Tag Archives: CAD software

How the Fashion Industry Came to Rely on CAD

Most people associate CAD drafting with engineering, architecture, and manufacturing, not high fashion. But, like many other modern industries, modern clothing companies and fashion brands now rely on computer aided design to help them design, model, and produce everything, from off-the-rack jeans and jackets to high-end lingerie.

21st Century Fashion

While the old fashioned image of the designer slaving away at a sewing machine and sticking pins into a mannequin isn’t a completely outdated one, the truth of the 21st century fashion industry is that the majority of clothing design is done using computers and virtual dummies. As 3D modeling technology has advanced and allowed for the creation of more accurate and more detailed models of the human body, clothing companies have come to rely on it more than ever to quickly create and produce their multiple yearly clothing lines.

According to Holly Beum, director of software product management at Gerber Technology, many clothing companies are expected to produce six to eight “seasons” worth of designs in order to stay current with fickle fashion trends. In order to take that many garments from their initial design stages, all the way through production in time to meet demand, clothing companies need to lean heavily on the efficiency of computer aided modeling (CAM) software. Companies who are known to make heavy use of CAM include Gap, Levi’s, Sears, Calvin Klein, Christian Dior, Gucci, and Eddie Bauer, along with many others.

More Accurate Models

One of the ways that CAM allows the fashion industry to create their products more efficiently is that it lets them send accurate, easily readable plans and prototypes anywhere in the world for production. Fashion industry CAD programs can be used not only to create and model patterns, but to produce highly detailed 3D models of those designs made for different sizes and body types, all with exact measurements that can easily be transferred digitally to production facilities anywhere in the world.

CAM also helps with the process the clothing industry refers to as “nesting,” which is the process of determining how best to lay out parts in order to minimize waste. Like with other industries that have turned to computer modeling to plan production of their materials more efficiently and cost-effectively, fashion industry CAM makes the production of clothing a smoother, more highly planned process. By figuring out the best way to go about manufacturing each item virtually, instead of using real-world supplies and manufacturing time, designers and companies are using CAM to save money and make their products at lower costs.

Leveling the Playing Field

CAM isn’t just used by big brands and retail chains, either. Amateur designers and clothing artisans are also using fashion design software to make their own lines of clothing, and selling them through online outlets like Etsy. Some experts also predict that consumer-grade fashion CAM will soon become commonly used in online spaces like the virtual world simulator Second Life, allowing users to design and create custom fashion designs for their online avatars.

Interested in learning more about the exciting ways that CAD/CAM is being used? Contact Q-CAD today at 800-700-3305.


Consumer Grade Laser Cutters Making New Waves in Computer Aided Design

The rising popularity of 3D printing has increased the popularity of CAD drafting at the consumer level, inspiring craftspeople to start their own small businesses and one-person workshops. But 3D printers are not the only advanced design tools that are increasing the capabilities of individual artisans. Though less well known, laser cutters open up new design possibilities to their users, and one company has plans to start bringing these tools to market as a consumer item.

New Levels of Availability

Laser cutters have been used in the manufacturing industry for years, allowing designers to make precision cuts and etchings in almost any material, ranging from wood, to steel, to leather, and everything in between. Laser carving can be used to create much more intricate, complicated designs than can be created by hand, at a speed much faster than other kinds of manufacturing equipment. For most of their history, laser cutters have been mostly confined to the domain of industrial and professional grade operations, available only to companies with big money to spend on pricey equipment. Though as often happens in the sphere of personal computer technology, what was once a sealed off space will soon become available to regular consumers.

GlowForge, a Seattle startup, recently announced the successful creation and testing of what they call a “3D laser printer:” a consumer grade machine uses precision laser cutting to manufacture items that can be designed on a home computer. The company’s co-founder and chief executive, Dan Shapiro, has announced that GlowForge plans to sell its 3D laser printer at a market price of around $2,000, a much lower price point than what laser cutters are traditionally sold for. By making the technology available to a new market of home designers and small shop artisans, Shapiro hopes that GlowForge’s revolutionary new product will open up new creative possibilities for the average consumer or small businessperson.

“Your creativity [will no longer be] limited by tools,” Shapiro told the New York Times. “Drop [your material] in [the 3D laser printer], hit a button, and have something wonderful come out. You can hit the button once, and you can have something that’s amazing and personal and unique to you. You can hit the button ten times, and suddenly you’ve got presents for all your friends. You can hit the button a hundred times, and now you have a small business.”

