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How Technology Will Influence Building and Home Designs in the Near Future

Architects have a wide array of tools and AutoCAD drafting applications at their disposal whenever they are creating a new building or home design. Designing futuristic buildings and homes is not always about their functionality, but about exploring various concepts and technologies, and how these aspects can be used to develop structures.

By taking the time to explore how new technologies and advances in construction materials can be incorporated into building and home designs, it allows architects the opportunity to create the next modern breakthrough in building and home design.

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One aspect architects have to evaluate as part of their designs is the energy efficiency of the structure. Energy efficiency is a big consideration that is already being used to create buildings and homes. Some of the more common features architects might want to incorporate into their designs include:

  • Solar Panels
  • Additional Insulation
  • Radiant Barrier Roofing
  • Dual Pane Windows
  • Energy-Efficient HVAC Systems
  • Tankless Hot Water Heaters

These features are normally incorporated into the design of the structure, as they require specific placement in order to be the most efficient.

In addition, wireless technologies will continue to be a key feature in modern buildings and homes. While architects are already incorporating wireless Internet technologies into building and home designs, advances in wireless bi-directional power systems have made significant advances in the past few years. Wireless power systems make it possible to share electricity between specific devices when power is required, as well as divert power wireless to rechargeable batteries, which could essentially be used along with solar panels.

Another type of technology architects will need to consider when evaluating what materials their building or home should be made from is 3D printing. 3D printing continues to advance at a rapid pace. No longer is this technology limited to creating 3D objects using only plastic-based materials. Recent advances in metal powders, carbon fibers, and other such materials, as well as advances in printer hardware, now make it possible to use 3D printers to print metal and carbon fiber components of varying sizes.

Essentially, the buildings and homes of tomorrow could be built by printing sections of the home on large format 3D printers and assembling them at the job site. In fact, at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, where the world’s current largest 3D printer is located, one of the U.S. Department of Energy’s recent projects was to print a 3D home. The project was successful, and a 210 square foot home was printed in segments and assembled over a four week period of time.

As technologies continue to advance, architects will need to continuously explore how these advances could potentially be incorporated into their building and home designs. For assistance in CAD drawing conversion, 3D drafting and other architectural and CAD services, call Q-Cad at 800-700-3305 and speak to a representative today.

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Designing the Bridges of Tomorrow

From the Brooklyn Bridge in New York to the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, bridges are a fundamental part of transportation infrastructures, not just here in the United States, but around the world. The process to build bridges starts with understanding the geographical conditions in the location where the bridge is being built. For instance, in California, bridge designers have to take into account the potential for earthquakes, while designers in the southeast U.S. and on the east coast have to account for tropical storms and hurricanes.

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In addition to accounting for various weather conditions, the location where the bridge is being built helps determine what type of structure needs to be created. Is the bridge being built over water, to bridge a gap over a canyon or ravine, or as an elevated structure over other roadways? In some cases, the bridge being designed may be incorporated into a combination bridge-tunnel system, much like the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel.

Once the location and geographical conditions are understood, the bridge can start to be designed and developed using CAD architectural drafting applications. These applications make it easier to transform 2D representations into 3D digitally working models. During the design process, the designer has to decide what type of bridge will work best and what features to incorporate.

There are several different bridge types a designer could choose to work with, including cantilever, truss, arch, cable-stayed, beam, and suspension bridges. Each of these different bridge types can be built using a wide range of construction materials, including concrete, steel, polycarbonate fiber, and more. Designers should not overlook modern features, which have been added to many bridges, and should consider incorporating these into their designs, like solar panels, green spaces, and pedestrian and bike paths.

