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All About Engineering CAD Drafting Trends and Outsourcing

Understanding more about engineering CAD drafting and the newest trends is a great way to stay ahead of your competitors. Some easy trends like outsourcing can save your engineering team a lot of time and money on every project you complete.

In this guide, you’ll learn more about modern engineering CAD drafting trends, and you’ll see how outsourcing fits into the picture.

The Different Types of CAD

CAD drafting is used in almost every engineering project. By definition, CAD means computer-aided drafting — any time you use a computer program to draw a part, you’re using CAD.

However, there are other types of computer-aided work that you might use at your company. These terms are often used interchangeably (but they’re very different):

    Computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM). A CIM system links together equipment and uses automation and computers to speed things up. If your storage racks are connected to your PLM system, then you have a CIM warehouse.Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). CAM software speeds up any CNC machining steps. You can take a 3D CAD model, input the tooling sizes and speeds you’d like to use, add in material properties, then output a CAM file. From there, the machinist will load the CAM file into the CNC and automatically start the project without the need for them to program the machine at all.Computer-aided analysis (CAA). CAA applies to running any simulation or FEA to see how a part will act in real life.Computer-aided planning (CAP). This is a way to speed up the planning process, typically involving Gantt charts and automatic procurement steps.Computer-aided engineering (CAE). This is a general term that includes any computer programming that is used to fulfill your
    job as an engineer
    . It also includes PLC software, making P&IDs, and any calculators.

Challenges of CAD Drafting

Looking specifically at CAD drafting, you’ll run into a lot of different problems. For reference, this is the act of making 2D manufacturing drawings using a program like AutoCAD, SolidWorks, NX, CATIA, or other similar software.

The Work Is Really Complicated

If you ever tried to make a 2D manufacturing drawing, you already know how complicated the work is. Even seemingly simple parts can require hours of effort just to make a single drawing.

There is a lot that you have to consider in each drawing, and it takes experience before each drawing goes together smoothly. Something as simple as selecting a line weight and line style can dramatically change the meaning of your drawing — with the wrong click, you can either have an imaginary line that’s only used for reference, or a critical feature that needs to be machined. To the untrained eye, this difference is impossible to spot.

A team of expert outsourced engineers works on a project for an auto client.

A team of expert outsourced engineers works on a project for an auto client.

You Need an Expert if You Want CAD Perfect Drawings

CAD Perfect drawings are even harder to make. A CAD Perfect drawing is one that has all the right dimensions, will work well in your application, and is easy to fabricate. It takes our staff a lot of training and practice before they can start consistently making CAD Perfect drawings for us.

With low-quality CAD drafting projects, you’ll run into a lot of issues during machining. You can expect a lot of calls from the machine shop, and you might get a part that’s correct according to the drawing, but it doesn’t fit in your process.

It’s Hard to Design for Manufacturing

The simple truth is that it’s very difficult to design a part for manufacturing. You need to have a deep understanding of how CNC machines work, the limitations of any machine shop, issues sourcing certain materials, and how a machinist will read a drawing.

Without this knowledge, your CAD drawings won’t work. You could easily design something that costs three times as much as it should, and takes five times longer to machine. With a few simple dimensional changes, all of these issues go away — but, knowing how to do this comes with experience.

One of the biggest complaints we get from rookie engineers is that it’s impossible to know what can and can’t be made on a CNC machine.

It Takes a Lot of Time

The other issue with modern CAD drafting is that it takes a long time. The general rule of thumb is that you can spend just as long dimensioning a drawing as it takes to make the 3D model. Can you afford to spend all of this extra time? For a lot of companies, the answer is “no”.

Current Engineering CAD Drafting Trends

Over the past few decades, we’ve seen a massive shift in how companies handle CAD drafting. Now, some of the largest Fortune 500 companies route their work through an outsourced CAD company like CAD/CAM Services. We’ve worked with a lot of massive companies that you’ve heard of before.

These companies choose us to handle their modeling, drafting, reverse engineering, and even raster to vector conversion projects. With CAD/CAM Servies in their corner, they enjoy faster turnarounds, lower operating costs, and more reliable results.

How an Outsourced Engineering Company Can Help

In our decades of experience, there have been three major categories that we help companies just like yours:

  • We help your team save money.
  • We help your team avoid headaches.
  • We help your team see faster turnarounds and results.

We can handle a wide range of services. On the simpler side, we can just put together quick 2D drawings for you that are optimized for manufacturing. On the more complicated side, we can create scaled models of your entire manufacturing plant, including all of the equipment.

Our team of highly trained, expert-level engineers is here to help with any project that you might have. Across the board, you’ll appreciate the money and time you save when you choose to outsource the work.


As you just learned, outsourcing your engineering work is a new CAD drafting trend that saves you time and money. Our full-service outsource CAD team at CAD/CAM Services is here to help. We’ve created millions of CAD Perfect drawings, and we can help your team as well. Get a free quote today.

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