New Uses for Computer Aided Design

Once GlowForge’s 3D laser printer hits the market, the average computer user will have a whole new world of design possibilities opened up to them. Because the 3D laser printer will allow individual consumers and small groups of likeminded creative people to manufacture their products with levels of precision that were never available to them before, GlowForge will also be broadening the spaces in which CAD software and other digital design technologies are used.

Designers and artisans that are too impatient to wait for GlowForge’s 3D laser printer to go on sale, however, may not have to wait for that to happen. Laser carvers are also popular tools in what have become known as “makerspaces,” open facilities that provide DIY designers and creators access to professional grade manufacturing tools. At Cambridge, Mass.’s makerspace DangerAwesome, chief executive Nadeem Mazen reports that his 3 laser cutters see 20 to 30 times more use than the facility’s two 3D printers, which are harder to use, have more restrictions on what material can be used in them, and take longer to print.

For more updates on the state of CAD, contact Q-CAD at 800-700-3305 today.


Hand Gestures: The Future of CAD?

As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, CAD drafting has revolutionized the way designers and industries plan and manufacture their products. By taking the labor and time intensive design process and making it completely digital, CAD software has streamlined the development process for architects, engineers, product designers, and amateur creators alike. But the latest revolution in computer aided design may be a radical change in how designers create and interact with the digital designs themselves.

Late last year, entrepreneur Elon Musk announced that he had created a process that allowed him to interact with an 3D design of a rocket part using only body motions and gestures. Musk also announced that he planned to further develop the technology, using manual motion control to make the CAD design process faster and more intuitive.

From Fiction to Reality

When he announced his new hand gesture-controlled CAD program, Musk cited the fictional designer/superhero Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, as his inspiration. Anyone who has seen the movies starring Robert Downey, Jr. as Stark has seen the fictional technology that inspired Musk’s latest developments, including a digital computer interface that allows Stark to manipulate the designs for his super-powered armor with just his hands. Similar fictional future-tech has appeared in sci-fi movies such as Minority Report. If Musk is successful in his efforts, that kind of motion-controlled design interface will go from becoming speculative fiction to reality.

Other Developments

Musk isn’t the only one working to make hand gestures the de facto way that 3D designs are created and altered. Researchers at Purdue University are busy at work creating a similar program, called Shape-It-Up, which will allow CAD users to create designs with their hands. The head of the project, Professor Karthik Ramani, says that his goal is to make the design process easier to learn and simpler to use, creating an entry level tool for those new to computer aided design and 3D printing. Describing the current CAD process in an interview with Science World as a “non-intuitive and cumbersome process” that requires extensive training, Ramani believes that his team’s hand-motion-controlled program will open up the field of design and manufacturing by removing the barrier between professional and amateur. “[Shake-It-Up] allows people to express their ideas rapidly and quickly using hand motions alone,” says Ramani. “We’re democratizing the design process. You don’t have to be an engineer to use this.”

Like Professor Ramani, Musk speaks of motion-controlled design technology as something that will simplify the design and manufacturing process. “If you can just go in there and do what you need to do . . . as opposed to figuring out how to make a computer make it work,” Musk said in a video that introduced his new technology, “you can achieve a lot more in a lot shorter period of time.” If hand gesture controls really are the future of CAD technology as Musk and Ramani predict, then the next revolution in computer aided design will be one that greatly alters the design process and makes it faster, more adaptable, and easier to learn than ever before.

For more information on developments on CAD and digital design, speak with a member of Q-CAD’s computer design team at 800-700-3305.

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Computer Aided Design and Its Effect on Design Education

Just like computer aided design (CAD) has transformed the profession of professional design, it has also completely changed the way that design skills are taught. Students entering engineering, architecture, and design schools will find themselves in a world that is much different than the one that existed even a generation ago, thanks to the widespread acceptance of CAD drafting as the standard method for creating plans and designs.

How has CAD changed design education? There have been many ways, but three of the most important are:

