CAD (Computer Aided Design)
CAD (Computer Aided Design) is a very powerful tool allowing a design idea to be drawn up with mathematically perfect geometry. This means that parts drawn in CAD can be easily edited and refined within the software to achieve the precise form a designer requires. This great benefit can also be seen as a drawback as it becomes easy to create incredibly complex shapes in CAD that would be impractical to produce in the real world due to machining limitations and costs. Through technologies such as 3D printing these complex shapes can be produced however the materials, for the most part, cannot provide the mechanical properties needed for many applications. The ‘perfect’ nature of CAD can also give an unrealistic view on how parts will behave once produced, as CAD does not account for material expansion and machining inaccuracies, the understanding of these issues and the workarounds fall to the designer.