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Computer-aided design software

Computer-aided design (CAD) or 3D CAD software is used to create, analyze or change two or three-dimensional designs and models in a digital environment rather than using manual drafting methods. Architects, engineers, commercial and industrial designers, and artists often use CAD.

What is computer aided design?

Used by engineers and designers. CAD software is used to create two-dimensional (2-D) drawings or three-dimensional models, enabling the designer to optimize designs and streamline their workflow.

Related products: NX CAD

3D CAD software capabilities

3D CAD (3-dimensional computer-aided design) is a technology that engineers, product developers and designers use to create functional, virtual prototypes of three-dimensional objects. With 3D CAD, designers can dynamically create and modify every detail of a product, part or assembly. 3D CAD software facilitates and automates other aspects of product engineering, such as simulation testing, drawing and drafting, manufacturing, data management, computer-generated animation, and more.

CAD (computer-aided design) software is used to create, analyze and/or change two- or three-dimensional designs and models in a digital environment rather than using manual drafting methods. Architects, engineers, commercial and industrial designers, and artists often use CAD software to make multi-dimensional designs and models.

3D CAD software is widely used because of its many advantages over manual drawing. CAD software is faster, produces precise designs, integrates easily with digital workflows and enables users to amass a searchable and widely accessible library of designs and design knowledge.

3D CAD software models

These three-dimensional models can be used in simulation studies to predict how the object will respond to stress and environmental factors, they can be rendered to create a photo-realistic images for use in sales and marketing materials and/or detailed drawings can be sent to manufacturing for production (or, in the case of additive manufacturing, the CAD file can be sent directly to a 3D printer).

Traditionally, there are two main approaches to creating and modifying geometry in 3D CAD: history-based (also known as ordered or feature-based) modeling or direct modeling. In history-based modeling, the structure and order of features control how models react to changes or edits. This creates predictable results from edits on underlying feature sketches using precise dimension changes. Direct modeling doesn’t maintain a history of features or record how a model is built. There are no sketches driving features that make up the part. Editing is done by simply selecting what you want to change and changing it.

Next-generation 3D CAD technologies

In addition to the above two approaches, recent developments in research have led to a unique “synchronous” approach, leveraging the strengths of both history-based and direct modeling in a single environment. Synchronous technology allows designers to freely make changes to design intent using the 3D model faces themselves, allowing for intuitive changes to designs. This design intent can be changed using 3D dimensions and face relationships and constraints.

Recent advances in 3D CAD include generative design, additive manufacturing and enhanced mixed modeling capabilities together with Convergent Modeling technology inside. Siemens' flagship CAD software, NX, enables engineers to seamlessly work in a significantly more flexible and productive environment when designs comprise of both mesh and precise geometry. The ability to easily create accurate topology from mesh/facet bodies allows for more value to be added during the design process that can be reused in downstream processes such as manufacturing or analysis.

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What is Synchronous technology?

Synchronous technology is a feature commonly found in high-level engineering Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software. It's a modeling approach that allows designers and engineers to manipulate and edit 3D geometry more intuitively and efficiently.

Related products: NX CAD

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