Adding solar panels to bridge designs makes it possible to take advantage of what would otherwise be unused and open space. Solar panels help harness the sun’s energy and convert it into electricity. Currently there are two solar panel bridges in the world – The Blackfriars Bridge in London, UK, and the Kuripla Bridge in Brisbane, Australia. The Blackfriars Bridge produces about 900,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) annually and helps reduce carbon emissions with an annual savings of over 500 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Other modern designs feature green spaces with small gardens where food can be grown, as well as small parks for pedestrians and bikers to rest at while crossing longer bridges. In addition, modern bridges must allow for multiple traffic lanes and railways if they are being built in areas with large populations or heavy traffic.

With so many different design features and options to choose from, it is not uncommon to create multiple versions of the same bridge, while working with 3D digital representations of bridge designs created with AutoCAD drafting applications. If you need assistance with architectural and drafting designs, whether you are designing a bridge, building, or some other structure, please feel free to contact Q-Cad today at 800-700-3305 to learn more about our CAD drafting services.

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What Types of Jobs Will Be Demanded in a 3D Printed World?

As the 3D printing industry explodes over the next five years, there will be several types of jobs that will experience growth, as well as new jobs created from this relatively new industry. According to a study conducted by Freelancer, this industry will grow annually an estimated fourteen percent over the next two years, and, by 2020, will be generating over $5 billion dollars.

businessman with paper

3D Drafting Designers: An essential part of 3D printing is being able to convert 2D drawings and ideas into 3D models. 3D Drafting designer jobs will experience an increase, as more and more industries discover new ways to apply 3D printer technologies to create products.

3D CAD Designers: Computer aided design jobs will experience growth for those people who have skills working with 3D printers and 3D modeling software applications. In addition, as research into new materials continues, CAD designers will have opportunities to experiment with 3D printing processes and use of these new materials.

Architects: The architectural industry will have new opportunities for those familiar with 3D design processes. However, architects are still going to need to know how to create 2D models on paper and understand how to transform these into 3D designs that can be printed into 3D models.

Research and Development (R&D) Professionals: Companies are going to be seeking professionals who understand the technical side of 3D printing and how it can be applied to create consumer goods. From prototyping to printing consumer goods, people with these skills, seeking R&D positions, will have more opportunities.

3D PaaS (Printing-as-a-Service) Businesses: One new business opportunity that will be created by 3D printing is 3D PaaS. This service is not much different from today’s third party printing service operations, except the printer, in this case, will be performing 3D print jobs for individuals and businesses. The key difference, compared to using an online printing service, is that local retailers are going to be able to offer a wider range of customizations and personalized customer service.

Legal Positions: As more companies develop 3D propriety tech and products, it will result in a higher demand for legal professionals and lawyers skilled in patents, trademarks, copyrights, and intellectual property rights.

Educators: Schools will start to offer courses and training in 3D printer technologies and related fields. Educators will need to be able to instruct students in both the business and technical aspects of this technology. Those with the desired skill sets will find they have numerous job opportunities, not only at graduate and post-graduate levels, but also K-12.

Scientific and Medical Modelers: Science and medicine are two industries that will need people familiar with science, medicine, and 3D printing technologies. There are numerous types of applications where 3D technologies could potentially be used, like printing prosthetics, medical supplies, and even medicines.

The 3D printer industry is going to create job growth in several fields over the next five years for those people with the right skills. If your business requires professionals with the most advanced training in the drafting and design industry, do not hesitate to contact Q-CAD today, by phoning 800-700-3305, and speak to a representative about our wide range of services.

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In the Future: How Will You Deliver Products and Services to Consumers?

In the not too distant future, people are going to have a variety of different options from which to choose when they want to purchase products and services. Imagine, as a consumer, you are driving home from work when your five-year old vehicle breaks down. You have your car towed to a repair shop, only to be told the part you need is no longer being manufactured and has to be special ordered, resulting in it taking several weeks, or even a month to get your car fixed.

Now flash forward four or five years into the future. Instead of having to wait for the part to be special ordered, your mechanic can go online, find the part you need, and simply print it to their 3D printer. You watch in amazement as the part is printed, layer by layer, reproducing a brand-new replica of the broken part. Once the part is printed, the mechanic can install it in your vehicle and get you back on the road in less than a day.

