With simple geometries, 2D CAD will allow drawings to be made faster, but the output will only be just a set of 2D drawings. These are not ideal for representing a complex product, especially when communicating with your design team, customers, salespeople, buyers, and suppliers, because they are subject to misinterpretation and error, which in turn can become costly and time consuming for a company. 3D is the way we naturally visualize objects in our world, therefore combining more than one view of a 2D technical drawing is not common practice for everyone.
In today’s competitive marketplace, time to market is of great importance, thus engineers must produce and engineer products that reach consumers quicker, and that means fewer “ECO’s” (Engineering Change Order) and fewer “Prototypes”. 3D solid modeling technology provides you with tools that will help you identify errors early in the design process, leaving engineers more time for design innovation rather than spending their valuable time drafting.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could derive information from your drawings and feed it downstream towards engineering analysis, purchasing, manufacturing and marketing while reducing the risk of potential mistakes.
Imagine showing your customers 3D photorealistic images that you can rotate, zoom in on, or 3D animations of how a product will function even before they are produced. That certainly is an edge you will have over others who will be submitting 2D drawings. With 3D assembly models you can quickly generate exploded views for technical illustrations and assembly instructions, and when 2D drawings are needed for manufacturing, you can also generate them quickly with an automatic 2D view creation, including section views and detailed views.
With 2D, when a change occurs in your designs you will need to update every drawing view for that part and you must also change every view of every assembly in which that part is used. Now every time you make a change there is an opportunity for mistakes and that will grow exponentially since changes are an everyday event. With 3D you eliminate the time spent updating your designs while reducing the risk of errors, since you will be dealing with the concept of associativity, where every change will automatically occur downstream of that particular change. Remember that with SolidWorks, 2D drawing views are automatically created from the 3D model and updated whenever the model is changed.
Checking a 2D drawing for possible interference issues is extremely time-consuming and possibly very difficult to point to, especially when dealing with large and complicated designs. Throw in a design of an assembly that is not static and there isn’t a practical way to check for collisions. SolidWorks 3D CAD has a “Collision Detection” solution, where you can move your assemblies through their full range of motion and when a collision is detected the motion will automatically stop and the interference will be highlighted, making this tool invaluable for checking the function of your designs. Since interferences also result from tolerancing problems, SolidWorks 3D CAD provides the ability to check maximum and minimum tolerance condition with its “TolAnalyst” functionality so that you can insure you are applying them properly to your parts., and resolve stack-up problems by identifying which ones contribute to the problem, without having to waste time trying to figure out which to tighten, or which dimensioning scheme to change.
I have just outlined a few inherent benefits of working with 3D Cad in lieu of 2D, so I will move ahead in my next articles to take a closer look at what 3D CAD can do for you since the world of design and manufacturing is steadily transitioning towards 3D, and customers and designers can enhance design and communication through its use.