Create technical drawing online: CAD programs and 3D component databases in a fascinating overview

Create technical drawing online: Introduction

At a time when the Digitisation permeates almost all aspects of our lives, online platforms for technical drawings have established themselves as a central pillar in the daily work of many professionals. For designers, engineers and other experts who need to visually represent technical concepts, these platforms have become an indispensable tool in their creative and constructive process.

Not only do they enable the creation of detailed and accurate drawings at the click of a mouse, but they also provide the flexibility to edit, save and share these designs in real time with colleagues around the world. The introduction of such online tools has profoundly changed the traditional design process, increasing efficiency, facilitating collaboration and creating new opportunities for innovation. In an increasingly interconnected world, these digital platforms offer numerous benefits and opportunities to both experienced professionals and newcomers to the industry.

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CAD's origins date back to the 1960s, when it was first introduced as a computer programme that helped engineers and architects create technical drawings digitally. What was once a luxurious and expensive tool that ran on mainframe computers is now accessible to almost everyone thanks to the internet and cloud technology.

The story

The online CAD world offers a wealth of possibilities. It's no longer just about drawing and designing on a computer. It's about accessing your designs from anywhere, sharing files in real time and collaborating with colleagues from around the world without the need for physical meetings or expensive software licences.

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In the modern business world, efficiency and cost-effectiveness are crucial, and Online CAD solutions have emerged as a key element in this equation. By using these digital tools, companies can make significant savings on operating costs. The traditional burden of purchasing expensive software licences for each individual employee, as well as investing in powerful and often costly hardware, is minimised by these online solutions. Instead of high one-off expenses, many online CAD services rely on flexible and affordable monthly subscription models. These models allow users to draft from virtually any device with internet access, be it a powerful office computer, a laptop or even a tablet.

This change in the cost model has significantly reduced the financial pressure that many companies were under. More importantly, it has democratised the market. Freelancers, small start-ups and young innovators, who may not have the financial resources for large initial investments, now find themselves in a position where they can actively operate in industries that were previously considered capital intensive and difficult to access.

Beyond the pure cost savings, the digitisation of the CAD process has also revolutionised the workflow itself. In the traditional CAD environment, making changes to a design - especially in large teams or when external stakeholders were involved - could be a lengthy process. Feedback had to be gathered, manually incorporated into the design and then sent out again for review. This cycle could take days or even weeks in complex projects. With online CAD solutions, this lengthy method is a thing of the past. Changes can now be made in near real time. A designer can make an adjustment and immediately send it to a colleague for review or approval, regardless of where that colleague is in the world.

The cloud storage

The introduction of cloud storage solutions into the CAD world has also addressed the problem of data loss and the Data backup approached. Designers and engineers used to spend hours backing up their work on physical media. Today, all changes are automatically stored in the cloud, minimising the risk of data loss due to hardware failure or human error.

However, it is important to stress that although online CAD solutions offer many benefits, they also come with their own challenges. Issues of data security, dependence on internet connections and adapting to new ways of working are just some of the considerations that companies need to take into account.

In conclusion, we are in an exciting phase of the evolution of CAD. The online CAD world has completely changed the landscape of technical drawing and offers tremendous opportunities for both long-established industry players and newcomers alike. It remains to be seen what further innovations the future will bring, but one thing is certain: the digitisation of CAD is here to stay.

What is Computer-Aided Design (CAD)?

Computer-aided design, often referred to simply as CAD, refers to the use of computer software to design, visualise and simulate objects. It can be used in a variety of industries, from mechanical engineering and architecture to animation and graphic design.

The origins of CAD date back to the 1960s, when the first software programmes were developed to help engineers and architects create technical drawings. These early systems were expensive, required specialised hardware and were mainly used by large companies.

However, as computer technology developed, CAD software became more accessible. Today, CAD programmes are an integral part of the design process in many industries and are essential for professional designers and hobbyists alike.