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This is just one example of how businesses are going to be able to deliver products and services to consumers over the course of the next decade, as advances in technology will reshape numerous industries. In addition, as the home 3D printer market segment grows and expands, with many models hitting store shelves later this year with price tags below $300, the possibilities are endless.

For instance, as a parent, you may want to try your hand at creating toys for your children. You submit your design concept to an AutoCAD drafting service to have it converted into a 3D model. The service company electronically sends you the completed file, which you open, and then you send the digital drawing to your 3D printer to create an actual working toy of your own design for your child.

For service companies, like appliance repair services, the service technician will no longer have to worry about carrying parts in their repair van. Instead, the service technician will arrive at your door, look at the broken appliance, and determine what part is required to fix it. Now, the technician will access the schematics for the parts online, and send them to a 3D printer installed in their repair van. They will walk out to the van, retrieve the part, and fix your broken appliance.

Granted, these are great ideas that will take some time to get used to, and there will still be some services and products that are going to require waiting, like we do now. However, as the number and types of materials able to be used with 3D printers continues to increase, eventually more and more product and service companies will be able to streamline processes and change how they do business.

To get your ideas converted from paper into 2D and 3D digital models, contact Q-CAD at 800-700-3305. We offer a wide range of affordable conversion services for individuals and businesses of all sizes.

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Why Prototyping Is an Important Process

Whether you create products using 3D drafting software, by hand, or some other combination of methods, one important aspect in the development and creation of new products is prototyping. Prototyping should not be overlooked, as it provides several benefits when incorporated as part of your project. The earlier you can create a prototype, the better. However, in cases where it is not possible to do this early on, it should at least be done before production starts.

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Find Design Flaws Early On

One key benefit of a prototype model is being able to identify potential design flaws and issues. Products drawn out by hand or created on computers do not always give you the best conceptualization of how the finalized product will look and work. A prototype, on the other hand, provides a working model for the product.

As a result, you might notice certain design aspects that need to be changed. There could be specific parts of the model that could be reworked, done away with, or combined to streamline production processes later. In addition, it is possible to make conceptual changes more quickly and see how they will affect the finished product.

Watch the Product Evolve through Revisions

Granted, you do have to build a new model every time you decide to modify the original design, although, as you continue to make changes, you will be able to see the fruits of your labor from the original prototype to variations as you make changes and build additional prototypes.

Another benefit of prototypes is being able to put models of the finished product into the hands of people so they can experience them more fully. Whether you need to obtain approval from upper management or are marketing the product to your customers, you often get better results when you have a prototype available to use for presentations and demonstrations.

Paper to CAD

Test Now Instead of Later

Rather than having to wait until much later in the project to start testing, you can begin this process as soon as you have a working prototype. Obtaining feedback from project sponsors, consumers, and other test groups allows you to evaluate whether further enhancements, modifications, and other changes are desired.

Correct Errors and Save Money

Discovering and correcting design errors using prototypes, before a product goes into production, is much less costly than waiting until later. To see this in action, consider the amount of money companies spend on product recalls each year because they failed to discover flaws before production was started. Now, not only does the product have to be redesigned to correct errors, but every single product sold has to also be rebuilt or fixed to resolve the issues.

Now you can see why prototyping is vital for the success of product development, whether you are creating a new one or streamlining an existing product line. For assistance with CAD drawing conversion services used in your product development projects, please feel free to contact Q-CAD today at 800-700-3305.

re There Still Career Opportunities for CAD Drafters (Part II)?

In Part I of this two part series, we reviewed what a CAD drafter is, how this career field has changed, and where to find employment opportunities. In Part II of this blog series, we will look at the educational requirements, job responsibilities, and salaries of today’s CAD designers (drafters).

