What is a computer aided design?

A computer-aided design, commonly referred to as CAD, is an accurate 3D file that depicts how components are manufactured and/or how a group of parts are assembled. Learn what
Newletter Sign Up ANG

What are CAD files?

A computer-aided design or design software, commonly referred to as CAD, is an accurate 3D file that represents how components are manufactured and/or how a group of parts are assembled.

Computer-aided designs are used often for a wide variety of purposes, including the production of technical drawings, CNC programs, simulations of stress and load, and many more.

These CAD drawings may be used to create curves and figures in two-dimensional (2D) space; or curves, surfaces, and solids for 3D modeling in three-dimensional (3D) space, allowing a very true to form design

CAD files are preferred by many businesses over traditional paper drawings throughout the product development process because of their superior readability and level of precision.

These files are now a necessary feature of any manufacturing process, since they are employed in the fabrication of any component. This makes them an important aspect of any manufacturing process.

Which software is used to produce CAD drawings?

Here are some of the most popular computer-aided design software used to create CAD drawings : AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, Catia and PTC Creo.


How can we use CAD file for a 3D printer?

The first step is to save to a dwg file and open the file in AutoCAD to create the STL files.

How CAD files are exported to the STL format is a crucial process for accurate representation and building parts. By definition, a STL is a triangulated representation of a 3D CAD model. 

When exporting to STL, you may see parameters for chord height, deviation and angle tolerance. These are the parameters that affect the faceting of the STL. It’s important to take in consideration that the finer the STL is, the larger the file will be in size, which will affect processing time in Insight as well as build time.

Here are the step by step process for converting CAD to STL, however, the steps may vary depending on what CAD software you are using:

  1. Go to 3D view.
  2. Go to File menu , select Export CAD format.
  3. A dialog box opens.
  4. Select Option.
  5. Scroll down the dropdown menu (3D view only) and select 3D polymesh.
  6. Select “AutoCAD 2004 DWG” in Save as type.
  7. Next, open the saved file AUTO CAD.


How can we use CAD files for 3D viewers?

It is possible to convert CAD files with modern technologies that can be used on many 3D viewing software and online platforms. Click on the following link to learn more about the 3 easy steps to convert your CAD files for a 3D viewer.


What industries use CAD files?

Many industries use CAD files to achieve their work. For instance, electric engineers use CAD files to plan electrical diagrams, circuit diagrams, schematics and documentation. Civil engineers and mechanical engineers will use CAD to demonstrate a very detailed plan of the structure that is being worked on. Marketing agencies will use CAD files that illustrate conceptual design and graphic design for their projects. Architects use CAD files to build houses. Construction workers also use cad files plans and blueprints to guide their work on the construction sites.

These industries use CAD files to showcase their design process that they can then transform into 3D designs. That said, many engineers are beginning to use parametric modeling, which is a time-saving design tool in computer-aided design (CAD) software. In other words, it is very practical because it saves a design engineer from having to constantly redraw a design every time one of its dimensions changes, especially when dealing with complex projects.

Click here to learn more about 3D for the manufacturing industry


Where does the CAD file come from?

CAD files are imported in layers that were defined when the initial drawing was made. The user can import any or all of the layers. If desired, the user can combine all of the drawing pieces into one layer and/or all the imported 3D entities into one object.

Before that even came into perspective, manual drafting was the main use. In the past, drafters did everything by hand. They sat at drawing boards and used pencils and other drafting tools which could take so many hours to finish.  Manual drafting is mainly mastered by technical people such as designers, architect and engineer. However, it is a known fact that skill to incorporate creative style and expression to drawings is much more important in manual drafting.


How can I use a CAD file?

CAD software is used by a huge number of different industries and professions. We often see CAD software used to create architectural designs, electrical schematics, mechanical drawings, engineering drawings, blueprints and even special effects in movies.

You can use CAD through the various software programs mentioned earlier, such as AutoCad. On AutoCad, you have access to all the guidelines through the navigation resources where you can search for the solution that meets your needs.



How CAD files can be used for 3D visualization?

If you think your company could benefit from a 3D product configurator or 3D interactive visualizations, don’t hesitate to contact Visao. Many different companies in the manufacturing industry trust us and our 3D specialists have years of experience in the field. In fact, our 3D specialists will take your basic CAD drawings and transform them into impressive photorealistic 3D product viewers.

Once we have created your 3D product visuals, we can help you integrate them on your website or in any marketing/sales materials. Some people like to go further and take their 3D plans to 3D printing. That being said, there is a wide range of possibilities that can be used to demonstrate your ideas or projects.


How can Visao’s experts help you?

Visao provides a web-based platform that allows manufacturers to use their CAD files to create interactive visualizations of their products for marketing, sales processes, trade shows and production, the perfect tool for business users. We also provide services to accompany you in the process of creating your 3D product visualizations. Ready to transform your CAD files? Request a live demonstration of Visao’s 3D and augmented reality solutions today!

Transform your CAD drawing into interactive 3D viewers with Visao

Create fully interactive 3D viewers of your products without any prior 3D experience

Customize the viewers to match your brand and product specifications

Host your 3D viewers on the cloud and easily share them with your audience

augmented reality mode

How to export a .STEP file from SolidWorks

Learn the essential steps to export .STEP files from SolidWorks effortlessly. Streamline your 3D design workflow with our expert guide….

How to import a .STEP File into Blender

Discover .STEP files: 3D exchange, advantages and import into Blender in 3 steps. Read all about it on our blog!…

Want to learn how our client brought their tradeshow experience to another level?