Alles over CAD software

Everything about CAD software

CAD software is essential in the processes of a large number of industries. From metal workers, architects and steel construction companies to product designers, facade construction companies and many other sectors. Find out what CAD software is, what types and features there are, how to choose the right CAD software and more.

Table of contents

  1. What is CAD software?
  2. CAD software in different industries
  3. 2D CAD vs. 3D CAD
  4. Essential functionalities of CAD programmes
  5. What does CAD software cost?
  6. What does CAD software deliver?
  7. CAD software inspiration
  8. Choosing and switching CAD software

What is CAD software?

CAD Software stands for Computer Aided Design Software. With CAD software, engineers and designers can make drawings and designs with computers. Think for example of a drawing for the construction of a facade, but also a drawing for a coffee machine or even a car. CAD software has an enormous range of applications and is used in all kinds of industries.

What is HiCAD?

HiCAD is the CAD programme of ISD Group. This CAD software is used in various industries such as mechanical and plant engineering, building and construction and product design and manufacturing. With 2D CAD and 3D CAD in one system, a modular structure for perfect adaptation to various industries and a high degree of automation, HiCAD is a unique CAD programme.


Wat is CAD-software

CAD software in different industries

Various industries use CAD software. Well-known industries that use CAD software are construction, architecture and product design. A lesser known application of CAD software is in the health care industry, where they use CAD to make prostheses. Or in interior design, where CAD software is used to create a good 3D image of the design. There are many more industries that use CAD software.

Read more about CAD software and HiCAD in various industries!


CAD-software in verschillende branches
HiCAD beste keuze



2D vs. 3D CAD

There are two types of CAD system: 2D CAD and 3D CAD. 2D CAD stands for two-dimensional Computer Aided Design and the one for 3D CAD stands for three-dimensional Computer Aided Design.

The differences between 2D CAD and 3D CAD

  • 2D CAD drawings contain only length and height dimensions. 3D CAD drawings show height, width and depth dimensions.

  • In 2D CAD drawings you can only represent 2D shapes, such as rectangles, squares and triangles. 3D CAD drawings can represent 3D shapes, such as cylinders, cubes and pyramids.

  • 2D CAD drawings consist of individual elements. A 3D CAD drawing shows the entire 3D model of a component. 

  • Because a 2D CAD drawing shows a flat component, it is more difficult to visualise what the component will look like after production. With a 3D CAD drawing, you can see immediately what the part will look like.

Choosing 2D or 3D CAD

Are you wondering whether you should choose 2D CAD software or 3D CAD software? 2D CAD software and 3D CAD software both have their own advantages.

The advantages of 3D CAD software:

  • 3D CAD software is becoming the new standard.
  • If you work with BIM, 3D CAD software is a necessity. 
  • With 3D CAD, you can let your client visualise the end product better than with 2D CAD, which means that less communication is required. 
  • With 3D CAD, you can automate more operations than with 2D CAD. 
  • 3D CAD allows you to control machines better than 2D CAD. 

The advantages of 2D CAD software:

  • Some customers and machines still work with 2D CAD drawings. With 2D CAD software, you do not need to convert these drawings. 
  • Experienced employees are often used to 2D CAD software. With 2D CAD software, you don't have to train your employees to use 3D CAD. 
  • 3D CAD is often more expensive than 2D CAD. 
Read more about the advantages and disadvantages of 2D and 3D CAD software here. Read more about 2D vs. 3D CAD in metalworking in this blog.

Voor- en nadelen CAD software

Combining 2D and 3D CAD in one system

Many suppliers offer only 2D or 3D CAD software and will say that it is not possible to merge them. HiCAD proves them wrong and combines 2D and 3D CAD in one system. This has great advantages.
  • Error reduction. Mistakes can occur when converting 2D CAD drawings to 3D CAD drawings. Having 2D CAD and 3D CAD in one system reduces the margin of error, as you can convert the drawings automatically.
  • Comfort. 2D CAD and 3D CAD can be used to create an overlap, which also makes measuring and comparing files easy. The software takes the measuring out of your hands. 
  • Time saving. Customers often deliver drawings in all kinds of file formats. If you can load, edit and convert each file format to your own standards, this saves a lot of time. Moreover, you do not have to switch between drawing packages. 

  • Cost savings. Fewer mistakes and more productivity lead to lower costs! 

Read more about the advantages of 2D and 3D CAD in one CAD programme here! Or watch the video showing advanced 2D/3D visualisations.

Foto ISD




Essential features of CAD programmes

There are many different CAD programmes, each with its own unique features. It depends on the industry which features of CAD software are the most advantageous. Nevertheless, there are also some general functionalities of CAD programmes which are necessary for every industry.

1. A user-friendly interface

The simpler, faster and more intuitive you can use a CAD programme, the higher your productivity. An additional advantage is that new draftsmen also learn the CAD programme faster if it has a user-friendly interface.

2. Strong automation capabilities

The more human actions you can automate with a CAD programme, the better. Consider, for example:
  • Automatic conversion of 2D CAD drawings to 3D CAD drawings
  • Automatic generation of production documents and direct control of production from a 3D CAD programme 
  • Automatic CAD drawing
  • Automatic generation of dimensioned sheet metal results

3. A modular structure of CAD programmes

A CAD programme works best if it can be optimally adapted to your company-specific requirements. With an extensive modular structure, you can choose the functionalities that suit you and omit those that have no added value for your company. This way, you get the most out of your CAD programme (and save unnecessary costs). For an example, read this customer story about the HiCAD roof and wall module.

