Computer Aided Design (CAD)

Learn online - 100 hour Computer aided design course applicable to anyone working in I.T., landscape design, product development, art, marketing, manufacturing or construction

Course Code: BIT209
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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Apply computer technology to design

  • Planning applications across a range of industries, including landscaping, construction, engineering, and manufacturing.

Computer-aided design (CAD has largely replaced manual hand drafting. It is a software programme that makes it easier to develop and visualise ideas, as well as alter and improve them. Although learning CAD can be difficult and time-consuming, it minimises the amount of time and effort required to develop visual renderings of designs.

There are numerous CAD software applications available, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Some are expensive, while others are completely free. They all follow the same design concepts. Many CAD software applications are based on the ADAM core system.

Some CAD programmes are solely for design. In certain cases, the design function is included as part of a bigger software package. 

Lesson Structure

There are 10 lessons in this course:

  1. Scope & Nature of Computer Aided Design
    • History of Technical Drawing
    • History of CAD
    • Why CAD?
    • Overview of Applications of CAD
    • Solid Modelling or Manufacturing
    • Surface Modelling
    • Assembly
    • Drafting Detailing
    • Reverse Engineering
    • Scanners
  2. Types of CAD Software
    • CAD System Components
    • Popular CAD Software
    • Create a CAD Project
  3. CAD Design Principles
    • Basics of CAD
    • Cartesian Coordinate System
    • Spatial Reasoning
    • Orthographic Projections
    • CAD Design General Principles
    • CAD Design Process
    • CAD Design Effective Use Principles
  4. Landscape Mapping and Planning
    • Plan Types
    • Site Plan/Base Plan
    • Topographic Plan
    • Concept Plan
    • The Final Plan
    • Other Plans
    • How Landscape Plans are Presented
    • Steps In The Design Procedure
    • Landscape Graphics
    • Surveying and Measurement
    • Levelling
    • Area Measurement
    • Measurement of Volume
    • Earthworks
    • Limitations of CAD in Landscape Design
  5. Construction and Engineering
    • CAD in Construction
    • Building Information Modelling
    • Application to Construction
    • Types of Drawings
    • Architectural Drawings
    • Building Services Drawings
    • Miscellaneous Drawings
    • Submission Drawings, Models, Environment Plans
  6. Architecture and Urban Planning
    • CAD Modelling
    • Urban Planning
    • Architecture
    • Architectural Views
    • Using Templates
    • CAD visualisation
    • Virtual Tours
    • Risk Management
    • Risk Identification
    • Risk Assessment
    • Building Information Modelling
    • Optimisation
  7. Manufacturing
    • Computer Numerical Control
    • Computer Aided Manufacturing
    • Aerospace
    • Automotive
    • Technology
    • Benefits
    • Design
    • Financial
    • Tooling
    • Outsourcing
    • Quality and Inspection
    • Logistics
    • Green Strategy
  8. Rapid Prototyping
    • Why Rapid Prototyping is Important
    • The Prototyping Process
    • Types of Rapid Prototyping
    • Additive Manufacturing
    • Binder Jetting
    • Other Manufacturing Techniques
    • High Speed Machining
    • Laser Cutting
    • Water Cutting
    • Electrical Discharge Machining
    • Extruding, Moulding, Casting
    • Injection Moulding
  9. 3D Printing
    • History of 3D Printing
    • Types of 3D Printing
    • 3D Scanners
    • Types of Software
    • Slicer Software
    • Type of Printing Materials
    • Advantages and Disadvantages of 3D Printing
    • Applications of 3D Printing
    • The Future of 3D Printing
  10. Further Applications
    • Enhanced Reality
    • Augmented Reality
    • Virtual Reality
    • Mixed Reality
    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Generative Design
    • The Cloud
    • Customisation and Other Applications

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Discuss the scope and nature of computer-aided design.
  • Compare characteristics of different types of CAD software.
  • Outline broad underlying principles of computer aided design.
  • Explain CAD applications for land mapping, planning and earthworks.
  • Explain CAD applications in construction and engineering.
  • Explain the importance of CAD in architecture and urban planning.
  • Explain CAD applications in manufacturing.
  • Explain CAD applications for rapid prototyping.
  • Explain CAD applications for 3D printing
  • Determine further applications for CAD.

