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It has been more than two decades that 2D Drafting has played a vital role in the mechanical and engineering designs for manufacturing process. They have successfully provided significant and precise information on the tolerances and dimensions required for it and functionality of a part for product manufacturers. However; the bitter fact is that with advent of software and technological tools like SolidWorks, Inventor and many more alike, mechanical 2D CAD drafting is struggling to keep up in tune with the design and manufacturing industry, today.

3D CAD Approach to Product Design

3D approach in mechanical design and manufacturing, providing cost and time savings as significant and added advantage, has proved its metal in helping organizations to stay ahead of competition as compared to mechanical 2D drafting approach.

Why is there so much hype about 3D CAD drawings and 3D CAD models? Why more product manufacturers are taking up the 3D CAD approach and how does it help to overcome the challenges of 2D CAD approach in design and manufacturing?

Keeping track of single geometric file is a convenience

With tighter schedules, and increasing pressure for efficient and accurate designs; using a series of 2D CAD drawings to describe a complex 3D object is not the effective and efficient way to design a part. It certainly will lead to misinterpretations of the design in the downstream process. This could further delay the product development process as teams will be busier getting on the same page to understand exactly what the masses of drawings are trying to convey.

This is not the case with 3D CAD design and 3D solid modeling as they clearly convey and define the 3D part in a single geometric file.

The solid model also allows you to verify and form the functionality of the part, even before the prototype is built. It eventually helps to enhance the manufacturing efficiency as designs can be evaluated and product improvements can be made quicker before the mass-production starts.

Accuracy and Plans

It’s not that 2D drawings are no more helpful, as their capacity stretches to providing tolerances and list of parts that are crucial to the manufacturing process. However, even if these 2D CAD drawings represent separate ends of a part, the challenge here is that planes and features from a 2D view are atop each other; ultimately increasing the difficulty of producing accurate drawings that show the key features of a part.

Instead if product manufacturers with assistance from product designers using CATIA 3D Master approach, this should no more be a challenge. As the drawings will not be on top of each other, which will make it easier to identify and assess, each key feature.

All designs & drawings are in sync

Though product manufacturers find 2D drawings to be cost effective and tag it to be the technology they know of since decades, one more challenge with these, is that whenever a change is made to any one of the drawings, the entire series tends to fall out of sync.

A solid model, list of parts and 2D drawings form the core elements of 2D CAD drawings required in the design and development process. Yet, these three datasets can and will fall out of sync with a single design change made to any one of the datasets. Many of you product manufacturers, would have experienced the delay in the development process and virtually increase the time to market.

But this is not the case when you take up the 3D approach. Working with a single geometrical file means you don’t have to deal with a series of datasets. It ultimately improves the efficiency of the process and ensures design changes are made promptly.

Although 2D CAD drawings have made a prominent mark in the product manufacturing design and development industry, taking up the 3D approach works to your advantage that cannot be ignored. Companies when are looking out to maintain competitiveness, utilizing a single geometric file to accurately design and manufacture a part, saves them a lot of time and efforts.

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