Skip to main content

INFOGRAPHIC: Computer-Aided Drafting and Design

100-PO028 (R 4/2018)

infographic about computer aided drafting and design

(Rachel Friederich , DOC Communications)

Text Version

Computer-Aided Drafting and Design (CAD)

Computer-Aided Design: the use of computers to design a 2-D or 3-D models of physical objects.

753: Number of certificates in computer-aided drafting and design classes inmates have earned since 1997.

Versatile Applications: Today, computer-aided drafting and design is not limited to just architecture. CAD technology is also used to make products in the aerospace, robotics, video gaming industry and medical fields, to name a few.

High Earning Potential: Median annual wage for machinists and tool die makers was $43,160 in 2016. The mean annual wage for drafters during the same period was $53,480 per year.

Pioneers of CAD:
  • Patrick Hanratty joined General Motors Research Labs and developed Design Automated by Computer, the first CAD system to use interactive graphics.
  • Ivan Sutherland was instrumental in 3-D computer modeling. He came up with “Sketchpad,” an interactive system that lets designers use a light pen to “draw” engineering designs directly on a computer.
Timeline: A Brief History of the Evolution of Computer-Aided Drafting
  • 1950s: The first CAD system was developed by the U.S. Air Force for use in a graphic air defense system.
  • 1960s: CAD incorporates 2-D geometry to depict height and weight of calculated objects. It also becomes a tool for drafting applications.
  • 1970s: Automated design and drafting systems become available.
  • 1980s: The first CAD system becomes available on personal computers. 3-D modeling emerges.
  • 1990s: CAD expands beyond engineering applications to architecture field.
  1. Washington State Department of Corrections Data & Analytics Unit, March 2018
  2. Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016-2017 Edition
  3. “CAD A Brief History,” Digital School Technical Design School of Canada
  4. “Computer-Aided Design,”