Creating an amazing prototype in AutoCAD: The process, tips and tricks

The creation of AutoCad was a true revolution in the 3D modeling industry. They were first on the market, and they are still thriving and used by professionals thirty years later.

Any engineer can state that AutoCad is an irreplaceable tool and the plethora of its features has almost an infinite number of ways to use it.

We can write a whole saga about all the amazing things you can do in AutoCAD, but today we will focus only on some of them. Let’s look at how you can create an outstanding prototype in AutoCAD software.

The process of creating AutoCAD models and prototypes

Every product you have on your shelf, in your hands, or overall in your home once went through the process of product prototyping.

The process usually involves three crucial steps: drawing a concept sketch by hand, creating a digital model in AutoCAD, and then making a physical copy of your product.

On the first, arguably the most important part of the whole process, you need to come up with your design and hand-draw it on a piece of paper. It is useful to add as many details as you can at this stage of the process because you don’t really know what will work out in the end and what will be tossed into the trash.

Next, you have your detailed concept sketch, and it is time to make its digital copy in AutoCAD. You can create a 2D or 3D render of your product, depending on your needs. This prototype is needed for creating a physical prototype and the product itself in the future.

Now we are on the final stage, and we use 3D printing or one of the types of rapid prototyping (there’s a lot of them on the market) to create a physical embodiment of your idea. Now you only need to refine your prototype to make it look exactly right, and that’s it!

Advantages of AutoCAD for Prototyping

The first and foremost advantage of the program is an abundance of features that can be used to prototype pretty much every type of design: from urban development and machinery to interior design and sculpture creation.

You can choose from a line of products the exact software you need for your specific prototyping requirements. You can use a couple of AutoCAD products simultaneously because all of them were built on the same basis.

AutoCAD has pretty frequent software updates and a very flexible design. You can customize your AutoCAD workplace according to your preferences and need to use the exact number of tools you want in this particular project.

And lastly, AutoCAD gives you very realistic, even photorealistic prototypes, so usually, what you see on your monitor, you will get in real life mockup.

Disadvantages of AutoCAD for Prototyping

AutoCAD drawings could not be used to edit in other tools, and AutoCAD can’t edit drawings created in other graphic programs.

Some features of AutoCAD are too old. The program has existed for decades, and it shows in different areas that may look confusing to some users. Newer software like 3D max looks much more intuitive compared to AutoCAD.

You can’t look back at the history of creating your project because AutoCAD does not support it. That’s why you usually need to record your creative process to have some backups of it (more on this later).

Also, AutoCAD does not have a feature of 3D parameterization, which can be crucial for some users. And the last thing that is a serious con against AutoCAD is its high requirements: you need a pretty powerful PC or Mac (if you use AutoCAD for Mac) to use the software to the fullest.

Tips and tricks

To finish our article, we would like to share some of our favorite tips and tricks we learned during these years spent with AutoCAD. Some of them were literal lifesavers for us multiple times.

  1. Use hyperlinks on your objects to add specification information, links to a manufacturer, or any other info that can be useful later.
  2. Files in AutoCAD can be hefty, and if you need to reduce the size of your project and don’t lose anything, consider using blocks for it. Yes, it really works!
  3. Always record your creative process in AutoCAD in case you will need proof that you came up with the idea or if you lost the digital prototype. Videos speak much louder than words, and the creative process captured with Lightworks or Movavi software will help you to patent your product and protect it in the future.
  4. Did you know that AutoCAD has more than a hundred shortcuts? Of course, they can change your life completely, so check out the full list here.
  5. If you need to get an image from your AutoCAD project and it needs to have a high resolution (which simple screen capturing will never give you), use Publish to web plot drivers to get an image in almost every format!
  6. AutoCAD has numerous add-ons for any circumstances. One of our favorites is the TRANS add-on that will allow you to translate texts in your project into one of the given languages. Of course, this method is not perfect because the add-on uses Google Translate for this matter. However, if you have a text in your project that needs to be presented in several languages and you can proofread it later, this add-on can become your new magic tool.


AutoCAD is a market leader, and prototypes created with this mastodon of the software world are usually impeccable.

If you need to create and make real your design idea, there’s no better tool than AutoCAD for sure. It will allow you to create a high-quality digital copy of your design and make it real through 3D printing.

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