Why AutoCAD Still Has A Place in Engineering

With 3D CAD Giving Users So Many Benefits, Why Is AutoCAD Still As Strong As Ever?

It’s been around since ’82 and I still get calls today wanting to buy it no matter what other CAD packages out there can do. Even though Autodesk’s AutoCAD is 2D with limited 3D functionality (compared to 3D Solid Modellers) there are some good reasons why people still use it, so let’s briefly explore those.

AutoCAD MechcanicalHorizontal Product: It’s a horizontal product, meaning, it doesn’t matter what industry sector you are in, you can use one CAD package; AutoCAD to get the job done. So while you’re limited in buying a Mechanical CAD package, by using AutoCAD, you’re are not hindered by industry specific CAD systems.

Powerful Drafting: To this day, it is unsurpassed in it’s drafting capabilities and is able to detail a design faster and better.

Coordinates, Accuracy & Tolerances: You can design anything great or small. There is no limit to the size of the design in AutoCAD and the accuracy and tolerances are far higher than most 3D CAD modellers.

Speed: You talk to an experience AutoCAD user and he can crank out drawings fast. Sure, complex models are harder, you can’t validate moving parts, rework is painful and it doesn’t automatically produce a BoM like Inventor does, but, if these issues are not a factor in the design process, AutoCAD can get it done quicker than 3D Solid CAD Modellers. AutoCAD can snap objects, create blocks and has parametrics too. When all a user needs to do is 2D layouts, the benefits of 3D don’t stack up.

API/Excel/Database Integration: Out of the box, you can’t do the things mentioned in the Speed section like inventor and other 3D CAD systems, but you can customise it to do so. I’ve dealt with many companies who use AutoCAD and it can have associativity with the BoM and automatically update designs when changes are made. Just look at the AutoCAD Family of products, and they do just that.

AutoCAD Product Family: If you know how to use AutoCAD, you are half way there in knowing how to use these additional industry specific AutoCAD products:

  • AutoCAD Mechanical
  • AutoCAD Electrical
  • AutoCAD Architectural
  • AutoCAD Civil 3D
  • AutoCAD Plant 3D
  • AutoCAD P&ID
  • AutoCAD Raster Design
  • AutoCAD Map 3D
  • AutoCAD MEP
  • AutoCAD Structural Detailing
  • AutoCAD Utility Design
  • AutoCAD 360

The Cloud: AutoCAD automatically synchronises your data to the cloud so you can view 2D & 3D files, edit files in the cloud and collaborate in real time. There is also a purely cloud based AutoCAD product available by Web Brower, iPhone or Android.

In Conclusion, The Hybrid Environment Is An Engineers Key to Success

It doesn’t matter what 3D CAD package is out there, time and time again, I find businesses who still run AutoCAD side by side with other 3D CAD systems.

That’s why in Product Design Suite & Factory Design Suite, you get AutoCAD and Inventor. With associativity & Synching between these two products, you not only have the flexibility to use the right tool for the right job, you can capture designs, reduce your rework by having associativity & synchronisation between the two products. Also, both are able to natively produce files in DWG and not by exporting to DWG either like you have to in other CAD packages, so this also saves time.

More on Associativity between the two is found here and more on Synchronisation can be found here

I’ve only scratched the surface. If you want to learn more on how you can not only transform your engineering department but the way you do business using Autodesk technology, feel free to email me at djovica@redstack.com.au, call me +61 3 9210 4428 or Skype damien.jovica