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Computer Aided Design (CAD) refers to the use of a computer to aid in the design and engineering of a product. There are many software packages that facilitate this but SolidWorks and Inventor are the two common ones in the Alberta manufacturing industry. CAD started off by offering a simple method for producing 2D drawings which replaced drafters hand drawing out prints.  Today, the CAD packages are highly complex 3d modeling platforms that really drive the whole manufacturing process.  Most good CAD software packages also include a method of performing FEA or other structural analysis to integrate engineering right into the design software.