One of the most widely used systems for designers, AutoCAD is popular with architects, drafters, engineers and surveyors the world over. Created for professionals, it makes drawing technical 2D, or even 3D, blueprints and building plans easy.
Used for a huge variety of projects, AutoCAD has played a part in creating innovative mechanical features in Magic Wheels manual wheelchairs, as well as assisting in strengthening the San Francisco Bay Bridge and even in creating life size LEGO dinosaurs. The versatility of 2D and 3D imaging possibilities truly are endless!
Essential for prototyping; AutoCAD lets you test and optimise mechanical designs; filtering out the flaws before they hit the shop floor. Overall it allows users to produce professional documentation designed to suit its exact purpose.
AutoCAD LT allows designers to create accurate 2D drawings with crisp lines, arcs and circles. You can easily move and copy selection sets, quickly preview designs and dimensions, and add, stretch or remove revision clouds to your documents and drawings.
The software enables you to create professional and modern documents, while enhanced PDFs mean you can quickly produce projects with a manageable file size. Interactive PDFs mean text is searchable and hyperlinks are maintained.
Providing all of the functions found in AutoCAD LT, the full version of AutoCAD allows 3D modelling. Enabling solid, surface and mesh 3D modelling, users can create near-photorealistic renderings. Permitting building information modelling, this function is ideal for architectural design. With a simple interface, it is designed for and used by industry professionals everywhere.
One of the leading products for utilising with 3D printing, AutoCAD includes an action recorder as well as many other features not available in AutoCAD LT.
AutoCAD is available for both Mac and Windows. The latest version, AutoCAD 2016, is due for release on Mac in autumn 2015, coinciding with Apple’s OS X release cycle, but is already available for Windows. For Mac users keen to get started, AutoCAD 2015 is available on subscription plans.
AutoCAD for Mac and AutoCAD LT for Mac are both suitable for iMacs and MacBooks, providing they meet certain system requirements. Full specifications can be found on the Autodesk site, but generally AutoCAD LT for Mac requires Mac OS® X v10.6.6 or later, while AutoCAD for Mac needs OS® X v10.8 or later.
You’ll need to make sure you have around 4GB of free disk space, and a minimum 3GB of RAM. While AutoCAD and AutoCAD Lt for Mac works with most iMac and MacBook models, it’s recommended for models of Mac Pro® 5,1 and MacBook Pro 10,1 with Retina Display or later, for optimum performance.
The Mac and PC versions of the software differ, offering slightly different functionality. A pretty robust programme for using on a Mac, AutoCAD for Mac is generally considered a little more intuitive than the PC version.
There are plenty of sites that can help you if you wish to learn more about AutoCAD. Autodesk, the software creator, offers a whole community along with support and learning, while sites like CAD Tutor can provide free step by step tutorials and videos.
Check out the Autodesk gallery to view the exhibits which showcase exemplary design and engineering feats all created with the help of AutoCAD software – they might even inspire you!