The commonly cited Moore’s Law states that computing power doubles approximately every 18 months. Despite the fact that no one knows whether Moore’s Law will hold true, it’s safe to say that technology continues to advance at a breakneck pace. CAD Design is no exception, and since it is used in virtually every industry, innovations in CAD Design are poised to affect the design and production of goods across the board.
Here’s a look at what the rest of this year (and beyond) holds for CAD, brought to you by CAD Designers Inc.
3D technology is all the rage right now, but much of the available CAD software relies on 2D technology and input/output devices that are headed toward obsolescence. Engineers and designers are clamoring for smart 3D software that will streamline the design to manufacturing timeframe by automating data input, anticipating design needs, and assessing design integrity, all in real time. As the cost of 3D hardware (like printers and scanners) continues to drop, software will become more readily integrated as more businesses adopt the previously unaffordable technology.
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
Paradoxically, a full transition to 3D design will stall until 3D CAD vendors enhance the 2D functionality of their products, the reason being that most manufacturers today still use 2D drawings for production. In other words, those at the more advanced end of the spectrum will have to continue assisting those stuck in 2D until manufacturing processes catch up. 3D software vendors will continue to ease the transition from 2D to 3D by making it easier to produce 2D manufacturing drawings from their software.
Mass customization, driven by enhanced CAD software, is already taking hold on a relatively small scale. For certain products and industries, it is almost de rigueur for consumers to have a hand in designing the own versions of products. Think shoes, phone cases, even surfboards. The onset of more advanced (yet user-friendly) CAD software designed specifically for this purpose, combined with the downward direction of 3D printing costs will cement the relationship between these technologies, bring mass customization to many more markets.
Back to the Future?
Believe it or not, the first CAD software introduced back in the 1960s required users to draw directly on the computer screen. As software and computers evolved, a mouse became the tool of choice, followed by the touch screen. Today’s designers are reinvigorating the pen-to-screen relationship with their use of pen tablets, combined with programs like Photoshop and Sketchbook. It will be interesting to see if a return to design with a hand-drawn quality will hold enduring appeal.
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