  • CAD software caused some of the most dramatic changes in the design process – Designing and planning buildings, complex tools, and other structures has been a key part of human life since the beginning of civilization. While the process of creating designs was certainly refined greatly over the millennia since humanity first started building farms in the ancient Fertile Crescent, the basics stayed the same for most of that time. Design was a hands-on process, requiring designers to hand draw plans and confirm measurements, symmetry, proportions, and other important factors with manual tools or by eye. The introduction of the computer to the design process changed all of that. Within a few decades of the development of CAD software, designs could be created, tested, and refined completely digitally, without pen ever being set to paper or the need for completing manual calculations.
  • CAD software reduced or eliminated many of the tedious aspects of design education – Because computer aided design software allows complex, high level designs to be created with such efficiency, the need for design education to focus on the more tedious aspects of design education has been greatly reduced. Drafting and design lessons traditionally include hours of lessons on mundane tasks like drawing and sketching basics, the physics of design, and other tedious skills that sapped the interest of many students more interested in reaching the design stage. While those fundamentals are still important, education courses no longer need to spend so much time on them, and they can more quickly move on to lessons in more advanced and interesting design skills. With the aid of CAD software, students can more quickly advance from the lowest apprentice and tutee levels, to designers in training, making the education process that much more efficient.
  • CAD software allows students to gain more practical experience in their training – The use of CAD software has made the design process so efficient that the pace set by computer aided design has become the expected turnaround time for the industries that use it. By automating what was once a tedious manual process, computer design software allows students to complete more projects during their training period, giving them more practical design experience than could be achieved under older models of design education. Students who train with CAD learn to design at the pace of the modern industries that will later employ them and, at the end of their training, will have more experience and examples of their work in their portfolios for the beginning of their job search.

Q-Cad Drafting Services is one of the many companies that has embraced the use of CAD and which uses it to set a higher standard of efficiency and design. Want to learn more about the effects that CAD has had on design training and the way our designers work? Give us a call today at 800-700-3305 to speak with one of our designers.

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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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Innovative Ways That CAD Software Is Being Used (part 1 of 2)

Computer aided design (CAD) software is one of the best tools available for designing accurate 3D models of buildings, cars, medical technology, and many other products. CAD drafting is used by small independent firms, large international corporations, and individual consumers the world over, and allows all of them to create innovative new products and designs quickly, cheaply, and efficiently.

So many different people and organizations are using CAD software in so many innovative ways that it will be the subject of two blog posts. While the second post will focus on how individual users are creating new and exciting products to better their lives, this first post will focus on the major industries that have embraced CAD software and used to find unique ways to develop new products.

  1. Cloud-Based CAD Software – The cloud is the latest innovation changing how businesses and other organizations organize and manage their IT, and has allowed them to achieve new levels of efficiency and productivity than ever before. CAD software hasn’t been left behind in this technological sea change; many companies have begun using cloud-based computer aided designing software that allows them to even better harness the power of computer-assisted planning and development. Through the cloud, employees and contractors can use the software from anywhere. This development has helped CAD software spread into even more widespread usage across a variety of industries.
  2. Developing New Automotive Technology – One of the industries that have embraced CAD software is the automotive industry, which uses the technology to innovate while also becoming more flexible and environmentally friendly. One of the great success stories of CAD in the car industry is the company Riversimple, which used CAD software to develop a new model of hydrogen fuel-cell-powered car. The company’s aim was to create a vehicle that had zero environmental impact, and CAD software helped them in that mission by allowing them to design and manufacture their gas-free car’s electrical systems and wiring harnesses.
  3. A Motorcycle for the Future – Similarly to Riversimple, Harley Davidson was recently looking for a way to realize its company mission of creating an electric motorcycle that maintained the famous looks and sounds that have made their bikes famous around the world for decades. This new generation of eco-friendly Harley was able to be made thanks to CAD software, which the company used to design and manufacture prototype parts that could be tested and fine-tuned to perfection. Without the use of CAD software, Harley Davidson’s new bike would have taken many more years to manufacture.
  4. Saving Lives in the Healthcare Sector – CAD software isn’t just being used to make better products; it’s being used to save lives. Heart disease is a major international health problem, and many of the medical procedures required to treat it and its effects can be risky to patient health. Treating the disease will soon become even easier, though, thanks to Dassault Systeme’s new procedure for creating 3D simulated hearts. These CAD-created models allow doctors to create personalized models of patients’ hearts, allowing doctors to study exact replicas of each organ they are working to treat. These heart models will help doctors diagnose and treat heart conditions, and teach their patients how to manage and prevent them.

Like these innovative companies, Q-CAD uses CAD drafting software to more efficiently create its products. To learn more about what we do and how CAD software allows us to do it, contact us at 800-700-3305.

Using CAD software

10 Industries That Use Computer Aided Design Software

Computer aided design (CAD) software has become standard in many industries that produce plans, blueprints, and other designs before they begin production. Companies that use CAD drafting are able to complete designs faster and more efficiently, which is why CAD software has been embraced by many industries since its creation. Some of those industries include:

