What is CAD File
A CAD file, short for Computer-Aided Design file, is a digital file format generated by CAD software programs. It serves as a blueprint or technical drawing of an object, containing both 2D and 3D designs. CAD files are widely used in the PCB industry for various purposes, from design to production.
These files can include not only the visual representation of the design but also important data related to materials, tolerances, and manufacturing processes. This comprehensive information enhances the accuracy and efficiency of the PCB manufacturing process.
CAD files come in different formats, and their compatibility with different CAD applications is determined by the file format. There are native formats specific to certain CAD software, as well as neutral formats that are industry standards and can be read by most CAD platforms.
Examples of neutral formats commonly used in the industry include IGES (Initial Graphics Exchange Specification) and STEP (Standard for the Exchange of Product Data). These formats facilitate interoperability between different CAD systems. On the other hand, major CAD vendors also have their own native formats, such as DWG (AutoCAD), CATIA, and SOLIDWORKS, which may require third-party tools or converters for compatibility with other CAD software.