4. Dynamic and parametric modelling in CAD programmes

With parametric modelling, you create a design based on the data and relationships between the various parts. In a parametric model, the CAD draftsman manually enters dimensions for each component and defines the parameters of the model. In a parametric model, you make a change at the push of a button. The associated parts change automatically on the basis of the defined parameters. In dynamic modelling, the parts of the design are not linked to each other and no parameters are defined. Each geometrical part can be changed independently by the CAD draftsman. 
Both forms of modelling have their own advantages and disadvantages. Dynamic modelling, for example, offers flexibility and speed in the design process, while parametric modelling offers a solution when exact dimensions are required for production. Therefore, it is very practical if you can use dynamic and parametric modelling in one CAD programme.

5. 2D and 3D CAD in one system

Although 3D CAD software is becoming the new standard in most industries, 2D CAD is still a widely used system which will not disappear completely. The reality is, therefore, that many 2D drawings still have to be converted to 3D and vice versa. Switching between two systems and converting drawings manually is time-consuming and error-prone. By combining 2D and 3D CAD software in one system, you increase your productivity and reduce the margin of error. 

Essential functionalities of CAD programmes

However, it is above all the industry-specific CAD functionalities that can make the difference. In facade construction, for example, a link with Logikal, working with point clouds, automatically filling facades with ALUCOBOND® or your own panels, and the ability to work with BIM are essential. As a facade builder, you can save time and avoid mistakes with these handy functionalities.

In the metalworking industry, on the other hand, for example, the automatic conversion and loading of sheet metal offers many advantages and saves time. In steel construction, the essential functionalities again depend on whether the company deals with standard steel constructions such as beams and profiles, or complex constructions such as staircases, fences and balustrades.

HiCAD in various industries

The modular structure of HiCAD enables companies from different sectors to choose exactly the functionalities that are important for them. Here you can see a helpful demo video of HiCAD for facade construction, metalworking and steel construction.

Foto ISD gebouw
Foto ISD lassen



What does CAD software cost?

We understand that you are wondering what CAD software actually costs. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. The costs of CAD software depend on many factors. For example, will you choose a standard CAD programme or a custom-made one? And do you opt for 2D CAD software, 3D CAD software or a CAD programme with both systems? It also depends on whether you choose a CAD software supplier or a real CAD software partner. A partner helps you to optimally set up your new CAD program, connects the software to your systems and existing processes, provides extensive training and support and helps you to get the most out of the software.
The following costs for CAD software are a minimum:
  1. Licence costs
  2. Implementation costs and staff training
  3. Future software updates
  4. Potential hardware costs
    (Does your current hardware support the chosen CAD programme / software update or does it require a hardware upgrade?)

What does CAD software deliver?

Besides the costs of CAD software, another important question is of course what CAD software yields. By working with smart CAD software, you can automate many tasks and perform them more efficiently, which saves you money. Do you want to know your Return On Investment when purchasing CAD software? Then make use of our no-obligation ROI calculation!

Alles over CAD software

CAD software projects as inspiration

CAD designers are coming up with more and more complex and inspiring applications for CAD programmes. For example, the Hourglass office and building complex (project by Byldis), whose facade was designed with the HiCAD CAD programme. Read the story of technical engineering firm Draw2design and why they use HiCAD from ISD Group in our customer case. 
More examples? Then take a look at our references.
ISD group

CAD-software ISD

Choosing and switching CAD software

Choosing a new CAD programme is a big decision for many companies. These do's and don'ts when looking for new CAD software will help you on your way.

Do's when switching to a new CAD  programme:

1. Find out exactly what your company needs in new CAD software.
What is your long-term vision and which CAD software functionalities belong to it?

2. Make a comprehensive comparison of different CAD programmes:
Of course, an extensive market survey of suppliers cannot be omitted when looking for new CAD software. Tip: note that CAD software often has a modular structure. Take this into account when comparing prices.

3. Talk to the parties on your shortlist.
Invite the remaining suppliers to a meeting and a demo. Although you can find a lot about CAD programmes online nowadays, a personal talk is still essential!

Don'ts when switching to a new CAD programme:

1. Be content with the supplier's stories.
The experiences of customers from your branch often tell you a lot about the CAD programme in practice. 

2. Forgotten to examine whether the CAD programme is future-proof.
Is the CAD software being developed further and do you, as a customer, have any influence on this? 

3. Focusing only on price.
CAD programmes can differ in price, but also in functionality. Try to look not only at the price, but also at the costs you can save by having just the one desired functionality that makes you more productive.

Want to receive a comprehensive guide on how to choose the right CAD software for your business? Then download our helpful CAD Software Buyers Guide!

Download the Buyers Guide here

Selecting a CAD software partner

Not only the right software, but also the right CAD partner is important for the success of your investment. These are the questions you should ask before engaging with a new CAD software provider. 
» Does the CAD software supplier suit your company? For example, is he familiar with your sector? And do their working methods fit in with your processes and company culture? 

» Does the CAD software supplier have good references? Existing customers often have valuable input that you can learn a lot from.
» How will the supplier implement the CAD software? How long will the installation take, for example, and will your draftsmen receive training? Read here how ISD ensures a smooth transition. 

» Does the CAD software supplier offer good service? The work of a good supplier only finishes when the software runs smoothly and all users can work with the new CAD programme.

» Will the supplier continue to develop the CAD software? The world of CAD is developing rapidly and you don't want to fall behind the competition because your software is not keeping up. At ISD, we have in-house software development, which means that our customers always have access to the latest technology.
Projet inspirant de TESIGN