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Streaming the future of CAD.

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Streaming the future of CAD

      Ever since the first engineer rotated a 3-D prototype of a product on his computer screen rather than in his hand, the CAD industry has been dreaming of a seamless virtual design process.

Imagine engineering teams around the world firing up their CAD stations to start designing a new automobile. As each designer works on the various components, the car model starts to take shape. Tooling engineers collaborate on the process as they work on their own pieces of the design. When the design for the motor is complete, testing teams employ finite element analysis packages feeding the results back to the CAD engineers.

Even the marketing departments are involved. They create presentations of the car from the CAD model and display them on the company's Web site in full interactive 3-D. Feedback from the presentation influences the design. When production begins, the product is designed, the components are tested, and the marketing program is already under way.

With more than ten years of effort, CAD companies have not been able to deliver this dream of a virtual design process. Ten years is an eternity in any computer-related industry. So what's the hold up? It's certainly not the hardware.

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All of this collaboration takes place in real-time while the team members are speaking to each other in a conference call. By increasing the interaction between team members, a company can slash its design cycle and time to market by months. This form of real-time collaboration is as close as the industry has come to a truly virtual design process.

Streaming 3-D technology has opened the bottleneck that has hindered the advancement of the CAD industry for years. CAD companies are now integrating streaming 3-D as part of their comprehensive Internet strategies. From 3-D products on Web sites to real-time collaboration, streaming 3-D is bringing the CAD industry into the age of the Internet. Virtual product design as it was envisioned 10 years ago is not yet a reality. But now it will be, soon.

Rapid Prototyping

We could also consider holographic CAD, The image could be solid in design with 3 dimensional views, using a remote pen we could make adjustments and move things around, while walking around the image.

For factory layouts we could design and then transfer the holographical image to the shop floor and walk around it to spot any potential problems.

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Layer by Layer Construction: The fourth step is the actual construction of the part. Using one of several techniques (described in the next section) RP machines build one layer at a time from polymers, paper, or powdered metal. Most machines are fairly autonomous, needing little human intervention.

Clean and Finish: The final step is post-processing. This involves removing the prototype from the machine and detaching any supports. Some photosensitive materials need to be fully cured before use. Prototypes may also require minor cleaning and surface treatment. Sanding, sealing, and/or painting the model will improve its appearance and durability.

As mentioned previously CAD can be used in conjuncion with many applications, but as a summary with some things not previously mentioned: for example you can convert text into PDF file formats, You can use CAD to do design and then send to machines to do Rapid Prototyping, the possibilities are endless and the future is of CAD is a never ending amount of possibilities, and with all new software, they are trying to make the add on’s more versatile and user friendly, while being flexible with most CAD applications.

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