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Abdullah Ahmed

Unit 17: Computer Aided Drafting in Engineering:

Task 1

Computer aided design (CAD) has several advantages over traditional manual
drafting techniques:
CAD enables the modern engineer to produce very accurate and
elaborate designs.
CAD improves the rendering quality of the surfaces, triangulation, and
accuracy of lines and curves. CAD tools allow the ability to make two lines
or shapes coincide, become parallel, perpendicular, equal, or tangent.
These tools greatly improve the detail and accuracy of the design.
It also allows the user to organise complex designs in a way which enables
easier presentation of information previously not possible using traditional
CAD also allows the user to freely rotate the model in all directions,
thereby allowing the observation of certain angles and viewpoints
previously not possible using manual drawing techniques.
Dimensions and coordinates of CAD can be retrieved with the same
precision as the original measurement. However, using manual drafting
techniques measurements often have to be recalculated and redrawn.
CAD files can be attached to various external devices such as 3D printers,
CNC and laser cutting machines, allowing the engineer to manufacture
the product with ease in a comparably shorter time.
CAD also allows the user to modify and manipulate pre-existing
dimensions with relative ease; whereas if one were to change
measurements in manual design, there is a likely possibility of redrawing
the design.
The use of CAD also allows the user to run the design under virtual stress
conditions, and can subsequently troubleshoot or debug the design. For
example SolidWorks has tools such as interference detection, collision
detection, failure detection, drop/impact testing, buckling or collapse
prediction, heat or cooling simulation, repeated loaded simulation, flow
simulation and more.

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CAD systems have the ability to zoom into the design, so the user can
magnify certain features for further inspection.
The functionality of CAD programs which allow the testing of a model in
virtual stressed environments is called finite element method or analysis
(FEM or FEA). These systems calculate the stress, heat transformation, fluid
flow, deformation, magnetic field distribution, electrostatics, and more.
The functions in CAD allow users to share their files easily, as it is
completely digital.
Traditional manual drafting techniques required entire rooms for storage.
As CAD software is digital, this negates the necessity of large rooms.
Document reproduction is easier by certain features such as copy and
Parametric modelling is the use of various parameters to design a model.
Parameters can be dimensions, coordinates, and material properties.
These parameters can, if one wishes to do so, be modified at any ti me
during the design and will automatically be updated. There is usually a
relationship between each individual part of an assembly
Parametric modelling is also more visually appeasing, and is especially
useful when displaying the design to people who are from nonengineering backgrounds. The Final version of the product is cleaner and
closer to the actual end product.
The meticulous detail in parametric modelling allows one to analyse the
product more realistically.
Disadvantages of CAD over traditional manual drawing techniques:
Implementing CAD systems into a companys PLM solution can be very
expensive. The use of manual drafting is much cheaper, as all that is
required is relatively cheaper drawing equipment.
Training employees for using CAD can also be very expensive in itself and
involves a higher learning curve.
When the company is in transition between manual drafting and CAD, it
can often take a long time to switch to the new method.

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Task 2

Below is listed some of the most popular CAD software and the operating
system required to run it. The CAD software listed below, are all supported by
Windows 7, or upwards. However, some of them require a 64 bit operating
system rather than a 32 bit operating system. A 64 bit computer system requires
a 64 bit CPU which handles more information and has a larger capacity of RAM
than a 32 bit operating system.
SolidWorks 2015
AutoCAD 2015
Siemens NX9

SketchUp PRO
Inventor 2015

Wildfire 5.0

Windows 7, Windows
8, Windows 8.1 (64
bit only)
Windows 7, Windows
8, Windows 8.1 (64
bit and 32 bit)
Windows 7, Windows
8, Windows 8.1 (64
bit only)


Mac OS X

Officially not

Officially not

Officially not

Mac OS X V10.10.0+

Red Hat Enterprise

Linux (6 and 7), SuSE
Linux Enterprise
Server (11 and 12)
Windows Vista,
Officially not
Windows 7, Windows supported*
8, Windows 8.1 (64
bit and 32 bit)
Windows 7, Windows Officially not
8, Windows 8.1 (64
bit and 32 bit)
Windows 7, Windows Red Hat Enterprise
8, Windows 8.1 (64
Linux (5.5, 6.1, 6.2),
bit and 32 bit)
SuSE Linux Enterprise
Server 11 SP1 and
SP2, Solaris 10,
Solaris 11
Windows XP,
Officially not
Windows Vista,
Windows 7, Windows
8, Windows 8.1 (64
bit and 32 bit)

Mac OS X 10.7+,
10.8+, 10.9+

Mac OS X 10.7+,
10.8+, 10.9+

Officially not
Officially not

Officially not

*Although the software manufacturer does not allow the support of certain
operating systems, they can still be used with a virtual machine (on Mac, Linux,
or UNIX) or with Wine (Linux only).

