What are the seven essential features of a CAD software?

What are the seven essential features of a CAD software?

The CAD software must have all the necessary features to address your needs. To choose your computer-aided design (CAD) software, you need to take into account the current issues specific to your business! What are the challenges that professionals encounter for designing parts and machines?

  • Strict delivery time requirements: new consumer habits and the rise of Industry 4.0 are making delivery times even shorter, so compliance is urgent.
  • Competition is increasing: in this context, the company must improve performance and make a difference in its market.
  • Just-in-time logistics require optimized stock management.
  • New quality standards are emerging, traceability must be implemented in an exemplary manner.
  • The technicalities of the business are constantly evolving: faced with this fact, the company must surround itself with personnel that is not only qualified but also regularly trained.

To fully meet these challenges, equip yourself with a CAD software with seven key features.


#1 A modern and ergonomic user interface

The first essential feature of the CAD software: its user interface. The way in which the tool is controlled and operated has a direct impact on the final productivity. The easier and faster the software is to use, the more productive the user becomes.

  • The commands must be designed according to modern conventions: copy and paste, drag & drop, contextual menus, etc. to allow the user to immediately adapt to the new tool.
  • Access to the commands should be easy, fast and intuitive, in order to optimize the user’s working time.

Choose a CAD software with a modern and ergonomic user interface: you reduce the learning curve and you can work faster.


#2 Associativity, a guarantee of reliability

Associativity automates the updating of one element with respect to another. The designer can therefore easily modify his construction history: the associated operations are automatically updated.


  • Moving a screw automatically moves the holes.
  • Changing a chassis length automatically changes the positioning of the associated components.

With associativity, a key feature of good CAD software, you can drastically reduce the risk of errors or omissions when updating an element. And therefore, you can save time in the design process. So be sure to choose a tool that allows associative or parametric design.


#3 Choice in design methods

A good CAD software offers three design methods.

  • “Bottom-up” design: this is the simplest method which consists of first designing the parts individually, and then assembling them. This is the principle of LEGO®! The assembly is then a succession of predefined part positionings.
  • “Top-down” design: conversely, the designer starts from the constraint, then deduces the necessary assemblies and parts.
  • “In-place” design: a variation of top-down design where parts are designed in their assembly context. The designer then has the advantage of simplicity for the creation of connecting parts, in particular.

The relevance of which method to be used varies from one profession to another. A manufacturer of highly standardized products will favor the Bottom-up method, while a subcontractor who works “on the case” will favor the Top-down method, for example. In any case, the three methods are complementary. To take advantage of your CAD software, make sure that the tool offers these three powerful design methods: maximum flexibility in choice and the precious opportunity of complementary methods.


#4 Smart components

User productivity increases as good standard components are created. For this purpose, your CAD system must provide the appropriate features. Unique smart components, process management, installation wizards, etc. allow you to store user know-how. Ultimately, the design is accelerated: the productivity gain is obvious.


TopSolid CAD/CAM Product Range

#5 Design documentation tools

Once completed, the design must be documented. This includes generating exploded views, assembly instructions, bills of materials, etc. These features are essential to get the most out of your CAD software. The tool must therefore make it possible to easily generate all useful production documents from an assembly.


#6 A detailed and standardized drawing

Despite the increasing use of 3D, detailed and standardized drawings of the designs are still often necessary, “the drawing is authentic!” Your CAD software must therefore integrate a powerful automated drawing module, to perform this task quickly when necessary.


#7 Change management tools

When choosing your CAD software, the extent and performance of the modeling features are essential criteria, but are not sufficient! The designer also has to deal with management issues. Changes to the specifications during the design process are common practice, so the tool must offer intuitive and powerful features for this purpose. To manage all types of modifications, without wasting time or reliability, choosing a PDM is then crucial. Therefore, you should choose a fully integrated PDM, which will allow you to track changes during the design process. From simple part number change to more complex modifications (interchanging parts, for example), pay attention to the extent of the PDM capabilities of your CAD software.


