Demos for CRM Software, HR, ERP, Accounting and Manufacturing Software Help choose CRM, HR, ERP, Accounting and Manufacturing Software Compare Accounting Software Products Compare Manufacturing Software Products Compare ERP Software Products Compare CRM Software Products Compare HR Software Products Compare Enterprise Software Products
Free Demos for Accounting, CRM, HR, ERP and Manufacturing Software

An introduction to the CAD software industry


This brief introduction to the CAD software industry is the first part of a six-part article that aims to show contractors how to buy CAD software. Subsequent sections explain the advantages of CAD software packages, offer hints for making the most of CAD software comparisons and demonstrations, and discuss the typical training and implementation processes for CAD software.

CAD software, or computer-aided design software, is used to expedite the process of 2-D and 3-D design and drafting. CAD software can be used on projects as small as a single room in a house, such as a kitchen or bathroom, or as large as a municipal master plan. CAD software also lets engineers and manufacturers design components such as car parts or circuit boards; this process is referred to as CAM, or computer-aided manufacturing.

The first CAD/CAM software tools emerged in the late 1950s and early 60s for use by automobile and airplane manufacturers with highly detailed mechanical engineering requirements, according to CADAZZ's CAD software history. (Such companies were among the few where the benefits of computer-aided design actually outweighed the immense costs of purchasing and maintaining computers.) This CAD/CAM software was typically developed internally with assistance from researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Not surprisingly, it took a while for the CAD software industry that we know today to take shape. Commercial CAD software came out first for mainframe in the 70s and then for UNIX workstations and personal computers in the 80s. Finally, 3-D modeling software, hitherto limited to large, immobile workstations, made its way onto the PC in the 90s.

Today the CAD software industry offers dozens of tools made specifically for architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) firms. These products range from general purpose design tools, used by all segments of the AEC industry, to sector-specific products such as commercial, industrial and residential design software. In addition, while some programs in the CAD software industry can be used solely for creating 2-D and 3-D designs, other products can be linked to construction cost databases, thus giving users the option to click on a window and see data such as a model number and its cost. Finally, today's CAD systems also provide functionality for Web-based collaboration, for turning 3-D models into animations or videos for prospective clients, and for publishing designs onto surveying applications such as Google Earth.

The next page of this article, When to buy CAD software, will show you signs that it might be time to invest in a new CAD software package.

  Free CAD Software Buyer's Guide  
All Fields Required
* First Name:
* Last Name:
* Company:
* Job Function:
* Job Title:
* Business Email: 
* Phone:
* Address:
* City:
* State/Province:
* Zip/Postal Code: 
* Country:
* Number of Employees:
* Industry:
* IT Budget:
* Role in Purchasing:
Free CAD Software Buyer's Guide
By submitting your registration information to you agree to receive email communications from TechTarget and TechTarget partners. We encourage you to read our Privacy Policy which contains important disclosures about how we collect and use your registration and other information. If you reside outside of the United States, by submitting this registration information you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Your use of is governed by our Terms of Use. You may contact us at is brought to you by TechTarget, Where Serious Technology Buyers Decide.
Copyright © 1996 - 2014, and TechTarget. All rights reserved.
Contact Us | List Your Business Software | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Site Index
Site Map