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Introduction to CAD and How it Helps in Structural Design

Introduction to CAD and How it Helps in Structural Design

In a world filled with structures in different forms, sizes, and uses, it is fascinating to think about their construction and maintenance. Those skyscrapers standing tall far far away from the surface, even hard to explore with our little eyes, can bring limitless questions to your mind. How do they manage to build these complex structures with such high precision and quality? How is it even standing on such a tiny space with so many floors stacked one top the other? That’s when you realize how far we have improved our construction skills and applied them in designing and building such beautiful structures on the ground.

Buildings had always been there. From the Egyptian Pyramids to the Taj Mahal, man has built wonders all over the globe. But, over time, technology has changed the way we build things. Computer-Aided Design or simply CAD helped us to build complex structures with minimal effort. Knowing about CAD can help you as well to build things better, faster, and efficiently. So, let’s see what CAD is and How it helps structural design.

What is CAD?

While talking about the improvements in technology and how we approach things, CAD (Computer-Aided Design) has contributed a lot in the structural design sector. Like any other field, the advancement in technology has brought unimaginable progress to the design process which leads to extremely precise blueprints of whatever we want to build.

CAD or Computer-Aided Design is the use of computers in the process of designing, developing, and renovating a product with high precision and better quality. With the help of CAD tools such as the Autodesk AutoCAD, planning complex structures is no more a problem. They help to craft the perfect blueprint for the structure while the 3D modeling tools such as the 3DsMax completes the design process by providing a real-life-like preview of the structure. You can see what is going to be there even before you lay the cornerstone. That’s the beauty of the Computer-Aided Design process.

Why is CAD Important?

The significance of computers has increased over time. Almost every sector utilizes the power of computing to improve productivity, enhance accuracy, and produce better things that a human cannot. That’s why CAD is so much better than depending on the old-school methods of construction.

It simply brings better precision, less effort, improved productivity, exact same output, and most importantly, the ability to preview what we are building. With the power of computers, all these are possible with an excellent 3D model built on top of a blueprint. Unlike the traditional ways, everything can be checked, revised, and stored to craft the perfect end product.

CAD Software

We already mentioned the use of CAD software. To apply the power of computing to the structural design process, you need software. There are several types of CAD software to be used at different levels of the design process. Some of them are:

  • 2D CAD Software
  • 3D CAD Software
  • 3D Modelling Software
  • And Solid Modelling Software

As you may have already guessed, different tools have to be used in different levels of the design process until you can produce a final output that gives you a preview of the structure. Some of the most popular CAD software tools used today are:

  • AutoCAD
  • FreeCAD
  • 3DsMax
  • Inventor
  • Fusion 360, etc.

The number of available tools is limitless. Each coming with its own features and functions. The choice depends on the user.

How CAD Helps in Structural Design?

CAD has great significance in the structural design process. We are no more building single-story buildings. Mankind has even built a structure that stands almost 1KM tall from the ground, that too standing on literal sand. Yes, we are talking about the stunning Burj Khalifa. Would it be possible to build that monster without the help of a computer? We don’t think so. So, let’s see how CAD helps in building such complex structures.

  • Increased productivity with the help of precisely drawn plans, preview models, and other documents.
  • Ability to revise the design as many times as you want with very minimal effort.
  • Ability to split the construction process into several parts and collaborate with multiple team members for a faster building process.
  • Reduce the cost by avoiding errors that can happen without a proper, accurate design.
  • Preview the structure and almost every aspect of it even before starting the construction.
  • Import and generate models from real-life images and structures with the help of machine learning and AI.
  • Produce multiple designs for the same structure by utilizing the same amount of land and pick the best out of it.
  • Keep a copy of the design that can be reused in multiple projects with minimal changes.
  • Easily analyze, optimize, and fix problems that may arise during the construction or after.
  • Get the help of a huge community that follows the same design patterns and depends on the Computer-Aided Design process. Unlike traditional structural planning, you are connected with others.
  • Limitless design patterns and the ability to build things that were unimaginable in the past.

Computers do computing, processing, and storing data much better than we do. That’s the simplest explanation for the benefits of CAD over any other methods out there.


If you are an engineer or designer working in the construction field, you might be already familiar with CAD and its benefits. Almost all institutions train their students with CAD tools. So, it’s the present and the future when it comes to building structures. Perfecting your skills in Computer-Aided Design is a vital factor to hold on to the industry standards and build better structures. Hopefully, this quick guide helped you to add to your knowledge about CAD. So, go out there and start building beautiful structures, even if it is just a model from your 3D printer.

Rahul Vithala

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