Drafting means “to draw, sketch or design.” Computer aided drafting and design (CADD) is a way we use computers to create drawings of buildings and related products before they become real. Instead of actually constructing buildings, CADD operators can create virtual images that help them see what something is going to look like before it’s built. Even more importantly, CADD allows designers to plan for sound construction by considering the strength of the materials that will be used and how the materials will all fit together.
Among the most common components of modern architectural construction are concrete, steel and wood. But they’re not just put together on site. Instead, CADD designers can determine what materials make the most sense for individual projects, how they’ll fit together and what will be needed to make sure what is built does what it’s supposed to do for a long time.
Did you know that inside your house’s concrete foundation are steel bars that reinforce the concrete to make it stronger? CADD designers can use computer programming to determine how strong that concrete needs to be, how much reinforcing steel bars or rebar is needed and where and how it should be placed. CADD helps designers with geometric calculations as they manipulate virtual building materials - bending shapes, changing details and determining structural integrity.
CADD can also help determine how and where wooden struts should be placed during framing. Formulas used in CADD can tell a designer if the wood is strong enough to support the intended design or if a stronger material might be needed. It’s not uncommon for construction plans to change dozens of times and CADD makes it easy for designers to accommodate those changes quickly and efficiently. A wooden beam might need to be replaced with a steel I-beam if the architect or engineer determines wood won’t serve the required function.
CADD operators need to know about beams, columns, elevations, foundations, floor and roof framing, and a whole lot more. There is a lot to learn if you want to be a CADD operator. Working in a drafting classroom can be exciting and fun. If you agree, why not check out the Computer Aided Drafting and Design program at Porter and Chester Institute? You could learn about those buildings that need concrete, steel and wood. You’ll take courses like concrete construction, masonry construction, wood frame drafting and steel construction. And you’ll learn how to become a computer-aided draftsman.