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In modern engineering, 3D model design with CAD is vital to ensure the success
of a product. Below is the comparison of two parametric modelling CAD
programs produced by Dassault Systmes: CATIA and SolidWorks.
CATIA focusses on 3D modelling and
prototyping as replacements for
engineering drawings whereas
SolidWorks provides a number of 3D
and 2D tools for mechanical
engineering. CATIA specialises in
surface rendering operations. For
example, if one were to surface an
apple with a bruise it will be better to
use CATIA rather than SolidWorks,
therefore it is more appropriate for
designing cars, aircrafts, and boats.
CATIA is a high end product lifestyle
management solution which focuses
on the concept, design, development,
and the deployment of a product.
CATIA is used by large companies like
Boeing, AirBus, Chrysler, Fiat, Ford,
Hyundai, Peugeot, Toyota,
Volkswagen, United States Navy, and
more. CATIA is more suitable for larger

SolidWorks is a much more
affordable product than CATIA.
While CATIAs licensing is very
expensive SolidWorks is cheaper
and easier to use. SolidWorks is a
much simpler version of CATIA
without advanced tools that are
not usually required for smaller
companies. SolidWorks focusses
on product development, and is
more suitable for smaller
companies and/or large
companies who have no use of
advanced tools which are
available in CATIA.

Depending on the product being manufactured, the official hardware

requirements for CAD vary. In the table below, the computer processing unit
(CPU), the video processing unit or graphics processing unit (GPU or VPU), and
the random access memory (RAM), and hard disk drive (HDD) requirements are
The CPU controls and coordinates the actions of the entire PC. RAM is essentially
memory which provides a place for the CPU and other components to
temporarily store data which the system needs to access rapidly. The GPU is a
miniature computer in itself dedicated solely to processing graphic related data.
The graphics card has its own GPU and its own dedicated Video RAM (VRAM).

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As described earlier, RAM is a temporary form of storage. HDDs, however are a

magnetic storage device which act like memory, except that they are semipermanent, slower and larger in capacity. This means that data will still remain
on the hard drive, even when there is no power.
If a company wishes for better performance, they may use Solid State Drives
(SSD) rather than HDDs. Even though they both act like memory, SSDs combine
the advantages of the speed of RAM and the permanent nature of HDDs. Unlike
a hard drive, SSDs have no mechanical moving parts, and are cheaper, faster
and reliable. Due to the non-essential use of SSDs in CAD, the table below will
assume that all storage memory are HDDs.
Official System Requirements
SolidWorks 2015 CPU: Pentium 4, or AMD Athlon with SSE2 technology*.
RAM: 8GB recommended.
GPU: DirectX 9 compliant graphics card.
HDD: 5GB or more.
AutoCAD 2015
CPU: Pentium 4, or AMD Athlon with SSE2 technology*.
RAM: 2GB (8GB recommended).
GPU: DirectX 9 compliant graphics card (DirectX 10
HDD: 6GB or more.
Inventor 2015
CPU: Pentium 4, or AMD Athlon with SSE2 technology*.
(Intel Xeon or i7 equivalent recommended).
RAM: 8GB (16GB recommended).
GPU: DirectX 9 compliant graphics card (DirectX 10
HDD: 12GB or more.
CPU: Pentium 4, or AMD Athlon with SSE2 technology*.
Wildfire 5.0
RAM: 1GB or more recommended.
GPU: DirectX 9 compliant graphics card.
HDD: 3GB or more.
*SSE2 technology (Streaming SIMD Extensions 2) is an instruction set which was
introduced by Intel in 2001 in their Pentium 4 processors, and AMD Processors in
At initial inspection, one may think that the hardware requirements for CAD are
hefty. However, the requirements stated by the manufacturer are the
recommended requirements rather than the minimum requirements. Depending
on the nature of CAD usage in a company, the requirements can vary. If a

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company produces 2D engineering drawings only, then the requirements will be

lower. However using 3D design, the requirements are much higher. Depending
on the number of parts that are being produced during a CAD design, the
requirements could vary from being a mid-spec machine to a high-spec
machine. The table below shows the typical requirement ranges for CAD.

