CAD: Computer-Aided Design

Read How I Got Into The Arts Here:

Important Things To Know:

The name is very simple—CAD, or Computer-Aided Design. In the real world, it’s anything but. CAD is a wildly deep and complicated topic that I myself am only beginning to scratch the surface of, and I’ve been using it for 10 years.

Computer-aided design is the use of computers to aid in the creation, modification, analysis, or optimization of a design. This software is used to increase the productivity of the designer, improve the quality of design, improve communications through documentation, and to create a database for manufacturing.

The first thing I tell people is that knowing and leveraging CAD doesn’t make me smarter than anyone else, doesn’t make me superhuman, it isn’t “cheating”, and it doesn’t devalue the work and art I make. CAD is simply a tool, or more-so a digital toolbox. And very powerful one at that.

So what is my favorite CAD program to use? It is one that I started for jewelry and continue to use this day: Rhinoceros 3D, or Rhino for short. It is a favorite amongst product designers and architects, because it can design both organically and also with very specific numbers and tolerances. This is important because it means you can design creatively but also in a way that allows you to reproduce it in the real world with great accuracy, not something every CAD program does.

The Rhino Interface. So. Many. Commands. This is an MGA sculpture in process.

So what do I use my CAD program for? Just about everything: quick conceptual sketches, graphic design, estimating materials, renders for scale and concept, technical drawings, final design, material layout, installation planning, etc etc. Throughout my posts, you’ll see me often refer to this digital toolbox.

What is my favorite thing to do in CAD? Conceptualize and Render. I love realizing loose ideas and using a computer rendering to convince someone of your dream. The worst part? Promising a lot and realizing that you actually have to make it. Engineering, budget constraints, etc; is never the fun part about making anything. The fun part is always the dream.


MGA‘s sculpture “Acumen”, pitch vs completion.


MGA‘s sculpture “Illumination”, pitch vs completion.


MGA‘s sculpture “Nurture”, pitch vs completion.

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