other companies began to offer automated design/drafting systems
in early 70s.
Applicon was more a research-oriented company. In the mid 80s it
was acquired by Schlumberger and then merged with MDSI which Schlumberger
had acquired earlier.
was originally a manufacturer of digitizer used in mapping and
integrated circuit manufacturing, and starts to move to the graphic
industry at the same time.
In mid 80s Calma was acquired by General Electric and then sold
to Prime Computer.
1973, the Hillman Trust purchased Auto-trol. That same year, Auto-trol
emerged as a pioneer in the fledgling CAD industry by announcing
Auto-Draft, one of the first turnkey graphics systems available.
was also a significant amount of internal development at major automotive
and aerospace firms like General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and Lockheed,
which work hard, on CADAM.
1970 M&S Computing founded (later becomes Intergraph). At the
beggining it was a consulting firm that supported government agencies
in using digital technology. Among these technologies were application-oriented
user interfaces that communicated with users in the language of
their applications, rather than in programming terminology.
The first Intergraph computer graphics system to apply these innovative
computing concepts was used by the federal government for designing
printed circuit boards.
in 1971, Donald Welbourn had become Director in Industrial Co-operation
and Director of the Wolfson Cambridge Industrial Unit. He persuaded
the Pye Foundation to support T.H.Gossling, a member of the Unit,
in developing DUCT.
Control Data had also become interested in the work, seeing it as
a front end for creating Finite Element meshes. As a result of this
industrial support, Welbourn, had been able in 1974 to get a grant
from it for Dr.R.B.Morris and Dr.J.Matthewman to continue developing
The Science Research Council had said that this work was no longer
research, while industry was saying that a lot more development
Faced with a potential disaster vis-à-vis the DTI, Welbourn took
the direction of the work back into his own hands. and started systematically
to test the programs, and the instruction manuals.
This resulted in a quality of handbook which was partly responsible
for VW and Daimler-Benz taking licenses for DUCT, since they said
that they had never seen such clear instructions produced by any
firm, let alone by a university.
Welbourn never did any of the programming in connection with the
work, but made it his job to set targets for what needed to be done,
to get money and to get able staff to do the work. In the early
stages of the work, up to the oil crisis of 1973, he had got a dozen
or so firms to second men to work with the team in Cambridge, thus
enabling the firms to get experience of CAD without having to find
the capital for a dedicated computer.
was founded in 1971 by Dr. Patrick J. Hanratty. Since the day it
was founded in 1971, MCS has enjoyed an enviable reputation for
technological leadership in mechanical CADD/CAM software.
In addition to selling products under its own name, in its early
years MCS also supplied the CADD/CAM software used by such companies
as McDonnell Douglas (Unigraphics), Computervision (CADDS), AUTOTROL
(AD380), and Control Data (CD-2000) as the core of their own products.
In fact, industry analysts have estimated that 70% of all the 3-D
mechanical CADD/CAM systems available today trace their roots back
to MCS's original code.
first product, ADAM (Automated Drafting and Machining), was released
in 1972, ran on 16-bit computers, and was one of the first commercially
available mechanical design packages.
1972 the CUED was able to obtain two 3-axis n/c machine tools with
a DTI grant to help the m/c tool industry, thus enabling the work
in CAD to be expanded into CAM.
One of these, a Hayes milling machine, went onto the firm's stand
at the Machine Tool Exhibition at Olympia that Autumn, and thanks
to a sterling effort by P.J.Payne, a jug-like object, was cut on
This was probably the first ever public demonstration of 3-D CADCAM
at a machine tool exhibition.
1972: The earliest
Intergraph (M&S Computing) terminal was designed to create and display
graphic information. Composed of unaltered stock parts from various
vendors, the terminals consisted of a single-screen Tektronix 4014
display terminal with an attached keyboard and an 11-inch by 11-inch
"menu" tablet that provided the operator with a selection of drawing
the end of 1973 and the beginning of 1974 a number of firms had
paid the WCIU to make simple tools for them. These were probably
the first industrial tools, other than those for automobile bodies,
to be made using CADCAM.
They were both programmed by T.H.Gossling, and made in the CUED
In 1974 the
first commercial sale of an M&S system. The system - based on a
PDP central processor from Digital Equipment Corporation - ran the
first version of Intergraph's original core graphics software, the
Interactive Graphics Design System (IGDS), and was used for mapping
Data System Corporation (EDS) is founded in 1975
major improvement was the new 19" display terminals from Tektronix
in 1975, which allows to display larger drawings than the original
1975 Avions Marcel Dassault (AMD) purchased CADAM (Computer-Augmented
Drafting and Manufacturing) software equipment licenses from
Lockheed thus becoming one of the very first CADAM customers.
solid modeling software first started showing up in the late 70s.
Taking basic geometric objects such a sphere, block, cylinders and
wedges and combining them using Boolean operations such a remove
a cylinder from a block to create a hole.
In 1976, MCS
introduced AD-2000, a design and manufacturing system for the first
1976 United Computing, developer of the Unigraphics CAD/CAM/CAE
system, acquired by Mc Donnell Douglas company.
1977, Avions Marcel Dassault assigned its engineering team the goal
of creating a three-dimensional, interactive program, the forerunner
of CATIA (Computer-Aided Three-Dimensional Interactive Application).
Its major advance over CADAM was that all-important third dimension.
While CADAM automated the existing world of two-dimension engineering,
essentially drafting and calculation with roots in descriptive plane
geometry, CATIA lifted Dassault engineers into the world of 3-D
modeling, removing the possibility of misinterpreting two-dimensional
data and generating a host of immediate benefits.
1977 a new department called Delta Technical Services was formed
at Cambridge University to continue research in CAD, but it remained
difficult to justify the technology as computers were slow and expensive
and the available software had few automatic features and was difficult
1978, Computervision introduced the first CAD terminal using raster
In the late 70s, Computervision made a costly decision to build
their own computer system.
Once the new 32-bit systems replaced the old systems, Computervision
was no more on the first line and switched to Sun Microcomputers.
Finally it was acquired by Prime.
1978 the Computer Graphics Newsletter, a 2 years old publication,
change the owner and will become Computer Graphics World magazine.
In 1979, Auto-trol
became the first company to market technical publishing applications
to be used to produce the complex technical illustrations needed
for service manuals, parts catalogs, and engineering documentation.
1979 Boeing, General Electric and NIST develops a neutral file format
as a contract from Air Space called IGES (Initial Graphic Exchange
It will become the industry standard format and the most widely
accepted format for transferring complex surface information, such
as NURBS curves.
the same time Cymap, an English company, starts developing HVAC
and Electrical drawings software. Their major product will be CADLink.
Mike and Tom Lazear
who are credited with developing the first PC CAD software in 1979
the end of 70s a typical CAD system was a 16-bit minicomputer with
maximum of 512 Kb memory and 20 to 300 Mb disk storage at a price
of 125,000 USD.