History of CAD

History of CAD

Writing a book about the history of CAD is an almost insurmountable task. If we, the editors, engineers, and CAD experts at Shapr3D were to accomplish this task, we’d most definitely fall short of the mark while spending countless hours with it.With over 80 years (and counting), the storied past of CAD slowly became the stuff of legends.

Today’s industry veterans might know a thing or two about the pioneers of the ’50s and ’60s, but the experts of tomorrow might even look at AutoCAD as a thing of the past.

David E. Weisberg chose to tell the story of CAD at the right moment: by still being able to interview the first key figures of a nascent technology, Weisberg gave a recollection of events, landmarks, and actors with accuracy that would be unattainable today.This digital edition of the original tome of around 650 pages is broken down into separate blog posts as per the author’s original  chapters. By hosting this all-encompassing timeline of the history of CAD, we hope to offer our readers the in-depth look at the very origins of the industry, all the way to the early ’00s and modern-era CAD.

The late David E. Weisberg’s The Engineering Design Revolution is published on the Shapr3D Blog with the approval of the author’s relatives.

The People, Companies and Computer Systems That Changed Forever the Practice of Engineering
By David E. Weisberg

This book has been over five years in the making and is now freely available on this web site for your personal use. It can be read online or downloaded and printed for your later perusal. If a company wishes to produce multiple copies of specific material, please contact me at the address below.

In return for free access to over 650 pages of material discussing the people, companies and products that made the CAD industry what it is today, I am asking readers contribute whatever they wish to a foundation that means very much to me. In the mid-1990s I lost both of my sisters to cancer. I am sure many of you have also had relatives and acquaintances struck by this disease. I became very active in a non-profit organization in Denver that raises funds for cancer research and patient support. The endowment portion of this organization is called Cancer League of Colorado Foundation. You can either make a check out to the Foundation and send it to me at the address below (U.S. funds only) or contribute through PayPal.

Sit back and enjoy a trip through the nearly 60 years that totally revolutionized the practice of engineering design. One final word before you start if you find any errors in this material or take issue with what I have written, please let me hear from you. Also, if you have photographs or illustrations you would like to see incorporated into this document, please forward them to me. Having this book online results in a dynamic document that I will update as needed in the future.

  1. Foreword
  2. Introduction
  3. Brief Overview
  4. Computer-Aided Design Strong Roots at MIT
  5. Research in the Second Half of the 1960s
  6. Civil Engineering Software Development at MIT
  7. The First Commercial CAD System
  8. Applicon
  9. Autodesk and AutoCAD
  10. Auto-trol Technology
  11. Bentley Systems
  12. Calma
  13. Computervision
  14. IBM/Lockheed/Dassault Systèmes
  15. Intergraph
  16. Patrick Hanratty and Manufacturing & Consulting Services
  17. Parametric Technology Corporation
  18. Structural Dynamics Research Corporation
  19. SolidWorks
  20. Siemens PLM Software (UGS)
  21. Tom Lazear and VersaCAD
  22. Miscellaneous Companies
  23. Analysis Companies

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