TopSolid is designed to address all the current challenges faced by professionals when designing parts and machines. TopSolid integrates the essential features of a good CAD software. In addition, you benefit from close support for the deployment of your new solution. Beforehand, evaluating your needs allows us to define the features of your tool according to your working methods. Afterward and in the long term, our technical support, everywhere in France and around the world, is available and responsive for beneficial proximity.


Interested in deploying a CAD software perfectly adapted to your needs? Contact us!

Why does CAD/CAM allow you to add new markets and also earn money?

Why does CAD/CAM allow you to add new markets and also earn money?

While many companies have not yet acquired their own CAD/CAM solution, the fact remains that a well-thought-out CAD/CAM solution can be a great ally in growing your business. How can CAD/CAM allow you to add new markets? What are the main criteria to take into account when choosing a CAD/CAM solution? Our answers.

A CAD/CAM to add new markets

Regardless of the type of business, part programming without a CAD/CAM solution, although possible, very quickly reaches a certain limit in terms of technicality and quality. While using a manual and conversational programming “genius” may seem like a viable option, it is nonetheless unrealistic and resolutely limited for large-scale production capacity.

For many companies, equipping themselves with a CAD/CAM solution not only allows them to develop additional technical programming skills, but also represents a significant lever to be able to respond to numerous requests for tenders, which were previously declined.

Better performance, lower costs: there are many advantages to using a CAD/CAM system:

  • Less tool wear
  • Less waste
  • Less machine downtime
  • Better rationalization
  • etc.

In a development logic, the acquisition of an efficient CAD/CAM is a key step for companies. Whatever the specialization of the company, CAD/CAM becomes an ally of machines and human resources, and leads the company towards markets that were previously inaccessible due to a lack of resources. With the ability to produce more, in less time, the company can therefore go further, expand its offer, enter new markets and increase its turnover.


Choosing a CAD/CAM software that supports your growth

Though the added value of a CAD/CAM software is already proven, it is still necessary to choose the solution best suited to your needs, which will help you to expand your business. What are the focal points to be taken into account?


Benefits of a fully integrated CAD/CAM solution

Not all CAD and CAM solutions are created equal. Some solutions only offer the Computer Aided Manufacturing option, i.e. only the part relating to the programming of CNC (Computer Numerical Control Machines). In this case, it will be difficult for users to design their own parts to be machined or define a machining setup. To address this situation, users tend to add a CAD solution to their CAM solution. We can therefore talk about a “partially” integrated solution. And for good reason, since the exchanges between the two solutions are not “native”, they are often more difficult to master, not always reliable and even sometimes hazardous.

While a CAD/CAM solution is intended to support the company in its development, choosing a fully integrated solution is preferable. The union between Design and Manufacturing is therefore natively made, and communication between the two entities is direct, optimal and without any ambiguity.



TopSolid CAD/CAM Product Range

Criteria to be taken into account

A CAD/CAM solution must be a complete, flexible, modern and easy to use tool. It must therefore:

  • Offer a range of possible simple features that can be quickly assimilated by an experienced professional, but also by a new employee discovering the company and its specificities in machining.
  • Be perfectly compatible with the company’s means of production, in particular the machines to be driven and their diversity –  language, technology (3x,4x,5x, turning, mill-turn), their size, their complexity (multi-spindle, multi-table, head attachments, etc.).
  • Be perfectly compatible with the expected manufacturing needs. The software tool must be able to meet the company’s machining needs and manufacture the customer’s parts.

If it responds to these various challenges, a CAD/CAM solution is a way for the company to be more efficient in its production:

  • Reducing programming times
  • Reducing machining times
  • Improving quality (less waste)
  • Reducing costs
  • Being more competitive in the face of the competition, either in terms of time or price
  • And therefore gaining more market share

Advantage of teaching CAD/CAM nationally

In addition to the performance of the CAD/CAM solution, favoring a solution that is taught at the national level represents added value and potential for companies looking for development. The fact that a CAD/CAM solution is taught at the national level is not only a guarantee of confidence, but it also represents a major advantage for companies in terms of human resources management: easier recruitment, faster integration, increased productivity, etc.


