History evolution of CAD

What’s the Difference: CAD vs. 3D Modeling vs. BIM

    Knowing When to Use Each Service: CAD vs. 3D Modeling vs. BIM

    With the ubiquitous use of computers in today’s design landscape, there is quite a bit of overlap in areas such as CAD, 3D modeling, and BIM software. In order to help you understand when to use each of these three services, we will take a closer look at each one individually.

    Computer Aided Design (CAD)

    Used primarily by engineers, CAD software is almost synonymous with 3D modeling software. CAD software is used primarily to design an object in 3D and then create 2D drawings of the model for manufacturing and eventually production. The benefits of CAD is the relatively painless iterative process. Edits to the model can be made quickly, and with the improvements in rapid prototyping, such as 3D printing, design iterations can be quickly prototyped and the feedback process continued. With today’s widespread access to 3D printing at a reasonable cost, more and more non-engineers are using CAD to design products.

    3D Modeling

    This is a general umbrella category which encompasses everything from 3D modeling to 3D animation and rendering. 3D modeling is done through various modeling software such as Solidworks, PTC Creo, and 3ds Max Design. With the various different types of 3D modeling software out there, it is important to use the one that best suits your needs. For example, if you are working on designing products that do not require organic shapes, engineering modeling software such as Solidworks or PTC Creo would fit your needs, especially since there are design iteration management solutions incorporated. If on the other hand you are designing organic shapes, artwork, etc. then software such as Rhinoceros 3d would be more appropriate. On the other hand, for architectural modeling you would probably be using software such as Revit.

    Building Information Modeling (BIM)

    BIM tools are distinct from 3D modeling because they are tools specifically for building construction and design aids. Suited really only for architectural modeling purposes, BIM tools help visualize the design and construction from start to finish of a project. It is really similar to Computer Aided Design (CAD) and can be thought of as a specific subset of CAD. The difference is that BIM isn’t ubiquitous; BIM is designed and made for architectural modeling. Despite being a distinct subset, BIM does include 2D and 3D modeling tools to further aid in visualization. The tradeoff is that the library of models might be less robust than other modeling programs. For the sake of simplicity, BIM is architectural modeling visualization software and is a subset of CAD.

    With this primer on CAD, 3D Modeling, and BIM, you hopefully have a better idea of when to use what. Depending on your industry, you will probably use a mixture of the three, but it is critical to understand the strengths of each category in order create the better models more efficiently. Contact the experts at Cadsourcing today to learn more.