If we were to ask any mechanical or industrial design engineer as to what is CAD to them, they essentially will answer that it is an efficient replacement to their traditional CAD drafting process. Manufacturing industry has adopted it and embedded CAD software for design conceptualization to all the way through final manufacturing drawings, including everything in between. It comprises of comprehensive 3D CAD modeling along with BOMs, PMIs etc.
CAD platforms as suggested are essentially a replacement to engineers to drawing sheets and rulers, but more than that, 3D modelers and product designers find them to be a medium to communicate their designs. And here customers mean internal and external both – the end user of the product as well as sub-contractor – in case of sheet metal, manufacturer etc.
With the 3rd dimension in picture, the need to draw three separate drawings – top view, front/back view and a side (Left or right) view is completely eliminated. Furthermore, with 3D, developing a sectional drawing also gets eliminated since 3D can be rotated about any axis in any direction to get a comprehensive idea of the designs.
2D CAD involves complex calculations and a lot of design interpolation to add up all the dimensions. Additionally, it also attracts something that has intricate math depending on the designer or the users’ ability to understand technicalities. With 3D all these shortcomings are eliminated.
Consider drawing 2D Square on a drawing sheet and now it becomes solid and thus gets a 3D shape – thickness is added. It thus appears as if 3D square is maneuvering into a long rectangular bar. This exactly happens in 3D CAD modeling. In fact many more complicated shapes and generative designs can be prepared in 3D CAD giving the design engineer, flexibility to explore the design data sets.
When designs are modeled in 3D, the needs of manufacturers – 2D drawings for fabrication, assembly and installation can be extracted easily from these native 3D files. Alternatively, these models can also be used to annotate product manufacturing information (PMI) with surface finish, manufacturing methods, texturing etc. over the CAD model.
Another option with 3D CAD model is to prepare Model Based Definition (MBD) in SolidWorks which forms a single source of truth about the product design information. It includes everything from design conception to all the way through operational needs and ERP teams.
3D CAD models when extended to product data management (PDM) will from PDM Vaults referred to as Vaults by Autodesk products. These vault data management software helps the design engineer as well as the manufacturers to organize, and track data development, creation and finally validate the designs through simulation by streamlining the teams’ activities.
All the files can be saved at one location, be accessed any time and replace the design as and when the changes are made to the actual physical products. Vaults essentially stores each version of every file saved within and presents a history of the product that the designer or the manufacturer wants with quick and easy access.
With all these ready and apparent benefits of 3D CAD modeling to both, designers and manufacturers, there is a considerable sense that can be made with its usefulness. Though there are quite a few disadvantages like storage space and others, all in all 3D CAD is a very versatile place to communicate the design and manufacture it into physical product.
We at Hi-Tech Engineering Services will help you achieve all for your product design ideas with our design teams of 80+ CAD mangers, product design engineers and industrial design experts.
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