Advantage of CAD solutions

One of the main advantages of CAD over traditional hand-drawing is precision. With CAD software, designers can measure exactly how long, wide or deep an object is, and they can ensure that all aspects of their design are accurate. This is especially important in industries such as engineering or architecture, where precision can be crucial.

Another advantage of CAD is the ability to simulate models and designs. Before a physical product is manufactured, designers can use CAD software to test how it will perform under different conditions. This can save companies time and money by identifying and fixing problems before they go into production.

Furthermore, CAD also facilitates the change process. Instead of starting a drawing from scratch when a change needs to be made, designers can simply adapt the CAD model. This makes the design process more flexible and efficient.

Despite the many advantages of CAD, there are also some challenges. Learning to use CAD software can be time-consuming, especially for complex programmes. In addition, CAD software can be expensive, although there are many affordable and even free options available today.

Another important issue related to CAD is that of sustainability. With the ability to simulate and test products before they are manufactured, companies have the opportunity to make more sustainable design decisions. This can include choosing materials that are less harmful to the environment or designing products that are more durable and therefore need to be replaced less often.

In recent years, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning into CAD systems has further transformed the design process. These technologies can help designers find innovative solutions to complex problems and make the design process more efficient overall.

In summary, CAD is a transformative technology that has revolutionised the design process. With its ability to improve precision, efficiency and sustainability, CAD has not only changed the way products are designed, but also how we think about design.

The Autodesk Suite - Inventor and AutoCAD

When it comes to professional design and technical drawing software, the name Autodesk is often at the forefront. With a product line that spans 3D design, animation and modelling, Autodesk has revolutionised the way professionals in many industries work. Two products in the Autodesk Suite in particular - Inventor and AutoCAD - have established themselves as indispensable tools for engineers, architects and designers worldwide.

Autodesk Inventor - The standard for 3D CAD design

Autodesk Inventor is specifically designed for 3D mechanical design, documentation and product simulation. It enables engineers and designers to create and test highly complex parts and assemblies long before a physical product is built.

Main features of Inventor:

Parametric design: This allows users to create 3D models based on a set of predefined parameters and rules. This means that when a change is made to one location, the entire model is adjusted accordingly.

Assembly modelling: Inventor allows users to assemble individual parts into complex assemblies, ensuring that they fit and function correctly.

Product simulation: Before a physical product is manufactured, designers and engineers can use Inventor to run tests to ensure it works as intended.

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AutoCAD - The all-purpose tool for 2D and 3D design

Originally introduced in the early 1980s, AutoCAD is probably Autodesk's best-known product and is considered the industry standard for 2D and 3D CAD design. It is used by architects, project managers and engineers to create accurate 2D drawings and 3D models.

Main features of AutoCAD:

Versatile drawing tools: AutoCAD has a wide range of tools that allow users to create detailed and precise drawings, from simple lines to complex geometric shapes.

User-defined workspaces: Depending on their specific discipline, AutoCAD users can customise their workspace to meet their specific needs.

Mobile and web access: AutoCAD allows users to access and edit their drawings from anywhere, which is particularly useful when they are on the move or working with distributed teams.

Inventor vs. AutoCAD - Which tool is right for you?

Although there is overlap in their functions, Inventor and AutoCAD were developed for different purposes. Inventor is best suited for those who work with 3D design, especially in the field of mechanical engineering. AutoCAD, on the other hand, is a more versatile tool, suitable for both 2D drawings and 3D models.


Autodesk has truly revolutionised the way professionals in many industries work. Both Inventor and AutoCAD offer powerful features and tools that allow users to take their work to a new level. Choosing between the two really comes down to what your specific needs and goals are for your project.

Advantages of online CAD programmes

Technology has significantly influenced the field of technical drawing and design in recent decades. One particularly notable advance has been the development and proliferation of online CAD programmes. While computer-aided design (CAD) software has been around for some time, the shift to the internet has revolutionised the possibilities for designers and engineers worldwide. In this article we will explore the many benefits of online CAD programs.

