The basics of Autocad 2D include drawing and editing technical drawings to a professional standard, adding dimensions and annotations, scaling on a paper sheet, and outputting as a DWG to share with other CAD users, or as a PDF for printing purposes. This would be the standard workflow of most drawings. However, in addition to drafting in two dimensions, Autocad allows us to create and modify 3D models. In the 3D interface of the full version of Autocad we can add realistic texture material maps, as well as realistic lighting, which includes Sunlight modeling. The models can be viewed from various angles, then rendered as still images or as an animated fly-through movie for presentation purposes.
Many industries use Autocad, including Mechanical, Electronic, Engineering, Construction, Architectural, Electrical, Surveying, Civil Engineering and urban planning. There are also some 4D BIM (Building Information Modeling) capabilities for job scheduling and costing.
Using Autocad 2D helps us to increase our productivity through accelerating the design process. We can develop site plans and update the conceptual process from rough sketches to sharing ideas and design intent, to the final presentation for investors and town council approvals. This is achieved also through the use of customized templates and the degree of accuracy and precision that Autocad allows for. Easy collaboration with colleagues and clients is achieved through AutoDesk's 360 Cloud sharing features.
As such Autocad is the industry leader when it comes to 2D drafting and 3d CAD design. In a nutshell the program allows us to easily draft and model concepts to communicate design intent to others. Just about all commercial structures and manufacturing products are created using computer-aided design software, specifically Autocad and related products like AutoDesk's Inventor and Revit. Originally created as an MS-DOS application, Autocad was created in 1982 by AutoDesk Inc. It operates on both Windows and Macintosh platforms, and whilst the PC version is over 30 years old, the Macintosh version was only released in 2011. Autocad's Windows interface was updated in 2009 to feature the more streamlined Ribbon menu system, but the Mac version retains the older pre-2009 appearance. Hopefully this will change in future releases, allowing for more compatibility with Windows users. To remain at the competitive edge of the design process Autocad has grown in complexity to meet the demands of the market-place, but its basic principles of ease of use, precision and accuracy, and logical progression of tasks, has remained.
There is great scope for the creation of templates which include dimension and text styles relative to the industry and company, as well as including paper layouts for easy presentation and printing. These layouts would also include the company's logo and title block, as well as blocks for any repeatable item relative to that industry.
In 1993 Autocad LT (or Lite) was released. This is a cheaper version of the larger program in which all the 2D drafting features are present, but in terms of 3D the user can open and navigate around a 3D model for inspection purposes, but no modification or creation of 3D elements is possible. Autocad LT is still a very powerful program, and may be all that many users require. In terms of 3D Autocad is perfectly adequate for mechanical engineering and construction, but architects prefer AutoDesk's Revit or Civil.
Tom Gillan has been training AutoCAD 2D to corporate clients in Sydney for seven years. Visit Design Workshop Sydney for more information.