2D only

3D Below 100 3D Around

100-500 parts

CPU: Intel
Pentium 4 or

CPU: Intel
Core 2 Duo or

CPU: Intel i5
(4th gen) or

3D Around
CPU: Intel i7
(4th gen) or

3D Above
1000 parts





RAM: 16GB+

GPU: DirectX
9 integrated
graphics card,
256 MB
VRAM (Intel
HD 4000 or

GPU: DirectX
10 dedicated
graphics card,
GeForce GT
610 or AMD

GPU: DirectX
10 dedicated
graphics card,
1024 MB
VRAM (Nvidia
Quadro K2000
or AMD

GPU: DirectX
11 dedicated
graphics card,
2048 MB
VRAM (Nvidia
Quadro K5000
or AMD

GPU: High
end DirectX 11
graphics cards
in SLI or
4096 MB
VRAM (Nvidia
Quadro K6000
or AMD

HDD: Around
5-12 GB

HDD: Around
5-12 GB

HDD: Around
5-12 GB

HDD: Around
5-12 GB

HDD: Around
5-12 GB

CPU: Intel
Xeon or AMD

*SLI and CrossFireX are both brand names for multi GPU solutions offered by
Nvidia and AMD. These technologies use parallel processing which increases
processing power available for graphics cards.
A workstation is built for high performance and heavy workloads, often having
multiple processors and graphics cards, while PCs can only handle one of each.

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Workstation graphics cards such as the Nvidia Quadro and AMD FirePro are
specifically designed for CAD. While not essential, a large company which is
looking to make more than 500 part assemblies should consider purchasing
these rather than the ordinary series of graphics cards provided by Nvidia and
Other output devices such as monitors (preferably with a resolution of at least
1280x1024) mice, keyboards are required. Other hardware may be used, if one
prefers to do so, but they are not essential in the implementation of CAD.
For optimal performance, drivers should regularly be updated, especially the
graphics card. As video card manufacturers are constantly finding new ways to
optimise the hardware, it is recommended to update the drivers regularly.

Task 3

Once a design on a CAD program has been completed it can be manufactured

using a normal printer, 3D printer, Computer numerically controlled (CNC)
machine or a laser cutter. Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) which is the
use of computer software to manufacture product components can directly
import data from CAD software, and can then relay information to the relevant
apparatus to produce the design. However, a number of CNC machines can now
directly import data from CAD software.
CAM can import geometrical designs from CAD, and can then manufacture the
design using a CNC machine or Direct Numerical Control (DNC) machines.
Originally, Numerical control (NC) machines which used geometric data which
was encoded mechanically. CAD/CAM software are both computer systems,
therefore these systems are highly integrated. Therefore the software and
hardware involved are generally referred to as CAD/CAM and are known as a
computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) process.
The use of CAD/CAM systems overcame the disadvantages of using NC
machines. CAD/CAM systems are economically efficient, faster, easier to use and
are easily integrated into the design and manufacturing process. The set of
instructions which are passed from the CAD software to the CAM software
contain geometric information about the positioning of the cutting tool, the
cutting speed, and other information is also encoded. This method requires

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extensive knowledge of a very complex programming language, this is where

CNC programmers come into the picture.
Rapid prototyping is a group of techniques which is used to manufacture a part
using CAD. Rapid prototyping imports geometric data from CAD software and
transforms it into horizontal cross sections which are added to until the model is
complete. The construction is usually accomplished through 3D printing.
Laser cutting is a method of manufacturing which uses a laser to cut materials.
Some CAD software can interact with certain other software which can provide a
variety of optimisation techniques such as simulated annealing and genetic
algorithms. These are, from the field of artificial intelligence, methods which can
solve constrained problems, and can potentially help to imp rove parameters of a
designed model.
Before manufacturing the CAD designs, the appropriate devices must have the
relevant driver installed on the operating system. Computer drivers are software
which interact with and control certain aspects of the hardwa re. Drivers provide
a software interface which allows operating systems and other software to
interact with the device without the user having precise knowledge of hardware.

Task 4

Company: Advanced Micro Devices

Software: SolidWorks
Industry: Electronics and Mechanical
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is a semiconductor design innovator which is
leading the next era of computer processing and graphics acceleration chips.
AMDs graphics and computing solutions power PCs, gaming consoles,
workstations, servers, and embedded systems.
Before using SolidWorks, AMD used to use physical prototype boards to verify
mechanical dimensions. However the use of tools in SolidWorks such as