What Education Do CAD Drafters (Designers) Need?

Today’s CAD designers will have to obtain, at the very minimum, an associate’s degree. Course work in this career field should ideally begin in high school, with a focus on art, science, computer technologies, math, and drafting. Upon entering college, students should continue to pursue courses they were unable to obtain in high school, as well as more courses in composition, engineering, technical drawing, manufacturing design processes, and CAD architectural drafting and dimensioning computer classes.

For those desiring a bachelor’s degree, most universities do not offer a 4-year degree in CAD design. However, there are viable degree choices to gain the educational experience required, such as in mathematics, engineering, computer architecture, and computer science. Some students opt to start an internship with an employer, after obtaining their associate’s degree and while pursuing a bachelor’s degree, as this helps enable them to choose the most appropriate degree and courses.


Job Responsibilities of CAD Designers

The primary job responsibility of designers will be the middle men and women who will have to bridge the gap between top level engineers and architects, and production/construction processes. In addition, CAD designers have to know how to read drawings and schematics to be able to answer questions posed to them by production/construction staff. Further, designers are going to have to become experts in their particular industry segment, as well as be proficient in basic drafting and the latest CAD computer technologies.

Salary Outlook for CAD Designers

Salaries for CAD designers are largely related to specific CAD industries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014 starting salaries for CAD designers ranged from $55,000 to just over $62,000 annually. Designers who specialized in electrical fields commanded the higher starting salaries, while careers in mechanical, civil, and architectural related fields started at the lower end. It is important to remember that these are median salary ranges and other factors, like the cost of living in a particular area, influence the starting salaries being offered by employers.

For employers, CAD designers provide the opportunity to save money, since they can be tasked with the bulk of layout, modification, and change work, and they eliminate the need to have to pay a much more experienced professional to do this work. In addition, new designers provide employers the ability to train them to fit with their specific industry segment and processes. As a result, the turn-around time on projects is faster and is still completed accurately and precisely, allowing the business to take on more clients and expand their operations.

If you are looking for experienced CAD designers to assist with projects or other CAD drafting services, contact Q-CAD at 800-700-3305 to speak to a representative today. We have over 23 years of experience in the industry.

Career Opportunities


Are There Still Career Opportunities for CAD Drafters (Part I)?

Over the past several decades, CAD drafters were a valid position to pursue within the CAD design industry. With advances in technology and computer applications, career growth in this a particular segment has declined in recent years. The current expected outlook for this type of career field is only expected to grow at a rate of 1% through 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

However, that does not necessarily mean there are not still career opportunities, so long as you have the right education and experience. In Part I of this two-part series, we will review what a CAD drafter is, how this career field has changed, and where to find employment opportunities.

Paper to CAD

What Is a CAD Drafter?

When computers started to become more widely adapted within the CAD industry, not many engineers and architects had the experience or knowledge required to perform the task of transferring designs from paper to CAD software applications. Hence, the position of CAD drafter was created. A CAD drafter was the person responsible for converting the drawings and schematics from paper and recreating them in an appropriate software application, as well as making updates whenever modifications were made to the original drawings.

For people who were interested in computers, drawing, and design, this was a great career to pursue. In recent years, though, employers have started treating this job as an entry level position, because it does not involve having to fully understand the intricacies of the design process. Starting salaries are much lower today than they were five or even ten years ago, but, if you are looking to get into the CAD design industry, this is a great starting position while you continue to pursue your education and gain experience.

CAD Drafter Employment Opportunities

The easiest way to get a positon as a CAD drafter is through an internship program while you are working on your associate’s or bachelor’s degree in CAD design. Many businesses in the CAD industry are rethinking this type of position and questioning whether it is still necessary. Their philosophy stems from the fact that their architects and engineers are already using CAD apps, so why should they pay a drafter to make changes when the original designer can do it themselves?

