Innovative Ways that CAD Software Is Being Used (Part 2 of 2)

CAD software has become widely used for 3D drafting in many industries, including architecture, medical engineering, aerospace, corporate research and development, and many more. CAD programs are now a key resource for many large companies and corporations, allowing them to create more intricate and accurate designs, and to finish them faster and more efficiently. But big business isn’t the only place where CAD has become an important catalyst for innovation. Because CAD allows people of limited training and resources to create detailed, highly accurate designs, individuals have also used computer aided design programs to create innovative creations that are having positive impact on people’s lives.

In this entry, a continuation of part 1, we’ll highlight some of these individuals who have used CAD to create amazing inventions with the help of CAD programs.

  • Colorado teenager creates a prosthetic arm for less than $1000 – Easton LaChappelle, like many kids of his generation, liked to build things out of Lego. Unlike most of his peers, however, Easton took his interest in amateur design well beyond just building castles and spaceships out of colorful bricks. After trying out some designs for a homemade prosthetic arm build from Lego blocks, servo motors, and fishing line, Easton built upon his discoveries and turned to 3D printing to create a more fleshed-out version. The result: a fully functioning, realistic-looking robotic prosthetic arm, which can be built from materials that cost less than $1000 total. As a result of his creativity, LaChappelle went from a then-17 year old teaching himself how to use CAD to make 3D printable designs, to a young adult with a NASA internship who was invited to the White House to demonstrate his invention for the President. Seeing as the robotic prosthetics on the market can cost as much as $80,000, it’s likely that Easton’s low-cost design will soon be changing patients’ lives by providing them with affordable, functional replacement limbs.
  • Cancer survivor without a college degree designs a particle accelerator – At the age of 52, Matt Riffenburg is currently pursuing his first college degree. He previously worked for a Pennsylvania biotech company and, while working there, used CAD to learn the engineering and manufacturing skills to come up with in-house maintenance and development solutions to keep the company running. While at the company, he built centrifuges, heating and cooling units, conveyors, and fluid bed dryers. Riffenburg only began studying design and engineering in his 30s, purchasing CAD software to teach himself how to design and invent machinery. Despite suffering both a layoff and a brain tumor, Riffenburg persevered and continued with his CAD studies even while recovering from brain surgery, and eventually ended up working at the Cornell Laboratory for Accelerator-based Sciences and Education, designing advanced machinery for Ivy League scientists and researchers.

With the help of CAD software, these individuals were able to develop innovative, practical devices that will have a positive impact on the world around them. The way that CAD allows users to create and innovate with ease is one of the reasons Q-CAD has used computer aided design since the beginning. To learn more about how we use CAD for the benefit of our clients, call us today at 800-700-3305.

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