CAD vs. CAM Software: What's the Difference?
Modern technological advances have gone a long way toward moving industries like software, engineering, and manufacturing to the next level. That’s led to the evolution of what users can accomplish with computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and computer-aided design (CAD) software.
Even though there are significant differences in how both technologies function, users involved with product design or manufacturing should have some familiarity with CAD and CAM software. That way, you can start to reap the benefits of combining the functions of both applications in a centralized platform like Easel.
What is the Difference Between CAD and CAM Software?
Manufacturing processes in the past tended to separate the tasks for designing and manufacturing products. That meant that you would have groups of users focused on specific functions, with little integration between the two.
That disconnect often led to last-minute changes that sometimes impacted product quality and overall cost. In addition, the lack of cohesion ran the risk of delaying the delivery of a product to market.
Below is an overview of the general functions of CAD vs. CAM software.
What is CAD Software?
Computer-aided design emerged from the automotive industry as engineers attempted to find ways to automate drafting processes. The aerospace field pushed the evolution of CAD software by using it to create computer models for simulation testing.
Over time, CAD software became a popular tool for creating 2D and 3D models of various products. Thanks to CAD software, engineers and designers no longer must work with manual tools like protractors or pencil and paper to create drafts.
Instead, each model segment is fed to a computer for review, updates, and approval. CAD software gives users the ability to streamline design workflows, which saves time and helps them achieve better productivity.
Professionals who use CAD software on a daily basis include:
What is CAM Software?
Computer-aided manufacturing software relies on computer numerical control (CNC) applications to translate CAD designs into machine instructions, or G-code. Those instructions are then used to drive the automation of various manufacturing processes.
For example, a designer might create a 2D image of a skirt meant for a new product line using CAD software. That drawing can then be fed to CAM software to guide the equipment responsible for cutting and constructing the clothing. Manufacturers can use CAM software to tell machines how fast they should move at different stages and the assembly order.
Can You Work With CAM and CAD Software Together?
Because design and process are so integral, it’s often beneficial to use CAD and CAM software in tandem. Inventable’s all-in-one CNC software platform Easel Pro combines the benefits of both technologies. Designers have access to intuitive tools and templates to create digital product models. In addition, the platform auto-generates optimized CNC toolpaths for production.
Integrating your CAD and CAM systems within Easel Pro helps you:
Reduce translation errors between CAD and CAM software
Create organized repositories for each file type for easy tracking and collaboration
Simplifies design-to-manufacturing workflows
Allows users to take advantage of automation