On the other hand, not all employers want to pay a highly experienced architect or engineer to make changes and modifications to their original designs. As a result, this leaves career opportunities in the market, most of which are made readily available through internship programs. Additionally, many employers are reclassifying the position by calling those within this career field CAD designers.

In Part II of this blog series, we will look at the educational requirements, job responsibilities, and salaries of today’s CAD designers. For more information about professional CAD drafting services or career opportunities, please feel free to contact Q-CAD at 800-700-3305 today.CAD Architectural Drafting


What Were Some of the Top Trends for 2015 in the CAD Industry?

With 2015 almost over, let’s take a moment to reflect and look back at some of the top trends that occurred within the CAD industry. AutoCAD drafting is essential in virtually every industry, and plays a role in the design, creation, and development of new products. The top trends in 2015 equally contributed to advancing these processes.

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3D Technologies

One of the biggest trends was the advancement in 3D technologies, most notably the growth in the 3D printer industry. 3D has become the “in-thing” in numerous industries, allowing organizations the ability to create models by simply printing them using a 3D printer. While hardware made leaps and bounds, with drastic decreases in costs, CAD software was lagging behind. The majority of applications available at the beginning of the year were still relying upon 2D technological frameworks.

Throughout the year, software developers were busy creating new applications incorporating both 2D and 3D drafting technologies. From computer-based apps to apps for tablets and smartphones, advances were made in the CAD software industry with many new features and options. This trend is expected to continue into 2016 and beyond. However, do not expect 2D apps to disappear, at least not in the foreseeable future.

Enhanced 2D Technologies

Even though 3D technologies greatly advanced, the CAD industry was not, and is still not, ready for a full transition to 3D. Many manufacturers still rely upon 2D CAD drawings and use them in numerous production processes. In addition, organizations are at different ends of the technology spectrum. Some are at the leading edge, adapting the latest technologies, while others are at the other end, and have yet to catch up. Until the industry can make a full transition to 3D, software developers continued to make enhancements to 2D, making it easier to use 3D apps and convert drawings from 3D back into 2D.

Customer Driven Customizations

Thanks to the enhancements in the CAD software industry, customers are starting to drive customizations in the products they demand. This trend started taking effect in 2015 in a few specific consumer market segments, but is going to continue to grow and expand into numerous industries. For instance, consumers currently are able to create their own custom designed smartphone cases, apparel, and jewelry, using CAD apps online and submitting them to the manufacturer to have them made.

Old Technologies Became New Again

Way back in the 1960s, some of the first CAD apps involved using a special pen to hand draw schematics and designs directly onto responsive computer screens. As technology advanced, CAD designers switched to using a mouse as their preferred tool for many years, until touch screens became all the rage. 2015 saw many CAD designers returning to using pen devices to draw on touch-responsive screens, like their tablets. Further, several software apps now include features to convert hand drawn images into computer-generated CAD designs.

2015 saw several changes and advancements in the CAD industry. It will be interesting to see how these advances further influence trends in the coming year. To take advantage of the latest technologies in creating your CAD designs, expert and professional help is available from Q-Cad. Call us at 800-700-3305 now to learn more.

Enhanced 2D Technologies

How Fast Are Technological Advancements Being Made?

Technology seems to be moving along and advancing faster than it has in the past. However, in recent years, the growth has actually slowed and is no longer advancing at the average two-year time frame as Gordon Moore observed and predicted back in 1965 with the creation of Moore’s Law. This observation was that technology, such as semiconductors, transistors, and integrated circuits, would double in capacity every two years.

Consider that some of the first personal computers weighed a ton and were relatively large. Over time, the size and weight decreased, while the computing power increased. For instance, if you compared a modern smartphone to a personal computer from the early 1980s, the computer would weigh roughly 100 times the smartphone, and the smartphone would have 100 times more processing power than the computer.