TopSolid, a growth partner for companies

For more than 30 years, TopSolid has been adapting its offer to the needs of the market in which it operates. A CAD/CAM solution acclaimed by teachers, TopSolid can be proud of offering a “fully” integrated digital channel. Responding to the growth and development challenges faced by many companies, regardless of their size, today we are proud to contribute to their acquisition of new markets and their prosperity. To find out to what extent CAD/CAM can be a lever for performance and growth, there is nothing like seeing it with your own eyes: our customers In Bo and VCN Industries (videos available in French).

Which CAD/CAM solution should you choose for the production of single parts, small, medium, or large quantities?

Which CAD/CAM solution should you choose for the production of single parts, small, medium, or large quantities?

In an ultra-competitive market, companies are confronted with the increasing reactivity from professionals in their market. A reactivity that they must match, or better yet, surpass. At the other end of the commercial supply chain, the customers themselves are raising their level of demand. In a technological context of process automation, where AI allows for extra confidence in speed and reliability, customers feel justified in demanding impeccable results within a short timeframe. Two significant – and closely related – objectives are emerging: to produce quickly and satisfactorily.


To be more competitive, maintain your business relationships, and attract new customers, you need to produce your parts according to your customers’ requests, at the best price, and within the required deadlines. The challenges remain the same in the production of single parts, small, medium, or large quantities. How to address them? By equipping yourself with a high-performance and adapted computer-aided design and manufacturing tool. Which CAD/CAM solution should you choose for the production of single parts, small, medium, or large quantities? Here is an update on the main advantages of the software.

Which CAD/CAM solution to save time?


1st objective of the company producing single parts, small, medium or large quantities: to produce quickly. CAD/CAM, provided that the software is well-chosen, meets this need for increasing speed.


As a subcontractor, you need to be able to:


  • Import parts from any CAD system reliably and without wasting time. Parts are not necessarily created in your software. THEREFORE, your CAD/CAM solution must allow importing through interfaces that automatically retrieve data without error. You can quickly modify parts to meet customer requirements, make them machinable, or redraw drawings.
  • Easily machine your parts with the latest high-performance technologies available on any type of machine. The more intuitive and ergonomic your CAD/CAM solution is, the easier it is to use, the better you benefit from its advanced technologies. You save considerable time in production.
  • Simulate, check and control your program before it goes to the machine. This way, you can check that the result is in line with expectations and ensure maximum reliability. The quality of your service guarantees a higher level of customer satisfaction.


To produce single parts, small, medium, or large quantities quickly – and well – check that your CAD/CAM solution meets these requirements.


TOPSOLID SAS is aware of the challenges you face in terms of competitiveness and has integrated all of these basic requirements into its TopSolid’Cam software.


You can model directly in TopSolid or import your workpieces from any CAD/CAM system, thanks to many native or standard interfaces that allow you to retrieve geometries and manufacturing data reliably. Machining paths are automatically recalculated without any user intervention, saving considerable time.

TopSolid CAD/CAM Product Range

A scalable CAD/CAM software that adapts to all situations


The life cycle of parts requires them to be modified continuously. A part is likely to evolve and change revisions over time, especially in the following situations:


  • Customers’ needs vary. To address them accurately, the parts must be adapted appropriately.
  • As innovations are made, technologies are moving up stream. The performance of the parts must be constantly improved upon to remain up to date in real-time.
  • The addition of options allows us to offer a higher level of service to stand out in a solid competitive context.
  • Error corrections must be made efficiently and quickly.


In these conditions, and whatever the situation, you need to be able to rely on a CAD/CAM solution that offers powerful modification functions after the fact. TopSolid’Cam meets this need for scalability thanks to its optimal handling of the modification management aspect for your single parts, small, medium, or large batches.


Regardless of the type of production, TopSolid’Cam manages last-minute changes with precision. For example:


  • Operations are deleted or reversed, changing the machining sequence? The stock management function allows you to automatically modify the process to adapt to the change in the state of the stock. The operations are associative to the geometry: they follow the modifications of the part, and the programmer’s work is considerably lightened.
  • You had planned a whole program on a machine that breaks down on the day? In a few clicks, you can transfer the programs from machine A to machine B. By switching the machine at any time, without wasting time, you ensure that the program is delivered on time.