1. accessibility

Perhaps the most obvious advantage: online CAD programmes are accessible from anywhere. As long as you have an internet connection, you can access, edit and share your projects whether you are in the office, at home or on the road. This offers tremendous flexibility and allows teams to work more efficiently and responsively.

2. collaborative work

Most online CAD platforms offer tools for collaboration. Several people can work on a project simultaneously, see changes in real time and give immediate feedback. This significantly shortens the revision process and facilitates communication, especially in large or distributed teams.

3. cost efficiency

Traditional CAD programmes can be expensive, both in terms of initial cost and the hardware required. However, many online CAD programmes offer subscription models, which are often cheaper and give businesses more financial flexibility. Furthermore, you don't need powerful computers as the calculations are done in the cloud and not on your local device.

4. automatic updates

Another advantage of online tools is that they are regularly and automatically updated. This means that users always have access to the latest features and security patches without having to manually install or update software.

5. data security and backup

Most online CAD platforms offer robust security protocols to ensure your data is safe. You also benefit from automatic backups. If your computer fails or a file becomes corrupted, you can rest assured that your work is safely stored in the cloud.

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6. integrated resources and libraries

Online CAD programmes often offer built-in libraries with a variety of resources, from materials to prefabricated components. This speeds up the design process considerably, as users do not have to create everything from scratch.

7. scalability

With online solutions, businesses can easily scale. As your team grows, you can easily add more licences or user accounts without worrying about hardware upgrades or software installations.

8. environmental friendliness

As online CAD programmes reduce the need for physical hardware and servers and often run on energy-efficient cloud servers, they can be seen as a greener option.


The benefits of online CAD programmes are many and offer significant advantages for both individuals and companies. In an age where speed, efficiency and flexibility are paramount, these online tools offer a powerful solution that meets the demands of modern design.

Introduction to 3D component databases

In the world of digital design and technical drawing, 3D component databases have taken on a central role. They serve as comprehensive resources that help engineers, architects and designers to design their projects more efficiently and precisely. But what exactly are 3D component databases and why are they so important? In this article we will explore these questions in more depth.

What are 3D component databases?

Strictly speaking, a 3D component database is a collection of digital 3D models of various components. These can range from simple screws and bolts to complex machine parts. Each component in the database is a detailed 3D model that can be imported into CAD software and used in larger designs or assemblies.

Why are 3D component databases so valuable?

Time saving: Instead of designing each component from scratch, engineers and designers can simply access the database and import the required component into their drawing or model. This speeds up the design process considerably.

Accuracy: The parts stored in databases are often industry standardised and meet exact specifications. Using these prefabricated parts ensures that the design is accurate and reliable.

Consistency: When teams around the world are working on projects, 3D component databases ensure that everyone has access to the same resources. This ensures that there are no discrepancies or inconsistencies in the design, regardless of where it was created.

Cost reduction: Creating 3D models of components can be expensive, especially if specialised software or expertise is required. By accessing a pre-built database, companies can significantly reduce these costs.

Examples for the use of 3D component databases

Mechanical engineering: Engineers can access databases to integrate standardised parts such as bearings, pulleys and gears into their designs.

Architecture: Architects can use 3D models of furniture, windows or doors to complete their building designs.

Electronics: Electrical engineers can access models of components such as resistors, transistors or ICs to create circuit diagrams and board layouts.

The future of 3D component databases

With advances in technology and the growing acceptance of Industry 4.0, 3D component databases are likely to become even more important. The integration of artificial intelligence could further automate the search and selection process of components. In addition, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) could be used to visualise components in real time in real environments before they are physically manufactured.


3D part databases are an invaluable tool in the modern design and engineering world. Not only do they provide an efficient way to speed up the design process, but they also help to ensure accuracy, consistency and quality in projects. In a world that is moving ever faster towards digitalisation, these databases will continue to play a central role.

Why 3D component databases are essential

The rapid development of technology has revolutionised the field of design and technical drawing. In this context, 3D component databases have taken on a key role. While we explored the basics of these databases in the previous chapter, we will now dive deeper into their importance and why they are essential in today's world.