  1. Architecture – One of the industries that most commonly uses computer aided design software is architecture, which relies on CAD programs to draw up blueprints and plans for buildings. Architects often visit building sites to supervise construction, but all their work begins with drawings and plans. For this, most modern architects rely on CAD software to quickly and efficiently make their designs.
  2. Engineering – Like architects, engineers rely on CAD software to draw up their initial plans. Instead of houses and buildings, engineers use computer aided design software to create the designs for machinery. Using CAD software lets engineers create their plans with a greater level of accuracy and speed, as well as find the solutions to practical design problems on the page on the page before they need to be built.
  3. Drafting – Drafters are hired by engineers, architects, manufacturers, and other product producers to generate plans for projects. Most modern drafters use CAD software to create their designs, which can be as diverse as houses, office buildings, machinery, tools, and industrial structures.
  4. Aerospace – Planes, space shuttles, drones, and other flying vehicles require a high level of detail accuracy in their design if they’re to be aerodynamic. To make sure that they get their complicated designs just right, the aerospace industry uses computer aided design software to plan the exact details and confirm that they meet necessary specifications.
  5. Nuclear Power – Nuclear engineers have a big responsibility on their hands, and need to design their structures with a high level of attention to safety measures and physics. While this used to be done by hand, CAD software has made this process much faster and easier.
  6. Petroleum – The oil and gas industry builds lots of rigs, derricks, plants, and other mechanical structures to extract and process natural resources, and using CAD software has increased the rate at which those structures can be planned and built.
  7. Automotive – Between all the car companies in the world, there are a lot of new car models created and released every year. One of the ways automotive engineers are able to produce and test so many new types of cars annually is by using computer software to speed up the design process.
  8. Civil Engineering/Construction – The construction of roads, dams, tunnels, and other civil engineering projects requires testing a lot of variables to check the integrity and safety of structures before they’re built. As such, construction and civil engineering have adopted CAD as a way to reliably double check the soundness of their designs before they are begun.
  9. Toy Manufacturing – Not everything that CAD is used for is as big as an airplane or an office building. Toy manufacturers also use computer design programs to create models for future products.
  10. Furniture Production – Just like toy manufacturers, upholsterers and furniture manufacturers use computer aided design software to efficiently create designs for their next projects and test the soundness of their designs.

Q-Cad has been using CAD software to create accurate designs quickly and efficiently since 1992. To find out more about how we use CAD software for the benefit of our customers, you can reach us at 800-700-3305.

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Computer Aided Design Software Produces Better Results and Increases Productivity

The use of computer aided design (CAD) software has been a great benefit to industries such as engineering and architecture that regularly have to produce blueprints, schematics, and other designs. CAD drafting allows firms to create more work more quickly, producing better results for clients more efficiently than was previously possible.

Here are some of the ways that CAD software helps design firms be more efficient in their work:

  1. Complex designs become easier to complete – For architecture and design firms that regularly have to create complex designs, using CAD software allows them to make them much easier and faster than they can be by hand. When complex designs are made without the aid of computer software, the likelihood of mistakes being made is greater. In addition, the human eye and brain take longer to process and create complex schematics than software does. CAD software is ideal for handling complex designs and helping designers create them more quickly and accurately.
  2. Repeated elements can be nearly instantly replicated – When using manual design methods, repeated design elements have to be recreated fully by hand each time they appear. With CAD software, however, repeated elements and features can be copied as many times as necessary almost instantly, greatly reducing the amount of time it takes to enter them into a design. Additionally, if an element is a part of multiple designs, it can be copied from one and added to another just as quickly, saving even further drafting time and effort.
  3. Fine details can be created more easily – One of the most challenging parts of drafting is creating ornate details both quickly and accurately. Drawing fine details with just the human eye and hand is a very time consuming, stressful process that prevents many designs from being completed as quickly as they could be. Computer aided drafting software is perfect for adding smaller details to a design, as it can both create them with a greater level of accuracy and decrease the amount of time it takes to create them.
  4. Achieving symmetry becomes much simpler – Making sure that design elements that are meant to be the same size are symmetrical can be a slow process when done manually, and errors are easy to make. Drafting software, on the other hand, can easily create perfectly symmetrical elements and designs with ease, reducing the likelihood of human error and increasing the efficiency with which designs can be made.
  5. Designers will be less stressed and pressed for time – Because it allows designers to complete their work much more quickly and easily, CAD software also increases efficiency by reducing the stress that designers work under. Designers using computer aided design software are much less likely to feel the pressure of looming deadlines, can take more time to be careful and accurate in their work, and turn in their work more quickly. In addition to the technical aspects, CAD programs help on a human level, creating a less stressful, more productive work environment.

Q-CAD has been using CAD design methods since its founding in 1992. The efficiency with which computer aided drafting software allows us to complete projects for our clients is one of the reasons we have not only been able to serve them for decades, but also to expand to meet increased demand. If you want to learn more about how CAD software helps us in our work, we can be reached at 800-700-3305.

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