Computer-aided drafting applications are a mainstay of industry, mainly thanks to the way they streamline and accelerate design work, leaving engineers with a unified set of drawings in beautiful 3D. But in industry you’ll find one critical factor that your average Toolmonger doesn’t have: a nearly unlimited budget. For the home user, the price of most CAD software is sky-high. There are flawed workarounds thanks to retailers like JourneyEd (but it’s only for students) and free programs like Daz3D (which is for artists more than engineers).
So the question is, under what circumstances is CAD software a boon to the do-it-yourselfer? Cost seems to be the determining factor. Very few people have the money to afford the software (assuming they don’t have access to discounts), and even fewer have the equipment to really take advantage of CAD work. However, next time you’re lining to make just about anything, CAD software can take the sting out of the planning phase, giving you a perfect 3D representation of the finished product. For a chest of drawers, that’s probably overkill, but anything machined comes out all the better for the influence of CAD. What say you, folks?