“If you can FAB it, you can CAD it.” That’s what Dave Filippi has been telling metal fabricators and designers since 1989. The software was the beginning of a game-changer for the metal fabricating industry. FabCAD, originally a subsidiary of Petersburg, Virginia-based Colonial Iron Works, saw a need to increase accuracy in fabrication and efficiency in developing professional shop drawings for high-end commercial projects.
It all began at the National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Association conference where he demonstrated ornamental castings using CAD software. Several fellow members approached him about this technology. From there, he created a library of 1,200 ornamental castings and shared it with other designers. It evolved into FabCAD, which now includes over 15,000 ornamental castings, forgings and hardware items from 10 industry supplier firms, becoming the industry standard in metal fabrication software.
What is FabCAD?
Technology and Services for Great Fabricators
In the mid-1990s FabCAD contracted with outside programmers to create an automated rail, gate and fence drawing program, called AutoRail. The AutoRail program allowed even those new to CAD to immediately create stair rails, entrance gates and fences without much software knowledge. To address total work efficiencies, other features were built into the program, like a bill of materials, customization of top and bottom extrusions for rails—even an automatic spindle and finial insertion from the FabCAD library. What used to take hours of painstaking manual labor and calculations was being generated within seconds. AutoRail made it as simple as choosing a style name, entering the length or angle of the object and clicking “draw,” which generated an instantaneous model, complete with dimensions and a parts cut list.
AutoRail became indispensable to freelancers and fabrication companies alike. It brought ornamental detailing in-house, which increased drawing productivity and decreased cost, all the while streamlining the design process. Today AutoRail is fully integrated into FabCAD.
In 2007, FabCAD partnered with Autodesk, San Rafael, Calif., to create an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) version that integrated AutoCAD source code with the ornamental drawing features that FabCAD had been developing for years. The result was a fully integrated ornamental design system.
FabCAD’s innovation doesn’t stop at software. We provide an array of online training and tutorials on our website and on YouTube to accelerate CAD accuracy and efficiency. FabCAD also offers online tutorials and on-site and personal training sessions to encourage users to refine their skills.