1. standardisation

One of the main advantages of 3D parts databases is standardisation. Many of the parts stored in these databases conform to international or industry standards. This ensures that no matter where a product is designed or manufactured, it is consistent and compatible with other products or systems.

2. accelerated design process

As mentioned earlier, 3D databases allow designers to speed up the process significantly. Instead of creating each component from scratch, they can simply access the database and integrate the required component into their work. This not only saves time, but also valuable resources, especially in larger companies or for complex projects.

3. reduction of errors

People make mistakes, that is inevitable. However, when a designer has access to a database of pre-designed and tested components, the risk of design errors is greatly reduced. This can lead to significant cost savings, especially in industries where mistakes can be costly or even catastrophic.

4. topicality and innovation

Many 3D part databases are regularly updated to reflect new technologies or design methods. This ensures that designers always have access to the latest and greatest resources, which in turn encourages innovation.

5. sustainability and environmental compatibility

Using standardised components from a database can also help reduce waste and promote sustainability. When components are standardised and consistent, they are more likely to be reused or recycled rather than discarded.

6 Globalisation and cooperation

In a globalised world where teams are often spread across different continents, 3D component databases provide a common basis for collaboration. Whether a team member works in Berlin, New York or Tokyo, they can all access the same resources and ensure that their work is consistent and compatible.

7. education and training

3D component databases are also invaluable in education and training. Students or trainees new to a field can benefit from accessing these databases, as they give them a practical tool to develop and refine their skills.

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In today's digital and globalised world, 3D part databases are more than just a useful resource - they are essential. They drive efficiency, consistency, innovation and collaboration, and are likely to become even more important in the coming years as technology continues to advance and the way we work and design evolves.

3D printing: the perfect complement to online CAD and 3D component databases

In today's world where technology and innovation go hand in hand, 3D printing has seen a significant boom. Combined with the power of online CAD programs and 3D part databases, 3D printing opens up a wealth of possibilities for designers, engineers and creatives.

The rise of 3D printing

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is a process in which three-dimensional objects are created layer by layer from different materials. This can be anything from plastic and metal to ceramics or even biological material. The technology has developed rapidly in recent years, with the price of 3D printers dropping and the machines themselves becoming more powerful and versatile.

Synergy between 3D printing and online CAD

The combination of online CAD software and 3D printing provides a seamless link between the design process and physical production. A designer or engineer can design a part or product in CAD software, optimise it using a 3D part database, and then send it directly to a 3D printer to create a physical prototype or even a finished product.

Advantages of this combination

Rapid prototyping: Once designed, a product can be printed and tested in a very short time. This significantly speeds up the development process and allows for quick feedback and iteration.

Cost savings: Traditional manufacturing methods can be expensive and time-consuming, especially for small quantities or complex parts. 3D printing allows the production of single pieces or small batches at a fraction of the cost.

Personalisation: As each printed part is created from scratch, customisation and personalisation are easy to implement. This is ideal for customised products or special applications.

Sustainability: 3D printing can lead to less material waste as only the required material for the respective part is used.

Challenges and considerations

Of course, there are also challenges in integrating 3D printing into the design and production process. The quality and strength of 3D printed parts can vary, and there are still limitations in terms of the materials available and the size of the parts produced. It is also important to consider the cost of the printing itself and the purchase and maintenance of the printers.

Future prospects

The future of 3D printing in combination with online CAD and 3D part databases looks promising. As the technology evolves, we could soon be able to print even more complex and versatile parts, from electronics to biological tissues. The integration of artificial intelligence and machine learning could further automate and optimise the design and printing process.


The 3D printing offers an exciting complement to the possibilities of online CAD programmes and 3D component databases. Together, they make it possible to revolutionise the entire product development process, from the initial idea to the finished product. In a world that is constantly looking for faster, more efficient and more innovative solutions, this combination is a powerful tool in the hands of designers and engineers.