In the olden days, a draughtsman, engineer, or designer passed through painstaking moments to produce engineering drawings in a stated timeframe. Every shape, line, measurement, and scaling of the drawing was a headache to both the design and drafting field. But this was not to last for long. With the advents of Computer Aided Design & Drafting (CAD) technology, all these pressures and difficulties were immediately over-ridden.
But what is Computer aided design and drafting? This is more of an engineering subfield that deals with the design and drafting of materials and objects by use of specialized software known for visualizing designs modular computer levels in 3D.
CAD software is used to create 3D models that are complete with crucial documentation such as the dimensions, details of the design process, and the materials used.
There are plenty of advantages that come with CAD. Perhaps, one of the biggest benefits is in the ability to come up with some accurate designs. Here, drawings can be rotated or produced in 2D and 3D, unlike manual drafting where one had to determine the scale of the view before drawing.
Computer aided design and drafting has also made it possible for users to lay out their drawing in a convenient manner unlike the manual option where you have to first determine the location of elevations, sections, views’ plans, and details before beginning to draw.
CAD software has made it flexible when it comes to organizing drawing information. Unlike manual drafting where you would be compelled to separate information on transparent overlays, computer aided design and drafting comes with its own software that make it easy to display, edit, and print layers in a separate manner.
CAD has also made it possible for a user to draw efficiently, draw accurately, view his or her drawing, modify the drawing, and create dimensions and text. This was not possible before the inception of this technology. With computer aided design and drafting now in place, draughtsmen, engineers, and designers can now draw more efficiently and accurately in addition to having a good chance to view their drawings.
First, there seems to be a high demand for CAD drafters. In the United States for instance, the demand for CAD drafters continues to increase with records indicating that since 2016 all the way to 2026, the demand for CAD drafters will grow immensely. Many companies in the U.S. need CAD drafters. If you are a qualified drafter, you will have an opportunity to work in several areas such as mechanical, civil, and electrical drafting. You stand a chance of being employed by top firms, especially those that need product manufacturing and some technical drawings for the construction of buildings.
Additionally, you will be able to go home with a good pay package either at the end of the month or every two weeks depending on your employment contract. In the United States, CAD drafters earned an average annual salary of $53,470 per year. Of importance to note is that such varies depending on location, responsibility, and the area of specialty.
There seems to be a major demand for CAD drafter by hundreds of manufacturing plants located in several locations across the United States. Currently, companies such as Kelly Services, Ariel Corporation, NextGen Global Resources, and EFCO Corp among other are hiring CAD drafters in huge numbers.
Computer aided design and drafters have a number of roles and responsibilities to play. Generally, they have to coordinate data collection while incorporating information found into drawings, maps, and schematics. They have to consult with engineers, architects, workers, and surveyors while they are preparing and submitting their drawings.
Other duties and responsibilities of CAD drafters include the collection of construction reports, the analysis of building codes, volume, weight, and stress of the materials that will be used. If need be, they may also go ahead and lay out interiors, represent the architect at the construction site and do some landscaping.
Other crucial duties include the incorporation of data received from topographical surveys and other geographical reports as they prepare their drawings in addition to making calculations for purposes of excavation and supervising technicians in the field.
As a specialist in CAD drafting, you may find yourself designing parts for CNC machines. CNC machining is one of the most cost-effective means of producing metal prototypes as compared to 3D printing. It’s suitable for both one-off jobs and high volume production. As an experienced CAD designer, you may find yourself undertaking CNC machining too.
There are a number of things that you must fulfill if your intention is to become a CAD drafter. First, you need to have completed a two-year program at a reputable community college or technical school that offers such a course. However, if you go ahead and complete a bachelor’s program, you stand a greater chance of enhancing your employment opportunities.
This makes it very advantageous that you get to work after the two year period. While not a necessity for employment as such, going ahead to acquire a professional credential will also boost your chances of advancement in future.
If you feel that CAD drafting appeals to you, then you won’t have to worry about finding the right institutions that will offer you such a course. There are plenty of technical colleges and other institutions of learning that offer such courses to hundreds of students.
In the United States, some of the reputable schools known for offering a course in CAD drafting include Idaho State University, Trine University, University of Montana, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Johnson & Wales University among others. Students who get to enroll in such institutions get to learn important skills such as sketching, computer aided design and drafting, and technical illustration just to mention but a few.
A course in CAD drafting generally takes a period of two years to complete. This is followed by internships that may last for 6 months depending on the requirements of the learning institution. Of importance to note that all this depends on the learning institution though a lot of them will have its students take the course for a period not less than two years.
Just like the duration, the cost that it takes to complete a course on computer aided design and drafting also depends on the location or country and the institution that offers such a course. In the United States, a certificate course in computer aided design and drafting tuition fees cost nearly $3,000 for in-state learners and slightly above $11,000 for students that come from out of the states.
For those with the intention of advancing their education further, the costs will also be slightly higher. A degree course in CAD drafting costs a little bit more than a certificate course in the same field due to the technicalities and increased class hours needed for degree students.
CAD drafting is a career that has lately been embraced by a lot of people across the world. Besides being fun, one is assured of a job and a handsome pay once they complete the course. It’s no wonder that a lot of people are lately considering taking up this course either at technical or the university level.
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