What You Will Do

  • Talk to someone who has got some knowledge in CAD about the advantages of using CAD over manual drafting and the best CAD software they recommend for a beginner.
  • Install any open-source CAD software (example: FreeCAD) on your computer and try to learn about its characteristics of it and the different modelling types used in that software.
  • Choose any design project of your choice and try to follow the CAD design process. Make notes on your approaches to conception, design, validation, and presentation steps of the design process.
  • Design a garden/ lawn for your house and make a drawing. Make sure you present all the required information accurately and clearly.
  • Install any open-source CAD software in your computer. Explore the architectural drawing options in that software. Try to create the drawing of any project of your choice using the tools available.
  • Write down your understanding of urban planning. Try to draw a rough plan for a neighbourhood consisting of houses, a library, government offices, and a school.
  • Using a CAD model design of your own or finding one that interests you online, make notes on the process to turn the design into a finished product using a 3D printer of your choice.



Any design process will have underlying principles which inform and guide the activity being undertaken. In the case of CAD these principles have developed based on how the technology itself was created. These principles in turn have led to a sequential design process based on how a CAD system operates.

As you appreciate CAD design principles, you will recognise each discipline that makes use of the technology has its own set of principles which that discipline uses to inform its designs. For example, an architect will pay attention to symmetry, focus points and aesthetics as well as function, but a manufacturer will be more concerned about optimal production flow and reducing costs.

A basic concept that underpins CAD is the Cartesian Coordinate System.
The location of a point in the plane or three-dimensional space can be specified using Cartesian coordinates. A point's Cartesian coordinates (also known as rectangular coordinates) are a two-dimensional pair of numbers or a three-dimensional triplet of integers that provide signed distances from the coordinate axis.

The x-coordinate axis and the y-coordinate axis are used to specify Cartesian coordinates in the plane. The intersection of the x and y axes is the origin. A point in the plane's Cartesian coordinates is expressed as (x, y). In three-dimensional space, the Cartesian coordinate system is based on three mutually perpendicular coordinate axes: the x-axis, the y-axis, and the z-axis. If it is in three dimensions, there will be one more axis called z-axis and the point will be expressed as (x, y, z).

Spatial Reasoning then comes into play. Spatial reasoning is the ability to see a 2- or 3-dimensional object and manipulate it in a useful way. This often means taking an object, visualizing a pattern, making a judgement based on the pattern, and then solving a problem. It may involve rotating designs to view them from alternative angles, assembling (or disassembling) designs from component parts, or identifying objects in a design by their unique surface features. As designs are made up of lines and shapes, the ability to make spatial connections between them is an important skill in many technical disciplines and a core requirement in CAD. The ability to see how different parts of a plan or design connect and/or interact makes all the difference between an effective functional design and one not fit for purpose.


  • Draftsmen, designers, product developers, IT professionals, even film makers
  • Landscape designers, architects, interior designers
  • Engineers, planners, scientists, property developers
  • Manufacturers, builders, innovators and inventors
ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.
ACS Distance Education holds an Educational Membership with the ATA.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
Member of Study Gold Coast Education Network.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Learning Cloud is Affiliated with ACS Distance Education
Learning Cloud is Affiliated with ACS Distance Education

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

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What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exam and you will be able receive your course certificate- a Statement of Attainment. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

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Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
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You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

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We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Rajy Xavier

An Electrical Engineer with 12 years of experience in Engineering and Education. After completing masters in Telecommunication Engineering, she worked as an Assistant Professor in Electrical Engineering for 5 years.

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