I think we fall pretty much in the middle. We benefit from the broad strokes of CAD, but don’t iterate much in it. We also have an inventory that doesn’t always match with the CAD, so you are kind of mismatching with what is on hand vs. what is quick to add to the model.
I think sketching is important, then moving to a full scale representation. Sometime that is CAD (cardboard-aided design). You spend more time iterating in metal, which is a downside. Those 20 iterations you did in CAD you might end up with 3-4 iterations in you can do by making parts.
I think the calculations remain similar for the most part. You also are building in larger margins for the most part, so I think you would have heavier parts for the most part than those CADed. Also considering that for thinks like CNC router, 3d printer, etc., that the parts pretty much needs to be designed and so teams doing little computer design work probably don’t have as much tools to work with.