Week 5: CAD (Computer Aided Design)

In week 5 we took a look at computer aided design and more particularly at the different software that is used.

CAD Design can be :

  • 2D – a flat image
  • 2,5D – an image with an amplitude – a 2D image that looks like a 3D
  • 3D – a three dimensional image that contains information about axis x,y,z (height, width, depth)


Most common software used for 2D modelling :
-> Bitmap (the produced image contains of pixels)

  • Sketch – haystack FabLab (examples)
  • Gimp/ Photoshop – Open an image, transform it, customize it


-> Vector (the produced image is vector-based, mathematically calculated, could be expanded without a decrease in quality)

  • Libreoffice/Draft – free and easily available – opensource
  • Inkscape/Illustrator

Most common software used for 3D modelling:

There are a number of attributes to each tool. No tool does it all. Some of them are parametric, surface and script.

  • Sketchup – limited, easy to use, opensource
  • 123D – by Autodesk, easy to use
  • TinkerCAD – easily available
  • Blender – not precise
  • FreeCAD – has a good math engine; community; opensource
  • Rhino/Grasshopper – popular in architecture, create fluid structures, loads of curves, very powerful!
  • Solidworks – most widely used, very easy to use, available at all FabLabs : there is an agreement signed
  • Autodesk Inventor
  • Maya/3D Studio Max – rendering
  • AutoCAD – Engineer – based software
  • Catia (Dessault) / eneX – Software that designs rockets, jumbojets
  • Kokopelli/antimony – Do almost everything, but not very user-friendly



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