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Mechanical Design

How to Choose the Right CAD Program

Let’s start at square one: you have an idea, but you’re not entirely sure of the exact form it should take. Or perhaps you have some sketches that highlight key points of your design, but these features have yet to be integrated into a digital form. What you need to move forward is a tool that creates objects in digital space, i.e. CAD software.

CAD software allows you to build objects in a 3-dimensional digital space using intuitive methods and the resulting model can be used for creating renders, functional analysis, visualizing component assembly and ultimately manufacturing.

There are a ton of excellent CAD programs that can empower you with these capabilities, and choosing the right one comes down to an assessment of your unique needs.

From a high-level perspective, the major parameters involved in choosing the right CAD program are:

  1. Profession - are you a Designer or an Engineer?
  2. Capability - how advanced do you need your modelling to be?
  3. Price - what’s your budget?

Here’s a visual breakdown of those parameters:

CAD program comparison chart

Other key features to consider include user interface (how intuitive is the software to navigate?) and support system (where will you go to get questions answered?).

It’s also important to note that more advanced programs are not always better — you want to identify the program that can empower your design process with the greatest number of useful features.

We think all of the above mentioned programs are excellent, for different reasons. So use the parameters to help guide your choice and consider your unique needs and preferences to make your final decision.

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