AutoCAD revolutionised the way draftspeople worked in the 80s but with technology advancing at an astonishing rate, we wanted to investigate whether this specialist design technology is dying a death or is still very much alive and kicking in 2018. Here, we explore whether AutoCAD, software used by DATS, is still the ‘go to’ software for today’s drafters and technicians…
For those of you who aren’t familiar with AutoCAD, it stands for Automatic Computer Aided Design. It’s a commercial computer-aided design and drafting software application which is often used in the construction, product design and manufacturing industries, amongst others. Here at DATS, it’s widely used on a wide range of our projects.
The beauty of AutoCAD is that it can be used to draft plans and precise scaled drawings of 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional models with the aid of a computer. It’s an extremely useful tool for anyone involved in design projects within Civil/Structural, Architectural, Manufacturing, Building Services, Mechanical, Electrical, 3D printing and much more. It’s also become a useful ol for marketing products as virtual prototypes can be used in presentations, advertising and when bidding for funding.
AutoCAD was originally the brainchild of a group of engineers who put their heads together to create a simple innovation to enable draftspeople, architects and engineers to draw up their projects. It was developed and marketed by Autodesk Inc. and was one of the first CAD programmes that could be used on personal computers and Macs. It’s commonly used in architecture, construction and manufacturing to assist in the preparation of blueprints and other engineering plans.
There’s no doubt that this software completely transformed the world of design when it was first launched, especially in terms of cost, as drafters could tweak their prototypes before producing products or designs for real. But, in an increasingly digital world, is AutoCAD still the “go to” software for users, or has it been overshadowed by newer technology?
Well, lots of similar alternative drafting/modelling programmes have emerged on the scene, including Revit, software which we use here at DATS CAD and is often the chosen software to support/comply with Building Information Modelling (BIM) – a sort of Google Docs for buildings and architecture.
There’s also SketchUP which claims to be “the easiest way to draw in 3D” and is becoming a favourite for CAD designers. Not to mention ProgeCAD – a budget version of AutoCAD.
However, AutoCAD, despite the emergence of newer technologies, is still widely considered a very relevant programme with unparalleled drafting capabilities and arguably the best 2D features on the market. It’s also lauded for its accuracy and speed. And, there’s definitely still a demand for trained computer-aided design technicians in the UK as AutoCAD skills remain highly desirable in many roles and offer a route into countless industries.
But despite the apparent popularity of AutoCAD, the developers aren’t resting on their laurels. Even with millions of users, AutoDesk is constantly updating and improving the product, having recently revamped the graphics function with better use of text, evolving to keep up with clients’ ever-changing needs.
Although it looks as though AutoCAD will be around for the foreseeable future, as with all tools and technology, it will no doubt need to evolve with newer shinier, faster, smarter versions, to keep up with the times.
If you’re in building services, construction, product design, or any other industry in which CAD services could be of use, why not drop us a line? We use a wide range of CAD software, including AutoCAD, and are able to assist on a vast array of different projects.