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Difference between CAD and CAM

CAD (Computer Aided Drawing / Drafting) e CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) they are computer technologies used mainly for the design and production of the product, in which the first is used in the design of the product through some design software while the second concerns the software for controlling machines in industries such as CNC machines.

CAD and CAM are the phases included in the production of a product. We try to understand the difference between CAD and CAM through the comparison table provided.

Comparative graph

Basis for the CAD CAMERA comparison
Basic CAD the implementation of digital computers in engineering design and production. CAM the implementation of computers in the transformation of engineering projects into final products.
Processes involved Definition of a geometric model, translator of definitions, geometric model, interface algorithm, design and analysis algorithms, editing and details, documentation. Geometric model, process planning, interface algorithm, NC programs, inspection, assembly and packaging.
require Project conceptualization and analysis. Control and coordination of the necessary physical processes, equipment, materials and labor.
software AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, CATIA, SolidWorks Siemens NX, Power MILL, WorkNC, SolidCAM

Definition of CAD

The CAD (Computer Aided Design) system generates mathematical models accurately sized based on user input. The individual models are then integrated as components of an assembly to create the final product through which it is possible to check the exact adaptation of the parts. Fully furnished 3D models of whole parts and assemblies for projects can be realized using three-dimensional CAD software. Even the drawings created can be examined from virtually any angle before manufacturing the product.

Definition of CAM

CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) yes is evolving as a central element in many productions. It includes a wide range of processes to be performed automatically such as cutting, turning, milling, milling, thermal cutting, engraving and even printing of solid materials. After designing and analyzing a product, it is produced where computers are involved in production, how to check if the product can be manufactured or produced with what process and how long it will take.

In simple terms, the IT system used in the planning, management and control of the operation of production plants is called CAM. In reality it preserves the material to a certain extent by carefully placing the components.

Key differences between CAD and CAM

  1. Computer-aided design (CAD) involves the use of computers to transform the elementary idea of ??the product into a detailed engineering design. Evolution includes the creation of geometric product models, which can be further manipulated, analyzed and refined. On the other hand, computer-assisted production (CAM) involves the use of computers to assist managers, production engineers and production workers by automating production activities and also controls machines and systems.
  2. The CAD includes processes such as the definition of the geometric model and the translation of the definition, the interface, the project and the analysis algorithm, the drawing up, the detail and finally the documentation. By contrast, the CAM involves processes such as geometric modeling, numerical control programs, interface algorithms, inspection, process planning, assembly and packaging.
  3. The CAM system requires the control and coordination of the physical process, equipment, material and work, while CAD requires conceptualization and analysis of product design.
  4. There are numerous CAD software, such as AutoCAD, Autodesk Inventor, CATIA and so on. In contrast, Siemens NX, Power MILL, WorkNC, SolidCAM are some examples for the CAM software.

Advantages of CAD

  • It minimizes the requirement for a huge number of an expensive designer in product design.
  • It can be used directly to generate cutting data for CNC machines.
  • Scaling, resizing changes in drawings and models is simpler, more automatic and more precise.
  • Storage and recovery of models is easier.
  • Project data can be shared in computerized production management systems.
  • You can examine precise 3D models before making expensive materials.
  • Increases production speed and requires less work.
  • Multiple copies can be stored, printed and electronically shared, eliminating the need to store large drawings.

Advantages of CAM

  • Production requires minimal supervision and can be performed during non-social working hours.
  • The less laborious production and saves on labor costs.
  • The machines are precise and the production can be repeated consistently with large batches.
  • The occurrence of a negligible error and the machines can run continuously.
  • The prototypes can be prepared very quickly for an inspection developed before finalizing the projects for manufacturing.
  • Virtual processing can be used to evaluate processing routines and screen outcomes.

Disadvantages of CAD

  • Power outages and viruses can be problematic for the computer system.
  • The industrial versions of the software could be very expensive to buy especially for start-up costs.
  • Traditional editing skills will be lost as soon as they are needed.
  • Expensive training would be required to use the software, which can take a lot of time and money.

Disadvantages of CAM

  • Requires a high initial investment and start-up costs.
  • Even expensive machine maintenance.
  • It can result in the loss of a workforce with high-level manual skills.
  • To ensure correct instrumentation and installation procedures, highly qualified operators and technicians are required.


Computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) are closely related terms used when computers are involved in the design and production processes of a product in CNC industries.