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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 CAD?

Computer-aided design (CAD) is the use of computer programs to create, modify, analyze and document two- or three-dimensional (2D or 3D) graphical representations of physical objects as an alternative to manual drafts and product prototypes. CAD is widely used in computer animation and media special effects as well as in product and industrial design.

What is NX CAD?

NX CAD is a mechanical product design solution developed by Siemens that helps companies boost product design efficiency and quality. It enables the most comprehensive digital twin of the product by seamlessly connecting teams, processes, systems and data involved in the product design.

It is the first major mechanical computer-aided design (MCAD) system to be certified as an open system that provides easy integration and has a proven track record of helping customers advance their data without disruption. It is the only CAD solution to support token licensing, a highly flexible approach to delivering add-on solutions. It is now available on the cloud, as-a-service (NX X), to help you accelerate your digital transformation easier, faster and at scale.

What is Solid Edge CAD?

Solid Edge CAD is a Siemens technology that engineers, product developers and designers use to create functional, virtual prototypes of three-dimensional objects. With Solid Edge, 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. 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 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).

Modeling in CAD

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.

Related products: NX CAD

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Understand the benefits

CAD is used throughout the engineering process, from conceptual product design and layout through assembly analysis to manufacturing method definition.


From assembly design to freeform design, the powerful and versatile 2D & 3D CAD modeling tools in CAD software enables you to freely use any approach that fits your design challenge. Create detailed 3D models and 2D drawings.


Enables design engineers to interactively test design variants with minimal physical prototypes. Ensuring design accuracy upfront, organizations can minimize errors and rework during manufacturing, assembly, and testing stages.

Cost saving

CAD allows designers to create detailed virtual models of products before physical prototypes are built. Organizations can identify and rectify design flaws early in development reducing the need for costly physical prototypes.

Faster time-to-market

CAD facilitates faster product development by streamlining the design process. With CAD, designers can iterate designs quickly, test design variations, and make revisions efficiently. This translates to shorter time-to-market.


CAD facilitates collaboration among multidisciplinary teams by providing a centralized platform for sharing design data, documents, and feedback, improving communication and coordination among designers and stakeholders.

CAD software functionalities

It 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.

CAD drafting & documentation

2D design, layout, drafting, annotation and documentation are the core functionalities of every CAD software. To automatically create drawing views from 3D part and assembly models and help align and scale drawing views further enhances the use of software in the design process. use CAD software to create detailed 3D models and 2D drawings.

CAD design validation

CAD Software helps to quickly synthesize information, check designs for compliance with requirements, and make informed decisions.

Design interoperability

When it comes to integrated electronics, it is critical that designers of both systems collaborate throughout the computer-aided design development process. CAD software connects the stakeholders to ensure alignment between each system prior to design completion.

CAD can also be referred to as CADD, or computer-aided design and drafting. CAD/CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) refers to the use of CAD with software that feeds data to manufacturing processes based on

CAD is used throughout the engineering process, from conceptual product design and layout through assembly analysis to manufacturing method definition. CAD Enable design engineers to interactively test design variants with minimal physical prototypes to achieve:

  • Lower product development costs
  • Greater speed
  • Increased productivity
  • Quality assurance
  • Accelerated time-to-market

Start with a free trial

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NX X software trial

Developed for product designers of all experience levels, NX X CAD delivers unparalleled power. Leverage all the powerful features and functionality of NX with the advantages of the cloud, even in the absence of an internet connection.

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NX CAD CAM student edition

CAD student software takes full-featured 3D CAD technology and makes it free for engineering students. The software is the same as what professionals use but with some key differences.

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Deploy your way

Deployment options tailored for teams of all sizes include on-premise, a virtualized environment or a streamed service from a public cloud provider.

Access training

Get started with Siemens Xcelerator Academy. Master NX CAD to become a leading expert in mechanical product design.

Join the community

Connect with fellow designers, learn new techniques, share ideas and continuously enhance your expertise in mechanical product design.