Tuesday, January 18, 2011

CAD (Computer Aided Design)

Today, the mechanics of the drafting task have largely been automated and accelerated through the use of Computer Aided Design systems (CAD).

There are two types of Computer Aided Design systems (CAD) used for the production of technical drawings, two dimensions ("2D") and three dimensions ("3D").

2D CAD systems such as AutoCAD replace the paper drawing discipline. The lines, circles, arcs and curves are created within the software. It is down to the technical drawing skill of the user to produce the drawing. There is still much scope for error in the drawing when producing first and third angle orthographic projections, auxiliary projections and cross sections. A 2D CAD system is merely an electronic drawing board. Its greatest strength over direct to paper technical drawing is in the making of revisions. Where as in a conventional hand drawn technical drawing, if a mistake is found, or a modification is required, a new drawing must be made from scratch. The 2D CAD system allows a copy of the original to be modified saving considerable time. 2D CAD systems can be used to create plans for large projects such as buildings and aircraft but provide no way to check the various components will fit together.

3D CAD systems such as Pro/ENGINEER first produce the geometry of the part, the technical drawing comes from user defined views of the part. Any orthographic, projected and section views are created by the software. There is no scope for error in the production of these views. The main scope for error comes in setting the parameter of first or third angle projection, and displaying the relevant symbol on the technical drawing. 3D CAD allows individual parts to be assembled together to represent the final product. Buildings, Aircraft, ships and cars are modeled, assembled and checked in 3D before technical drawings are released for manufacture.

Both 2D and 3D CAD systems can be used to produce technical drawings for any discipline. The various disciplines; electical, electronic, pneumatic, fluidic, etc., have industry recognised symbols to represent common components.

BS and ISO produce standards to show recommended practices but it is up to individuals to produce the drawings. There is no definitive standard for layout or style. The only standard across engineering workshop drawings is in the creation of orthographic projections and cross section views.

Drafting can represent two dimensions ("2D") and three dimensions ("3D") although the representation itself is always created in 2D (cf. Architectural model). Drafting is the integral communication of technical or engineering drawings and is the industrial arts sub-discipline that underlies all involved technical endeavors.

In representing complex, three-dimensional objects in two-dimensional drawings, the objects can be described by at least one view plus material thickness note, 2, 3 or as many views and sections that are required to show all features of object.