CAD/CAM to perpetuate its know-how


Your know-how is a precious intangible asset to be preserved… and perpetuated. How can you do this? With a high-performance CAD/CAM solution for the production of single parts, small, medium, or large batches.


With TopSolid’Cam, you can capitalize on your know-how and optimize its implementation. Our CAD/CAM solution allows you to automate all your operation sequences, which are previously parameterized using your company knowledge and stored securely within the software. You save hours of programming time, and your productivity increases accordingly.

TopSolid’Cam is the modern, scalable and complete CAD/CAM solution for producing single parts, small, medium, and large quantities. The tool adapts immediately and reliably to meet all your requirements, considering the customer’s demands. TopSolid’Cam is your best ally for best performance, combining modern technology with ease of use.

Everything you need to know about programming complex parts

Everything you need to know about programming complex parts

In CAD/CAM, and particularly in machining, the manufacturing of parts with complex shapes must comply with the functional specifications expressed by the designer or the creator. The geometric model built in CAD is a digital reference model that must be reproduced as accurately as possible during the manufacturing phase. Complex shapes can sometimes be difficult to reproduce: adequate programming is therefore the key to success in CAD/CAM.

What is a complex part?

We speak of a complex part when there are topologies that must go through many machining paths, often with risk of collision, as well as areas that are difficult to access. The notion of the complexity of a part does not only depend on its shape or its size. In fact, the nature of the material used, the presence of residual stresses, the risk of overheating or the precision that is required are all factors that contribute to complicating the task for the machine tool operators.


Examples of complex parts

  • Aluminum moulds for plastic injection;
  • Automobile cylinder heads;
  • Inconel turbine blades for aeronautics;
  • Titanium bearings for the aerospace industry.


TopSolid CAD/CAM Product Range

Steps for successful programming

Before proceeding to the manufacturing stage, it is essential to be well prepared. The CAD file of the part to be designed must first be checked and the tolerances adjusted. It is obviously necessary to choose the machine and tools adapted to the expected result and, if possible, to go through a simulation stage. 


Preliminary analysis

Before starting the manufacturing stage, all parts must be checked. First, make sure that it is the correct part and the correct version of the file. 


Tolerance management

For a complex CAD model to be machinable, it often requires modification. In fact, in most situations, CAD models are drawn from nominal dimensions. However, manufacturing and machining operations impose tolerances that will need to be adjusted in the CAD files. If you are using a CAD/CAM software, think about its ability to modify the dimensions afterward.  


Choosing machines and cutting tools

Not all machines are created equal. Choosing the right machine depends on many parameters such as the shape of the part, the size, the material, etc. Likewise, there is a multitude of cutting tools dedicated to machining complex parts. Their shape depends on the geometries to be drilled, turned or milled, and the material they are made of is selected according to the material to be machined as well as the kinematic parameters. The choice of machines and tools will therefore strongly determine the success of the machining process.  


Go through a simulation step before starting the manufacturing

Machining complex parts is expensive, so it is best to avoid messing up the first parts and having to perform machining operations again. Therefore, simulating the tool paths in parallel with the programming allows the operator to compare the simulated model with the machining in progress, which prevents the risk of collision and enables real-time reaction.


Advantages of TopSolid

One of the challenges of CAD/CAM is producing complex parts using the minimum number of steps, the ideal is to be able to independently machine a part, without disassembly. TopSolid’Cam is therefore able to manage the programming of lathes/milling machines, whether turning combined with 2D or 3D milling operations as well as 4-axis or 5-axis continuous.  


Managing the latest tools

TopSolid’Cam is able to manage the new barrel milling cutters. These milling cutters are best able to adapt to the shapes with low curvature, which makes it possible to significantly reduce the number of passes in the 5-axis tool path.  


