Autocad Vs. Autocad Mechanical Vs. Autocad Lt: Understanding the Differences.

09 September 2023. By Jacob Scott. Estimated investment of time: 7 minutes.

The Basic Features of Autocad, Autocad Mechanical, and Autocad Lt

If you’re a designer or engineer, you’ve most likely come across software and tools such as AutoCAD, AutoCAD Mechanical and AutoCAD LT. These three are just a few products made by Autodesk, which has been in the industry for over three decades.


AutoCAD is the original and most commonly known product of the lot. It’s a computer aided drafting program used to create 2D and 3D models. Along with design and drafting, it comes equipped with features that allow you to share and store your work.


AutoCAD Mechanical is another product made by Autodesk and provides users with more specialized features for making mechanical designs. Compared to AutoCAD, the mechanical version offers extra features like mechanical tools, as well as specifically-designed wizards to enhance automation and accuracy.


Lastly, AutoCAD LT is budget-friendly version that provides similar capabilities as AutoCAD, with simplicity in mind. It helps create precise 2D drawings and can be used for projects that do not require advanced 3D modeling capabilities. It also has the ability to produce PDFs, making it convenient to share work.


VRED Professional

Understanding the Differences in Functionality

The main factor that differentiates these applications lies in the level of complexity and expertise required. AutoCAD Mechanical, for example, has additional features and is aimed at experts within the mechanical engineering industry. Even though AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT have similar functionalities, AutoCAD offers better 3D modeling and visualization capabilities, while AutoCAD LT is more efficient for 2D drafting work.


Overall, the main differences lie in the additional features that come with each program, the level of complexity, and the cost. While AutoCAD offers comprehensive 2D/3D features for design and drafting, it might be more complicated than other options. On the other hand, AutoCAD LT has a more straightforward approach and is less expensive. It depends on the user’s needs, experience, and goals when choosing the best option among the three.


When choosing the best software for your business, it’s important to assess your goals and the types of functions you need. Other Autodesk products, such as VRED Professional, might also come in handy depending on your specific needs. By understanding the differences between these applications, you will be able to pick the one that best suits your requirements, allowing you to boost productivity, create better designs and deliver on projects faster.

The Pros and Cons of Each Software for Different Applications

AutoCAD, AutoCAD Mechanical, and AutoCAD LT are all great options for designers, but each one has its own set of pros and cons. AutoCAD is the go-to for creating 2D and 3D designs and models, with features that allow you to share and store your work. With AutoCAD Mechanical, users can make specialized mechanical designs with mechanical tools and automated features. Lastly, AutoCAD LT is perfect for those who are just starting out and need to create simple 2D drawings without having to worry about advanced 3D modeling capabilities.


When it comes down to choosing which one is right for you, it’s important to consider the specific needs of your business. If you’re used to designing in 2D, your best bet would be to go with AutoCAD LT as it provides simpler design features to fit your needs. However, if you’re seeking advanced capabilities, AutoCAD or AutoCAD Mechanical might be the way to go. Keep in mind that these options come with a higher price range and, for beginners, may require a more extensive learning curve.


VRED Professional

Which Software Is Best for You? Considerations for Choosing

The first thing you need to consider when choosing between AutoCAD, AutoCAD Mechanical and AutoCAD LT is your level of familiarity and design needs. For instance, if you’re just starting up a new design firm or you’re a sole proprietor who only needs simple, 2D designs, AutoCAD LT is the most cost-effective choice for you. However, if you’re already an experienced designer looking to add industry-specific tools or machine automation, AutoCAD Mechanical could be a better fit.


Another consideration when making your choice is what your design projects will require. With AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT, both options provide similar features and functionality, so it may come down to your preferred software experience. With AutoCAD Mechanical, you will have tools specific for creating mechanical designs, which might not be necessary for other applications.


Lastly, you should also consider the cost of each software option. AutoCAD is the most expensive of the three, while AutoCAD LT is the most budget-friendly option. Ultimately, it depends on your needs and goals as a designer, so it’s important to weigh the features and costs of each option carefully. You can also check out the What’s New in AutoCAD 2018 to see which version is most suited for your needs.

Tips for Maximizing Your Workflow with Autocad, Autocad Mechanical, or Autocad Lt

Once you decide which AutoCAD software version fits your needs, it’s important to learn how to use it efficiently. Here are some tips for optimizing your workflow:


1. Customize Your Settings: Customize your workspace, toolbars, and shortcut keys to streamline your workflow. This will make it easier for you to access the tools and commands you use most often.


2. Master the Function Keys: Function keys provide shortcuts that can speed-up your CAD process. For example, F7 is set as the Isolate command in AutoCAD. Learn how to use the function keys to reduce the number of mouse clicks required for a specific command.


3. Use Layers: Organize your drawing elements by assigning them to layers. This allows you to control the visibility and color of individual elements, making it easier to edit them later on.


4. Learn to Use Express Tools: Express Tools are additional commands that can enhance your productivity and allow you to perform advanced tasks. They are installed automatically with AutoCAD, but you need to activate them in the Options menu. For example, the Overkill command can delete duplicate objects in a drawing, saving you time and effort.


5. Keep Your Software Up to Date: Autodesk continuously updates their software to improve functionality, fix bugs, and add new features. Make sure you stay up to date by downloading updates and patches regularly. You can also explore other Autodesk products that complement AutoCAD, such as Autodesk Revit for building information modeling or Autodesk Inventor for 3D mechanical design.


Conclusion: Making the Right Choice for Your Design Needs

Choosing the right AutoCAD software version can be overwhelming, but understanding the differences and assessing your design needs can help you make an informed decision. While AutoCAD is the most versatile and commonly used software, AutoCAD Mechanical is ideal for mechanical engineering experts, and AutoCAD LT is an affordable option for those who require basic 2D drafting capabilities.


No matter which version you choose, the tips above can help you optimize your workflow and increase productivity. Remember to stay up to date with software updates and explore other Autodesk products for complementary features. By selecting the software that suits your needs and understanding how to use it effectively, you can bring your design ideas to life with ease.

Jacob Scott is a poet from Seattle, WA. His work explores themes of nature, spirituality, and the beauty of the natural world.

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