What Is CAD Drawing?

by Les Moore

CAD, computer-aided design, is a useful tool that which has been in wide use for several years. There are several drawing programs available with a range of capabilities from making a simple 2-D drawing to large 3-D assemblies.

CAD Programs

CAD programs can be used for different engineering disciplines, including mechanical engineering, civil, map-making, architectural and others. It can be used for as many engineering applications as paper and pencils.


This is the closest computer application to tradition paper and pencil drawings. The drawing is done in as many orthographic views as needed to show what is needed. Some programs can be found free on the Internet that are capable of doing this.


3-D, or solids, allows the part to be drawn with depth, width and height that can be turned and studied from all angles like the real part. These can be combined with other parts to make an assembly as well as 2-D drawings.


CAD/CAM is computer-aided design computer-aided manufacture. The drawing file is given to a machinist who uses the computer to cut the part directly from the file.


Because of the precision possible with 3-D drawings, CAD programs let the designer see how things fit together and fill space. This is a useful tool in many engineering uses.

About the Author

Now living in Arizona, Les Moore has written reports of motorcycle races for "Cycle News" and "Midwest Motorcycling" since 1969. He has provided technical and procedural data for the Intra and Internet. Moore received a Certificate of Drafting from San Jose Community College in 1982.