NASA engineers developed an algorithm to create and analyze possible
antenna designs (Kowalski, 2016). The
algorithm simulated automatically the antenna performance and each time improved
the antenna design to achieve better performance configurations all on its
own. Now, a company called Autodesk is
taking that same principle and introducing it to design software (Kowalski,
With machine-learning, and
artificial intelligence on the rise, it is not far off to say that Autodesk’s
generative design will be the new age in design software. A computer that can learn to design and has
all the capabilities to do so. All you
have to do is say what you’re end goal is, and watch it design all the possibilities;
make suggestions, test models, etc. A
computer that can come up with ideas and solutions and all you have to do is
say “go”. Well, now we’re talking.
Advice Manufacturing. (2018). CAD
Analysis benefits: Specialist design, analysis, simulation and testing.
Retrieved January 27, 2018, from
Agile Tech Support (2017). Retrieved
January 27, 2018, from https://youtu.be/a4x7w1QFmZk
Garnock Academy. (2018). Advantages/disadvantages
of CAD (Computer Aided Design). Retrieved 2018.
Kowalski, J. (2016). CAD is a lie:
Generative design to the rescue. Retrieved January 27, 2018, from https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/generative-design
Tecpathi. (2013). Mr. Techpathi.
Retrieved January 27, 2018, from http://www.mrtechpathi.com/2013/03/how-has-computer-aided-drafting.html