Computer-aided industrial design

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Computer-aided industrial design (CAID) is a subset of computer-aided design (CAD) that includes software that directly helps in product development.

Within CAID programs designers have the freedom of creativity, but typically follow a simple design methodology:

  • Creating sketches, using a stylus
  • Generating curves directly from the sketch
  • Generating surfaces directly from the curves

The end result is a 3D model that projects the main design intent the designer had in mind. The model can then be saved in STL format to send it to a rapid prototyping machine to create the real-life model. CAID helps the designer to focus on the technical part of the design methodology rather than taking care of sketching and modeling—then contributing to the selection of a better product proposal in less time. Later, when the requisites and parameters of the product have been defined by means of using CAID software, the designer can import the result of his work into a CAD program (typically a Solid Modeler) for adjustments prior to production and generation of blueprints and manufacturing processes.

What differentiates CAID from CAD is that the former is far more conceptual and less technical than the latter. Within a CAID program, the designer can express him/herself without extents, whilst in CAD software there is always the manufacturing factor. CAD implementations have evolved dramatically since then. Initially, with 3D in the 1970s, it was typically limited to producing drawings similar to hand-drafted drawings. Advances in programming and computer hardware,[21][22] notably solid modeling in the 1980s, have allowed more versatile applications of computers in design activities.

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