AutoCAD® is a computer aided drafting program primarily utilized by architects, interior designers, and engineers. It is slowly replacing the need for drafting by hand, and can be used to create blueprints, floor plans, 3D models, and detailed construction specifications for everything from submarines to kitchen cabinets. AutoCAD® also has the capability to produce equipment schedules and informational documents, allowing it to be a one-stop program for many different professions.
AutoCAD® is possibly best known for its ability to create blueprints without drafting tools and in significantly less time than can be done by hand. Architects and draftsmen can use AutoCAD® to create building details and specifications for construction, including everything from thickness and height of walls to precise location of plumbing and electrical work. This program is set up primarily for this function, and provides the ability to work in tabs and overlay separate drawings, thereby allowing architects to print only the information they chose to.
This computer aided design program can also be used by interior designers to specify finish location and selection, which can then be given to those doing the renovation. The program provides a means for drafting the location to be renovated and noting where each finish, whether flooring, wall coverings, or light fixtures, can be placed. This allows interior designers to come up with detailed cost estimates, providing them with the ability to develop near-exact requirements for finishes. It can also be used to identify floor plans, thus specifying were unfixed items such as furniture or store fixtures should be placed. The use of the 3D CAD design, which is capable of produce 3D renderings of a space, can also provide clients with an idea of what the space will look like once completed.
AutoCAD® can also be used by engineers to design buildings and mechanical items as well. While the software is primarily used for construction purposes, it can also be used to design a machine or even a submarine or airplane. The 3D CAD design is often utilized for this purpose, thereby providing a visual idea of what the object will look like while still specifying the engineering information needed to construct it. In the same vein, it is often used by both interior designers and woodworkers to specify the construction of items such as built-in storage, kitchen cabinets, and even outdoor constructions of patios and decks.
While most architects, engineers and interior designers still draft some items by hand, AutoCAD® has made this nearly unnecessary. The program also allows for the insertion or creation of text documents and spreadsheets, thus making the sharing of project information simpler. The various capabilities of this program and the relative ease of use have made it a staple in the construction and engineering fields.