Dynamic machining in turning and milling

TopSolid’Cam integrates a high-performance machining function, which makes it possible to keep a constant volume of material removed during the machining process and therefore to wear out the cutting tools less quickly.  

Easy to modify afterward

The TopSolid software, and in particular the version dedicated to TopSolid’Cam machining, is extremely flexible as it offers powerful features that allow you to modify the parts afterward. This is an asset for the manufacturing of complex parts, which require many adjustments.  


Automatic shape detection

TopSolid can automatically detect basic shapes such as grooves, drillings and pockets on models designed with TopSolid, but also on imported models. This makes the software a valuable ally that helps to guide the operator to the right machining strategies through intelligent topological analysis.  


Powerful algorithms

The programming of complex 4-axis and 5-axis parts requires high-performance simulation tools and powerful automation. TopSolid’Cam incorporates valuable automatic features such as collision detection, which helps to reduce machining defects. Thanks to all the machining algorithms offered by TopSolid, it is possible to process all the parts of a mould, for example.  

How do you manage a large interior design project using a CAD/CAM software?

How do you manage a large interior design project using a CAD/CAM software?

Carrying out all the work involved in site layout is a part of the daily life of interior designers. As a decoration and finishing specialist, he is called upon to manage projects of all sizes and to work from interior design concepts and execution drawings. CAD/CAM software is a valuable ally for large and complex projects. Let’s find out why together.

What do we mean by a large-scale project?


An interior design project is said to be “large-scale” when it is complex, when the surfaces involved are large and when several sectors of activity are involved. In general, designing surfaces larger than 50 m² is considered to be a large-scale job.

Examples of large-scale interior design projects

Designing a complete Hotel is considered to be a large-scale project. A hotel is not only made up of rooms, but also of a lobby, a restaurant, a bar and corridors, which must be harmoniously arranged to form an aesthetic whole. The nautical industry is also strongly affected by large-scale interior design and mainly the luxury yacht market. There are even super-yachts over 150 meters long with several thousand square meters of living space including spas, swimming pools, libraries and a large amount of nesting furniture. The arrangement of such a complicated project is usually entrusted to companies specializing in luxury naval carpentry.

The need for collaborative work

Large-scale interior design projects, such as those mentioned above, require the use of different but complementary professions. Specialized people with valuable expertise will thus be brought together to work in a coordinated manner. But when it comes to collaborative work, you need the right tools. Like BIM (Building Information Modeling), which consists of having employees working on a digital model, a large-scale interior design project can rely on modern work tools such as CAD/CAM software.


TopSolid CAD/CAM Product Range

How can CAD/CAM be involved in a large-scale interior design project?


A CAD/CAM software allows you to design parts in 3D model (CAD), but also includes the manufacturing part (CAM). It is therefore essential for companies that manufacture furniture using numerical control machines based on drawings. However, some software, such as TopSolid, offers other features which are particularly suitable for interior design projects.


TopSolid’Wood software and work by areas


One of the significant features of TopSolid’Wood is that it allows the user to work in several workspaces or areas. The concept is as follows: from a master file, the user will be able to create several workspaces in which the interior design of each area will be created. Once the design of each area is completed, the user can then generate a final assembly from the files.


Advantages of the “master” file


Working with a master file is convenient. But its main advantage is probably the flexibility it provides by facilitating file update processes. In addition, the TopSolid’Wood master file provides an overview using a construction tree that provides access to all workspaces. This allows you to make changes in order to define spaces even more quickly. In addition, TopSolid’Wood allows you to create a master file from the CAD files from other software.



How TOPSOLID supports you throughout the process of using your CAD/CAM software

How TOPSOLID supports you throughout the process of using your CAD/CAM software

From its implementation to its handling, the roll-out of a CAD/CAM software within the company is a major project, which requires the mobilization of human resources over time. Aware of this central issue, TOPSOLID places support and proximity to its customers at the heart of its value. In doing so, the CAD/CAM software solution publisher enables the company to overcome the obstacle of complexity inherent in the implementation of tools that are essential to its development. The company makes sure that its project is completed more quickly. How does this proximity translate? How does TOPSOLID support TopSolid users in the long term? Explanations.

