What is the Best CAD Software for Professionals?

Best CAD Software for Professionals

CAD Software is used by professionals in many industries such as civil engineering, auto-manufacturers, ship-builderers, and aerospace engineers. A good CAD software will allow you to create precise technical drawings that can be used be used in manufacturing, engineering and infrastructure processes.

Should I use Free Open-Source CAD software? (An Alternative to Autocad)

Contrary to popular belief, CAD software is not the same as AutoCAD. Within the CAD ecosystem, Autocad (a product of Autodesk) is just one of many CAD applications that are available. It just happens to be that a large number of engineering professionals get into the ecosystem of CAD applications via Autocad.

There are plenty of open-source and free CAD software, such as:

1) Freecad
2) DesignSpark Mechanical
3) Fusion 360
4) OnShape

For small-scale projects and students, it might be the case that the above-mentioned products are sufficient to meet your needs. However, professionals might have a different set of functional requirements that cannot be satisfied by an open-source product.

For professionals that need to use CAD software, some advantages of using a commercial package include:
1) Full set of advanced features such as 3D modelling, Project Collaboration, and Simulation.
2) Wide ecosystem of users means that technical support is more widely available.
3) Widely accessible BIM training programmes to help project managers onboard entire teams (or when an employee leave the company)
4) Facilitates collaboration assuming your industry peers are using the some software and file format.

What are some features you should expect from a professional CAD application?

The CAD & BIM demands of a professional engineering firm would differ from hobbyists and students. For example, with the advent of DFMA and BIM, 3D models have become a central part of any professional engineering workflow. That means that any professional-grade CAD application should be tightly integrated with 3D workflows.

Some of the top features of include:
1) Drawings Extraction: Automated 2D drawing extraction from 3D models.
2) Integration between 2D & 3D: 3D model updates are automatically reflected in 2D sheets.
3) Information rich deliverables: Links to details, plans, and sections are directly accessible from the 3D model, and BIM object properties are visible from tables.

MicroStation as a CAD Software for Professionals

Microstation is used by engineering professionals world-wide to create precise 2D and 3D drawings for infrastructure projects. MicroStation’s integration within the Bentley Systems ecosystem of products means allows users to access more advanced modelling software via their industry-specific applications.

With MicroStation, you can create annotation, display styles, generate paper plots and PDF files, and create reports from directly within the software.

Why is MicroStation the best CAD software for engineering professionals?

  1. It’s unique DGN, and imodel file format is computationally more efficient that other CAD formats, thereby allowing the 3D Design models to scale better.
  2. It’s integration with ProjectWise365 makes project collaboration between large teams more efficient.
  3. It has good compatbility with other common CAD formats such as DWF (Autocad)
  4. It’s suite of industry-focused applications are custom-built for specific engineering disciplines such as:
    Civil Engineering
    Plant Design
    Building Design

Interoperability with most other CAD software such as AutoCAD

Different users use different types of applications. Most consultants and building owners in Singapore submit their BIM deliverables in Revit or AutoCAD.

With Microstation, you can import up to 37 vector formats, 83 raster formats, and 17 point cloud formats such as:
– Revit
– DWG (The native file format for AutoCAD)
– 3DM

Most CAD applications are only able to open files in their native file format, so if interoperability is important to you, then Microstation would be a good fit.

Generate 2D CAD Drawings, Plan Sheets, and Section Views from 3D Model

In the following video, you can see how 2D detail drawings are extracted from the various viewpoints of the 3D model. Changes made in the 3D model are automatically reflected in the 2D sheet.

Ability to bring in point-cloud, reality models, and raster data directly into Microstation

Microstation supports 14 of the most used point cloud formats such as POD, BIN, CL3, FLS, FWS, LAS, PTG, PTS, PTX, 3DD, RXP, RSP, XYZ, IXF, E57, and TXTs.

With that you can visualise, render, and measure reality model data from within the application, and build your BIM model around the imported point cloud data.

Collaborate effectively in large teams

With ProjectWise365, you can fetch changes from cloud storage and also synchronise local changes to the cloud

Thanks to the use of project templates within MicroStation, organisations can now share organisation and project-specific standards across the organisation. Checking tools within Microstation will automatically verify, report, and fix standards compliance issues in the project.

What we have found beneficial to most organisations is to conduct standardised CAD/BIM training programmes* to ensure that entire project teams follow a common BIM workflow. This would ensure that the final BIM model would meet BIM execution plan standards.

Create effective client presentations

MicroStation gives you the ability to create animaions fromm directly within the software as it comes with existing libraries for incorporting environment data such as trees, people, and vehicles.

Which CAD Software is best for me?

While there are many free / commercial tools available, you have to decide which CAD software has the right set of features that meets your needs.

For large scale engineering projects (i.e. big data sets), and in professional settings that involve CAD/BIM worksharing between teams using a variety of CAD/BIM applications (as is typical in most government project workflows), picking a MicroStation would be a suitable choice.

As your next step, you can either schedule a technical demo for MicroStation or browse other discipline-specific BIM applications offered by Bentley Systems.