Posts Tagged "3D CAD"

The History of Computer-Aided Design (CAD)

March 28, 2013

We are taking it back to the basics today with a blog post about the evolution of CAD. We all use CAD, but do you know its history?

Modern engineering design and drafting can be traced back to the development of descriptive geometry in the 16th and 17th centuries. Drafting methods improved with the introduction of drafting machines, but the creation of engineering drawings changed very little until after World War II.

During the war, considerable work was done in the development of real-time computing, particularly at MIT, and by the 1950s there were dozens of people working on numerical control of machine tools and automating engineering design. But it’s the work of two people in particular—Patrick Hanratty and Ivan Sutherland—who are largely credited with setting the stage for what we know today as CAD.

The Fathers of CAD
Hanratty is widely credited as “the Father of CADD/CAM.” In 1957, while working at GE, he developed PRONTO (Program for Numerical Tooling Operations), the first commercial CNC programming system. Five years later, Sutherland presented his Ph.D. thesis at MIT titled “Sketchpad, A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System.” Among its features, the first graphical user interface, using a light pen to manipulate objects displayed on a CRT.

The 1960s brought other developments, including the first digitizer (from Auto-trol) and DAC-1, the first production interactive graphics manufacturing system. By the end of the decade, a number of companies were founded to commercialize their fledgling CAD programs, including SDRC, Evans & Sutherland, Applicon, Computervision, and M&S Computing.

By the 1970s, research had moved from 2D to 3D. Major milestones included the work of Ken Versprille, whose invention of NURBS for his Ph.D. thesis formed the basis of modern 3D curve and surface modeling, and the development by Alan Grayer, Charles Lang, and Ian Braid of the PADL (Part and Assembly Description Language) solid modeler.

With the emergence of UNIX workstations in the early ’80s, commercial CAD systems like CATIA and others began showing up in aerospace, automotive, and other industries. But it was the introduction of the first IBM PC in 1981 that set the stage for the large-scale adoption of CAD. The following year, a group of programmers formed Autodesk, and in 1983 released AutoCAD, the first significant CAD program for the IBM PC.

The CAD Revolution
AutoCAD marked a huge milestone in the evolution of CAD. Its developers set out to deliver 80% of the functionality of the other CAD programs of the day, for 20% of their cost. From then on, increasingly advanced drafting and engineering functionality became more affordable. But it was still largely 2D.

That changed in 1987 with the release of Pro/ENGINEER, a CAD program based on solid geometry and feature-based parametric techniques for defining parts and assemblies. It ran on UNIX workstations—PCs of the time were simply not powerful enough—but it was a game changer. The later years of the decade saw the release of several 3D modeling kernels, most notably ACIS and Parasolids, which would form the basis for other history-based parametric CAD programs.

CAD Today, CAD Tomorrow
The modern CAD era has been marked by improvements in modeling, incorporation of analysis, and management of the products we create, from conception and engineering to manufacturing, sales, and maintenance (what has become known as PLM, product lifecycle management).

“Engineers and designers are being asked to create more, faster, and with higher quality,” says Bill McClure, vice president of product development at Siemens PLM. With all of this pressure on engineers and designers, what do you see as the next big evolution in CAD?


This article is a reprint from Desktop Engineering, click on the article title to view the original article in its entirety: Evolution of Computer-Aided Design


3D Innovations is a full service 3D Engineering/Design company – from the  3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.

How 3D CAD Can Benefit Your Next Project

February 7, 2013

Often times entrepreneurs find 3D CAD to be extremely interesting and “cool” but do not actually grasp the immense benefits of the technology in relation to product development, prototyping and manufacturing.

