Solidworks: Advantages of 3D CAD versus 2D CAD

Solidworks: Advantages of 3D CAD versus 2D CAD

For individual components 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?

3D CAD with SolidWorks will help you do that and much more.

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.

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Written by Joseph Interdonato

Joseph is our resident 3D CAD Software consultant, currently employed at SolidXperts. For all your 3D CAD Software, Design Validation, Data Management and Product Documentation needs you can contact him by email at jinterdonato@solidxperts.com
  • http://www.dzinepress.com Dzinepress

    inspiring job did using cad.

  • http://blowsie.com Sam Blowes

    “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. ”

    Am I missing something Are you sure this statement is true?
    What about XREF’s ?

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  • illz

    I’ve tried Solidworks and Autocad 2008. Solidworks clearly blows autocad in 3D. It has a better workflow, and easier to construct 3D objects. Autocad is cheaper and a swiss army knife, but if you do mechinical engneering you will love Solidworks. My father had a choice, Solidworks or Pro E. He look at Pro E as software for Aerospace engineering, or something complex plus more expensive.

  • http://designrfix.com Joseph Interdonato

    To: Sam Blowes

    For starters I wish you a great New Year! Sorry to get back to you with such a delay but with Xmas coming up and the holidays….

    Anyhow, in SolidWorks if you modify an existing 2D or 3D geometry in a drawing, part or assembly, all related files are updated automatically because they contain parametric entities or geometries, they are linked together.

    The “XREF” is a command that permits to load the content of a drawing in a current drawing only. Suppose you have a drawing called “XYZ” that has an external reference loaded called “123″, and you have drawn a geometry snapping to your existing geometry of “123″.

    If you change the geometry in “123″, the geometry that was added in “XYZ” will not follow the one included in the “XREF” because there is no parametric link between them.

    I hope this answers your question, and with that i leave you with a “Lets Go Design” and try out SolidWorks 3D CAD.

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