The Computer Revolution/Computer Graphics/CADD

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CAD is an acronym that stands for Computer Aided Design Program (http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/inside/cadcam/whatis.htm). It is a program that allows drafting professionals to draw using geometric shapes which is why it can be also called Computer Aided Drafting Design (http://www.trixsystems.com/cad.html). It is a program that has replaced the drafting drawing board that used to be used to use to design (http://www.trixsystems.com/cad.html). This computer program is much more advanced then an actual drawing board as it also creates mathematical calculations and formulas within the spreadsheet design. This program also allows people to measure objects with actual measurements used which allows for complete accuracy (http://www.fastcad.com/x-whatis.html). Another benefit to this drafting system is that you can see your objects in 2-dimentional format and some programs can actually allow you to see the drawing in a 3 D effect (http://www.fastcad.com/x-whatis.html). These programs are mainly used for high tech drafting professionals like Architects, engineers and geologists that benefit greatly from this computer graphics system. Computer Aided Design (CAD) CAD software was designed to help aid the development of building, bridges, landscape and new designs. Also, to reduce the time it takes to draft up a product or design. CAD can also help in producing new mechanical and electrical systems. An advantage of using this software is the ability to make changes and modify existing projects easily and quickly. Not only does it aid in design and development, it also aids in the event of a new structure being build, if its up to date with the latest version for any weather resistant structures. For example earthquakes, or unforeseen weather conditions. Computer aided design program also has the advantages of 3D designing. It will give the builder the ability to go into the finish building with out having to waits time and money if a issue would arise. (Morley, Deborah, Parker s., Charles. "Understanding Computers, Today and Tomorrow" print. Page 477)

A Historical Overview of CAD/CAM[edit]

A CAD/CAM system combines software and hardware and, as a system, is useful in designing products and controlling the manufacturing process that produces the particular product that has been designed. Essentially, CAD “is the main geometry authoring tool within the Product Lifecycle Management process and involves both software and sometimes special-purpose hardware [with] current packages [that] range from 2D vector based drafting systems to 3D solid and surface modellers” (http://en/wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer-aided_design Retrieved Dec 7, 2006).

At one time, CAD systems required special computers, but since the mid-1980s, CAD software became much more affordable and even available for an individual’s personal computer. This significantly affected the workforce in company’s drafting departments – often eliminating the need for traditional draftsmen, but increasing the demand for CAD operators. The labour intensive art and craft of the traditional draftsman was replaced by the new technological savvy of the computer draftsman, although the art of designing was still a requisite.

This technology, although not necessarily decreasing the investment of time and effort in the initial design and drafting stage of an engineering process, it does have its advantages in the overall design cycle, especially in terms of modifying a drawing. CAD enables designs to be edited, saved, printed and re-edited on a “paper-less studio” without starting over again on a new sheet of mylar every time changes, even minor ones, were made or mistakes had to be corrected (http://en/wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer-aided_design Retrieved Dec 7, 2006).

“CAD drawing tools … describe geometrics used by the CAM portion of the program to define a toolpath that will direct the motion of a machine tool to machine the exact shape that was drawn” (http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/inside/cadcam/whatis.htm Retrieved, Dec 7, 2006). But where did it all begin?

Well before CAD, large industries, especially those in the aerospace and automotive industries, sought to automate their manufacturing processes (http://www.fourmilab.ch/autofile/www/section2_83_6.html Retrieved Dec 7, 2006). Background work to future CAD developments maybe attributed to “… mathematical description work on curves” developed in the early 1940s (http://en/wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer-aided_design Retrieved Dec 7, 2006). In fact, “CAM’s history dates back to the period after World War ii when manufacturers working for the United States Air Force concluded it would be more efficient to build complex structures with the assistance of computers” (http://www.inventorconnections.com/feature_full.php?cpfeatureid=17200&id=183472 Retrieved Dec 7, 2006). Thus is was in the 1950s that “… Numerically-Controlled machines … used paper tapes with regularly spaced holes punched in them … to feed numbers into controller machines … wired to the motors positioning the work on machine tools” (http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/inside/cadcam/whatis.htm Retrieved, Dec 7, 2006). Then, work on “… polynomial curves and sculptured surfaces …” was undertaken in the 1960s and 1970s. What may have been most important was the development, and subsequent announcement at MIT in 1962, of APT or Automatically Programmed Tools – a universal NC (Numerical Control) programming language which “… allowed programmers top develop postprocessors specific to each type of NC tool … .” Thus, one may find the use of the term CAD/NC (Numerical Control) as an equivalent to CAD/CAM (Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing) in some industries (http://www.gsd.harvard.edu/inside/cadcam/whatis.htm Retrieved, Dec 7, 2006).

