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13. History of 3D CAD-Changing the World

In the beginning before Rapid Prototyping, there was the evolution of 3D CAD.

CAD was first developed before 20 years with the development of personal computers. The first company to become a leader in the CAD world was Autodesk with a product called AutoCAD. This was the first software product that allowed the user to produce 2-dimensional drawings on the computer and take advantage of the efficiencies that software can provide (copy, templates, etc.).

It is important to note that at this time in the product development world, all products were designed and developed from 2-dimensional drawings. These 2D drawings fully represented all appropriate views of the part or product. While this was a standard method of product design, it did require the learned ability to "visualize" what the part would look like in 3-dimensions (or in the "real" world). Since this was a subjective requirement, communication regarding the part was subject to misinterpretation. This also required parts to be designed much simpler than our products today. With 2D design, it was very difficult and expensive to develop parts that were highly contoured or with complex surfaces. This is the reason products of this era were more "blocky" and simple. Think of the cars of the 60's and 70's.

It was not until the late 1980's that software began evolving to render solid models and true 3-dimensional representations of the parts or products. Software was finally developed that could completely represent the part in 3-dimensional space so the designer did not have to imagine how the part would look.

Once the 3D CAD became available, this lead to the development of rapid prototyping and 3D printing. Now additive fabrication is becoming mainstream. It has been great to see over the past 20 years.

Here are some samples we have done before, please kindly take a look:

Product design

Product design
Rapid prototyping

rapid prototyping

Plastic molds
Custom molds

Electronic product
design samples

rapid prototype

Plastic molds
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                                                    Marsha Dunmyre
                                                          CA, U.S.A
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