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Initially, the law was accurate, and, at one point, technology was doubling every 18 months in certain industries. Around 2012, things started to slow down. One of the reasons for the decrease is that technologies today are being underutilized if they were to follow an 18 month or two year time frame. As a result, technology-based industries now have more time to fully tap into the power of current technologies before worrying about the next, latest, greatest advancement.

Another reason for the slowdown is overcoming new technological challenges. One challenge is how to increase the power without increasing the size of current semiconductors, transistors, processors, and so on. People have grown accustomed to having smaller devices and increased computing power. However, device sizes may have to increase slightly in order to accommodate faster processing speeds and more power.

Another challenge is addressing the amount of heat energy created by more powerful components. This involves developing and creating new methods for cooling devices to prevent them from overheating. As a result, device size and weight could potentially increase to accommodate new cooling technologies in the future.

Further, at what point does the miniaturization of components create barriers that prevents further enhancements and size reductions? Anyone involved in the development of new technologies has to determine when the minute size of components will have reached its capacity. At that point, technology will have to return to making bigger components in order to make further advancements, which will also mean bigger devices.

As a result of these various reasons, the current time frame for doubling and advancing technologies has grown to between two and a half to three years. Considering Gordon Moore’s observations were made 50 years ago, and his law has held pretty accurately within the industry, it remains quite a remarkable idea.

One thing is for certain: No matter where technological advancements are headed, people are still going to rely upon CAD drawing conversion to convert their ideas into actual 2D and 3D models. For more information about professional CAD and architectural drafting services, contact Q-Cad today at 800-700-3305.

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Architecture News Update

Here at Q-CAD architectural drafting services, we like to stay apprised of interesting news in the world of architecture. Here are some recent stories that piqued our interest, and which show some exciting developments in the architecture around the world.

Tijuana Architecture School Hopes to Reshape City

When most Americans hear “Tijuana,” they don’t usually think about institutions of higher learning. The city is famous both north and south of the border for being a hot spot of tourism and general debauchery, its name a shorthand for shady activities and less than reputable people. Of course, there is much more to the city than its questionable reputation would imply. In fact, one three-story building in the heart of the city’s red light district is providing something entirely different: an education in architecture.

The school, known as the Escuela Libre de Arquitectura, accepted its first class in the fall of 2014. According to architect and founder Jorge Gracia, the intention behind the school is to train locals in the ways of building and design, with the hope that they will then stay in the area and apply their knowledge to the eventual transformation of the city.

As Tijuana has become an important stop on North American trade routes, the city’s culture has flourished, leading it to become a hotbed of Mexican artistic innovation. According to Gracia, however, the city’s cultural development has been sadly lacking when it comes to architecture. As the city has grown, new expansions have been haphazardly added to the city’s outskirts, contrasting with what Gracia calls the local context. By teaching locals the hands-on skills they will need to become builders of their own, the school aims to empower Tijuana residents with the ability to reshape their own city while still preserving its unique flavor and identity.[i]

2015 United States Artists Fellowship Winners Include 2 Architects

Since 2006, the United States Artists (USA) organization has awarded $50,000 fellowships to artists and designers across multiple disciplines, including visual arts, theater, dance, and design. Among this year’s list of 37 new fellows are two architects, Jonathan Muecke and Chat Travieso.

Muecke is a graduate of Iowa State University who gained attention for his work with the firm Design Miami. He specializes in contemporary design, with an emphasis on reimagining furniture. The other architect to receive the award, Travieso, focusses on the design of public spaces.[ii]

United States Artists was founded in 2006 through funding by the Ford, Rockefeller, Rasmuson and Prudential Foundations, with a mission to alleviate the lack of unrestricted funding available to artists in the U.S. According to the selection criteria, fellows are chosen through a rigorous screening process that identifies artists and designers who display originality in their work and represent the diverse spectrum of artistic practices in the United States.[iii]

Want more information about Q-CAD, architectural drafting, and computer aided design? Contact us today at 800-700-3305 to speak with a representative.



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