Below are some of the major benefits to utilizing 3D CAD for your next project:

  1. Concurrent engineering (CE) – Engineering and manufacturing process are enabled simultaneously from shared 3D CAD data.
  2. Higher quality – Due to increased efficiency resulting from the ability to explore a greater number of design iterations during product development.
  3. Lower unit costs – Due to reduced development and prototype expenses.
  4. Rapid prototyping (RP) – 3D CAD models can be used to produce prototypes from  RP technologies.
  5. Identify inefficiencies – 3D CAD develops opportunities for the elimination of inherent inefficiencies in a design.
  6. Increased accuracy of MRP data – 3D CAD data files can be easily linked and managed by MRP software.
  7. Increased design flexibility & customization – 3D CAD offers a more robust set of tools and methods to modify designs.
  8. Increased design data integrity – With a single 3D CAD model supporting all downstream processes, changes are reflected quickly and accurately.

During the planning stages of your next project, consider using 3D CAD technology to streamline your product development and manufacturing life cycles.


3D Innovations is a full service 3D Engineering/Design company – from the 3D Design to a fully functional 3D Prototype & Product.


3D Printing Brings Science Project to Reality

October 10, 2011

3D Academy Mentors Three Kauai High School Student’s Science Fair Project, Which Can Save Hawaii Households Hundreds on Their Annual Electricity Bill.

With the help of Collin Kobayashi of 3D Academy, three Kaua’i High students take first place in an international science competition.

Bridging the gap between technology, industry and education, 3D Academy president Collin Kobayashi recently helped three Kaua’i High School students earn international recognition for their science project.

Prior to participating in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in California, the 11th-graders Ashley Bonilla, Alyssa Braun and Meghan Fujimoto won first place for their project, “Harvesting Electricity through the Installation of a Cost-efficient Mini Hydro Turbine into the Existing Domestic Water Supply,” at the Kaua’i District Regional Science Fair. They also participated in the Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair, where they earned an honorable mention.

“I was proud of their accomplishments,” says Kobayashi. “They worked very hard to conceptualize their design.”

Kobayashi has been voluntarily mentoring students at KHS for three years as part of a program called Project Environmental and Spatial Technology to help students gain exposure to engineering and technical knowledge. Becoming familiar with the industries’ applications will help in planning further education and landing jobs.

“I enjoy working with high school students because they are creative and enthusiastic,” says Kobayashi.

Students in the Kauai High School Project EAST program (environmental and spatial technology) partnered with Bonilla, Braun and Fuijimoto to create a 3-D design of a mini hydro turbine that can be installed in an existing waterline between a house and its water meter.

A physical prototype of the turbine was determined to provide an output of 1.3kilowatt hours per day, which translates to an estimated energy savings of some $190 per year for the average household.

The most rewarding aspect of his elective efforts was “seeing the students excel and be able to utilize these skills to solve problems and innovate their ideas,” he says.

Witnessing students realize their potential by applying the skills toward activities such as robotics and a higher education is what makes his undertaking worthwhile.

“I wish I had earlier opportunities to learn,” says Kobayashi in regard to engineering and design. “Students need to be exposed to these types of programs early so they can get into the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) educational pipeline. Early exposure gives students the opportunity to take the appropriate classes they need in high school so they are better prepared for college.”

Kobayashi now heads STEMworks (formerly Project EAST), a multi-faceted program where students use the most current, high-end technologies.

“This is more than an after-school science club,” says Kobayashi who is owner of 3D Innovations, a division of 3D Academy. “And it’s much more than an enhanced computer class.”

The students work on community issues like energy conservation that teach them how to tackle concerns by providing solutions using the latest computer design and geospatial technologies. They also work with local industry partners and experience the “satisfaction of knowing their efforts are contributing toward improving life on their respective islands,” he says.

Integrating 3-D computer-aided design into the program introduces keiki to a 3-D modeling technology that can help create innovations like the hydro turbine.

“My hope is that students walk away excited about engineering and design,” says Kobayashi, who likes to train in jiujitsu in his free time.

3D Academy intends to offer additional programs in the future. Plans also are under way to develop a work center where individuals can utilize software and prototyping tools to help conceptualize their ideas and projects.

For further information about this topic, please contact