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CircuitWorks, - which enables users to share, compare, update, and track

electrical design data so users can more quickly resolve electrical -mechanical
integration problems, - minimises the amount of physical prototype boards
required, hence saving the company thousands of dollars annually.
AMD has also adopted SolidWorks Enterprise PDM which synchronises design
data across AMD subdivisions in Shanghai, Bangalore, Texas, California and
Singapore. According to Jabir Yusufali who is a member of the technical staff at
AMD, the company used to email large design files back and forth which used
to take hours to transfer files back and forth among the various locations.
Using SolidWorks PDM solutions, sharing and accessing files is down to a
matter of minutes because the vault and powerful search capabilities have
resolved these issues. Yusufali also said that the system makes collaboration
both more efficient and effective.
Using the CircuitWorks feature in SolidWorks allows mechanical engineers to
work with ECAD (electronic computer aided design) data by importing IDF
(Intermediate Data Format) files. Using this method, AMD can more efficiently
pinpoint issues and effectively relay that information back to our electrical
engineers which saves time and money. Utilising this approach, we can catch
things earlier than we would without CircuitWorks.
However the implication of SolidWorks CAD solutions comes with a cost.
SolidWorks commercial licenses can be very expensive. The company also has to
train its employees in using SolidWorks which can be very expensive and a
lengthy process. The initial transfer from using physical prototype boards to
SolidWorks may take some time.
Despite the drawbacks in using CAD, AMD has reduced its transfer times from
hours to minutes by minimising the use of prototype boards, which saves the
company thousands of dollars annually, shortened file search time s, and
improved the collaboration between mechanical and electrical engineers.

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Company: Leenaars Marine and Offshore Design BV

Software: SolidWorks
Industry: Automotive, Transportation and Marine
Leenaars Marine and Offshore Design BV is a leader in the creation of innovative
designs for ships, offshore platforms, and marine equipment. The company has
played a significant role in the introduction of several new technologies and
continues to strive to contribute further in this field.
Before incorporating SolidWorks in their production cycle, the company had had
its analysis work contracted by a third party company. According to the
Managing Director Cees Leenaars, the use of a third party company limited the
use of analysis to confirm the validity of a design and did not contribute to
evaluating new concepts.
Leenaars Marine and Offshore Design BV have now cut the development time in
half since the implementation of SolidWorks. The company has no need to hire
an external consultant which results in shorter communications and no need
for a lot of meetings. For some projects, SolidWorks has reduced the design
time by 40-50 percent, which saves the time of the company immensely.
The use of SolidWorks in Leenaars Marine and Offshore Design BV has improved
the collaboration between engineers and designers, subsequently improving the
work efficiency of the engineers. The Managing Director stated that they pair a
CAD operator with an engineer for each project, the CAD operator essentially
builds the model while the engineer determines the loads and constraints. Both
the CAD operator and the engineer can work together and resolve issues. Using
this method, Leenaars Marine and Offshore Design BV can assign engineers to
multiple projects, thus doubling the output of an engineer.
SolidWorks has also helped Leenaars Marine and Offshore Design BV achieve
many of its project improvement goals such as reducing the steel weight and
introducing many beneficial innovations. The companys LNG module supports
which are the interface between the vessel and multiwheel transporters is up to
15-20 percent lighter and saves the company $450,000 in cost. The company


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also used the FEM functionality in SolidWorks and is now more efficient at
analysing designs.
The same disadvantages that were present in the last company, also apply here.
Nonetheless, the use of SolidWorks in Leenaars Marine and Offshore Design BV
has shortened design time by 40-50 percent, doubled the productivity of the
engineers, reduced the design weight by 15-20 percent and reduced the lost
ships days which has saved customers money.


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Inc.,, [Accessed on 6 November 2014]
SolidWorks system requirements,, [Accessed on 24 October
SketchUp PRO system requirements,, [Accessed on
24 October 2014]
AutoCAD system requirements,
/System-requirements-for-AutoCAD-2015.html, [Accessed on 24 October 2014]
Inventor system requirements,, [Accessed on 24 October 2014]
Siemens NX9 system requirements,, [Accessed on 24
October 2014]
CATIA V6 system requirements,, [Accessed on 24 October 2014]
Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire system requirements,,
[Accessed on 24 October 2014]
CAD training tutorials, (2012),, [Accessed on 28 October 2014]
Paper2dwg,, [Accessed
on 28 October 2014]
Advanced Micro Devices wiki page,,
[Accessed on 4 November 2014]
Dassault Systmes wiki page,, [Accessed
on 3 November 2014]
Leenaars BV,, [Accessed 6 on November 2014]
Finite element method wiki page,,
[Accessed on 5 November 2014]
SolidWorks FEA,, [Accessed on 5 November 2014]

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Rapid Prototyping wiki page,, [Accessed on 3
November 2014]
Genetic algorithm wiki page,, [Accessed on 3
November 2014]
AMD CrossFireX wiki page,, [Accessed on 10
November 2014]
Nvidia SLI wiki page,, [Accessed on 10
November 2014]