It was during these early years (1960s and 1970s) that new companies were created and based themselves on this emerging technology, such as Intergraph in 1969. Then, desktop CAD appeared in the early 1980s, most notably that of AutoCAD, a 2D system, developed by Autodesk, a company founded by John Walker in 1982 (http://en/wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer-aided_design Retrieved Dec 7, 2006). According to one review, “AutoCAD is undeniably the most popular CAD product in the world … and AutoCAD [is] the practical standard in desktop CAD everywhere CAD is done” (http://fourmilab.ch/autofile/www/section2_83_3.html#SECTION00833000000000000000 Retrieved Dec 7, 2006). Despite the fact that “AutoCAD … is one of the best professional design & drafting programs on the market … used by engineering and manufacturing companies around the world” (http://metals.about.com/od/cadcam/CAD_CAM_Software.htm Retrieved Dec 7, 2006), in the world of CAD/CAM, AutoCAD is simply a small part of this universe in the sense that “detail drafting represents no more than one-third of the requirements …” of the design/manufacturing process (http://www.fourmilab.ch/autofile/www/section2_83_13.html#SECTION008313000000000000000 Retrieved Dec 7, 2006).

In fact, there is no one “traditional” CAD/CAM product – the array of options is phenomenal and applications abound across all disciplines and industries, from the traditional to the not so common uses. It maybe found in the likes of fashion and textile industries and medical applications (http://www.medschool.northwestern.edu/depts/repoc/sections/research/projects/cadcam/index.html Retrieved Dec 7, 2006), piping design, laser & waterjet profiling, and others have been developed as prototyping software, real-world design and operations simulation software, 3D and solid modeling software, thermal analysis software and software for industrial engraving and sculpting – to name a few (for a more comprehensive list, see http://metals.about.com/od/cadcam/CAD_CAM_Software.htm Retrieved Dec 7, 2006).

CAD/CAM and Fashion[edit]

“When you think of computer-aided manufacturing, sexy lingerie is probably not the first thing that comes to mind.”

Racks of Clothing

Since the early 90s, fashion designers have been using CAD/CAM software to speed up the transition of 3D designs to the 2D material that needs to be cut. Most high-end clothes are still designed the old fashioned way, but store bought off the rack clothing is increasingly being developed using CAD/CAM software. It’s cheaper and quicker which are the main requirements for department store clothing. Two leading companies, Gerber and Lectra offer CAD/CAM software packages that are tailored to the fashion industry and range in price from $3,000 to $20,000 per seat. The programs focus on design, 3D prototyping, pattern making, size grading, nesting of the pattern pieces to maximize use of materials, and integration with automated textile-cutting machines.

Retrieved from http://news.cnet.com/CAD-software-is-the-new-black/2100-1012_3-6221810.html on February 24, 2012.

CAD/CAM and the Future[edit]

So what is the future for CAD/CAM? Since people can best appreciate the spatial world around them in three dimensions (3D), the drive to achieve 3D has been undertaken since the 1500s. While there have been huge advances in the realm of so-called 3D, it is generally accepted that this is, for the most part, technology which achieves “… good spatial impressions, [but] … is not stereo 3D … .” The IT sector really means that the displays are truly two-dimensional (2D) which give a “certain spatial impression to objects by projection “ and has been referred to as “3D display through 2D projection” (http://www.tomshardware.com/2004/03/04/eye_candy/index.html Retrieved, Dec 7, 2006). (http://www.tomshardware.com/2004/03/04/eye_candy/index.html Retrieved Dec 7, 2006). Therefore, despite advances in CAD/CAM with repect to “usability, speed, graphics, ‘intelligence; and automation … even the best 3D mechanical-design packages leave plenty of room for improvement. It needs to be faster, easier to use, and more useful for communicating with nonengineers” (http://www.machinedesign.com/ASP/viewsSelectedArticle.asp?strArticleld=56993&strSite=MDSite&Screeb=CURRENTISSUE Retrieved Dec 7, 2006).

Some CAD models can be viewed in “virtual reality” with “special viewing helmets or glasses, and software that formats video images to create the impression of depth” (http://www.machinedesign.com/ASP/viewBDEArticle.asp?page=1&catld=361&strArticleFileName=/BDE/cadcam/bdecad2/bdecad2_1.html Retrieved Dec 7, 2006). Other technologies are on their way and, in fact, “moves toward 3-D volumetric information extraction, real-time graphic generation and real-time collaboration have all occurred and it does not appear that that pace will slow” (http://www.advancedimagingpro.com/article/article.jsp?suteSection=1&id=580 Retrieved Dec 7, 2006). What, historically, began as a simple means to automating the design and manufacturing processes, has evolved into so many fields and stages of industrial and personal development and interest. Where will it go from here?