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Alternate use: CAD is also the ISO 4217-code for the Canadian Dollar

The acronym CAD stands for computer-aided design or alternatively "computer-assisted drafting". A related acronym, CADD, stands for "computer-assisted drafting and design". It refers to the designing and technical drawing of various engineering or architectural projects on a computer rather than a traditional drawing board.

CAD implementations have evolved dramatically over the last few decades. When the field was initially established it was typically limited to producing drawings similar to hand drafted drawings. Advances in computer technology have allowed more skillful application of computers in design activities (see, for example 3D computer graphics).

The useful features of CAD include

  • the ability to reuse design components (so-called "IP")
  • the ability to make changes in the design easily
  • the ability to validate designs against design rules
  • the ability to simulate designs without building a physical prototype
  • the ability to construct assemblies, which are collections of parts and/or other assemblies

The following CAD data products have resulted:

  • wireframes
  • graphically represented system or plant diagrams and databases
  • parametric design models
  • realtime process simulation
  • digitial numerically controlled (DNC) load files (toolpath instructions)
  • FEA (Finite Element Analysis)
  • EDA (Electronic Design Automation)

CAD programs:

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