Support starting from the preliminary phase of the CAD/CAM project


 A CAD/CAM project is carried out in several stages. In advance, the company defines its objectives and establishes its specifications in order to choose the most suitable solution. This step can be difficult for the company: what are the business specificities to be taken into account when choosing the software? What features are required to get the maximum benefits from the tool? Managers do not necessarily have an outside perspective of their business, nor do they necessarily have an in-depth knowledge of the workings of CAD/CAM software.

This is why TOPSOLID deploys its teams to your company even before choosing a software.

A sales representative and a specialized technician will have a meeting with you in order to identify the technical and economic constraints related to your project and/or business, and will therefore explain your technical requirements.

Your technical requirements and the necessary budget are then evaluated.

At the end of this meeting, a second meeting is organized at your location in order to make a customized presentation to your teams. The demonstration/presentation is adapted according to the requirements jointly determined during the first meeting. You are able to make an informed decision when choosing your tool by discovering how it works and the benefits of a customized solution for your company’s needs.

Installing a CAD/CAM software is a long-term investment, therefore it is essential to choose the most suitable solution: this is what TOPSOLID allows you to do thanks to its support and personalized advice starting from the preliminary stage of your project.


Certified training for your teams in our TOPSOLID agencies

Each TopSolid offer includes a comprehensive training course provided to your users at a TOPSOLID agency. The publisher of TopSolid products has at least five agencies in France, for  beneficial geographical proximity. Paris, Nancy, Nantes, Lyon or Toulouse: you can deploy your training teams in the agency of your choice.

TopSolid training courses are recognized by the French State and are saved in the CNCP inventory. Being holders of recognized certification, your teams have significant added value and firmly expand their field of expertise. The company is reaping considerable benefits.

Do you have specific constraints? TopSolid course instructors can travel to your location: a dedicated consultant will visit your company directly for whatever period of time is required to successfully deploy and configure your solution and at the same time, ensure that your teams are efficiently trained.

Expert advisers available by telephone to answer any question

Holder of a CAD/CAM software license, you can benefit from unlimited customer support for a minimum period of 6 months via the TOPSOLID hotline. You can therefore benefit from direct and priority contact with professionals based in France: thanks to a competent and responsive customer service, able to individually monitor your portfolio, you are supported in the initial stages of the implementation of your CAD/CAM solution. This form of telephone support is reassuring: the teams using the TopSolid tools know that they can rely on experts if ever there are any questions, doubts or difficulties whatsoever.

Your project is implemented in the best conditions, quickly and efficiently.

 Please note: using the hotline services is an opportunity for TOPSOLID to identify the recurring problems of its customers. TopSolid products can therefore be regularly updated and improved in line with the requirements and needs of users expressed during their conversations with customer service representatives. Thanks to its close relationship with customers, TOPSOLID is able to offer even more efficient and better adapted solutions.


Maintenance throughout the duration of your CAD/CAM license for long-term relationship

At the end of the six-month free hotline service, you can opt for a specific maintenance contract. You will have unlimited access to a dedicated customer support for the duration of your license agreement. This contract also gives you access to every new version of the software, thus guaranteeing the sustainability of your investment.

 At the same time, TOPSOLID offers you access to the new training courses that are essential in the context of the development of your TopSolid CAD/CAM software. You should provide your users with certified training each year.

TOPSOLID is the only player on the market to offer an integrated modeling (CAD), manufacturing (CAM) solution via its TopSolid products. Beyond in-depth business expertise, TOPSOLID develops its close relationship with its customers on a daily basis. This is essential to develop CAD/CAM software in accordance with the user needs. TOPSOLID sets itself apart by supporting its customers in the field and offering a personalized consulting service throughout all phases when implementing their CAD/CAM software. This is why companies of all sizes have trusted TOPSOLID and have entrusted it with their projects for more than a quarter of a century. From small and medium sized companies to large groups, every company has a lot to gain from implementing innovative tools internally. TOPSOLID allows you to access it. Take a look at some of our loyal customers.

TopSolid CAD/CAM Product Range