It’s hard to imagine modern life without AutoCAD, much like without the internet. Odd-looking buildings, fuel-efficient vehicles, accurate maps and nautical charts – none of these and more would be possible without this household name of computer-assisted design (CAD) software.
The next few years will be promising for CAD software. The latest data from Statista revealed that 3D design software is slowly but surely dominating its 2D design counterparts in market share, estimated to reach nearly 76% by 2028. AutoCAD’s market size is expected to grow by 50% this year and 85% in 2028 relative to 2018.
Then again, you’re mistaken if you believe that you don’t need AutoCAD because you aren’t an architect or engineer. Although Autodesk profits considerably from architecture and engineering, it profits more from everything else. Having the software installed opens doors to many business prospects, and they don’t necessarily involve designing structures.
Hence, here are some AutoCAD business to try this year.
- Drafting Services
For the first several centuries, people drew their plans by hand on paper. Granted, it was a time when the term ‘computer’ had yet to enter common parlance. But a hand-drawn blueprint was only as good as the hand that drew it, which isn’t to say that all of them were bad.
Avid designers will tell you that drawing by hand still has a place in these digital-heavy times. That said, generating multiple drafts for various clients is possible with AutoCAD.
Job listings right now are rife with freelance drafters and drafting businesses offering an in-demand service. Business clients will look to outsource tasks if they can save more than doing these in-house.
Of course, drafting isn’t as niche as you might think. The growth of the CAD market means more users, leading to more potential competitors. Growing a drafting business today requires marketing something you have that your competitors don’t. Do due diligence in learning about the competition, connect through social media and establish conducive partnerships.
- AutoCAD Tutorials
Any piece of technology comes with a learning curve, and AutoCAD is no exception. Users have claimed that learning the software interface can take roughly a week and several more months of use to master it. Even professionals with years on their belt admit they’re still learning.
Nonetheless, experience makes for a good resource to start a unique business: AutoCAD tutorials. Your target audience can either be people with relative experience working with the software or complete novices, depending on your level of expertise. Advertise your AutoCAD online school on social media or university bulletin boards.
Where to put your tutorial content is up to you. Starting a YouTube channel is a popular option, given that you can earn revenue for every thousand views (but only a little, which is why most YouTubers accept sponsors). Creating your own website helps with brand exposure, but you’ll need a large-enough web design budget to get the one you want.
- 3D Printing
The government last October awarded GBP£14 million in funding for sustainable manufacturing projects driven by digital technology. These projects, spread among 55 participant organisations, are estimated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and create more jobs in the next three years.
Among these projects is 3D printing – and for good reasons. A small-scale 3D printing business doesn’t take up too much capital or floor space; it only needs a decent 3D printer and a reliable computer to run AutoCAD. The polymer filaments can be derived from recycled materials, and the machine can create made-to-order parts.
If you include other benefits, such as minimal labour and streamlined prototype development, a 3D printing business’ return on investment can be huge. One industry whitepaper estimates that the cost of a 3D printer can break even after generating roughly 40 prints. However, a downside is that businesses may look to invest in their own 3D printing capabilities because it’s cheaper.
This doesn’t mean your 3D printing venture won’t go places. Prototyping is often outsourced because of the break-even aspect mentioned. Also, manufacturers don’t have a reason not to create a prototype before mass-producing a new product.
- Laser Cutting And Engraving
Another business idea that doesn’t require substantial capital is laser cutting and engraving. Like 3D printing, this venture can be powered by hooking up the necessary hardware with a computer with AutoCAD installed. Some laser cutters and engravers in the market don’t cost as much as 3D printers but are enough to get started on such a business.
Laser cutting and engraving hardware use less power than it appears. While consumption is typically highest at start-up and depends on the power setting, later-generation models can reach up to 45% efficiency with the right workflow. In other words, a laser cutter that can cut through a thick metal sheet using a low-power setting contributes to a higher return on investment.
AutoCAD is more than a tool for building cities and communities. It’s a versatile program that sees frequent use in various industries, namely in manufacturing. Unsurprisingly, it’ll be in for a good year this 2023 because of to the potential from which start-ups can arise.