Why We Still Need 2D Drafting Even with 3D Modeling
The Importance of 2D Drafting in a 3D World
2D drafting is the traditional method by which product manufacturing information has been passed to the machinists on the shop floor. Ultimately, it is the surefire communication tool for engineers to properly convey designs for product manufacturing. There are some shortcomings of 2D drafting such as time burden and frequency of errors which lead to project and production delays. So why do we still need 2D drafting in a world of 3D modeling?
Pros and Cons of 3D Modeling
The drawbacks people have regarding 2D drafting stem from inaccuracies despite the time consuming process of drafting in 2D. This leads many engineers to rely on 3D models to design, iterate, and communicate with manufacturing and process engineers. In fact, many high precision manufacturing processes require 3D models to generate tool paths, so a 2D draft might seem pointless.
However, there is a primary benefit to 2D drafting that 3D modeling has not yet achieved, ubiquitous accessibility. A 2D draft communicates necessary design information on a piece of paper. A 3D model that can be easily revised requires a computer with proprietary software. This complete reliance on 3D modeling software could be sustainable within a company, but if manufacturing is outsourced, there is no guarantee that the other party will have the proprietary CAD program.
Integrating 3D modeling and 2D drafting
One potential way to eliminate the errors prevalent in 2D drafting, either from incorrect dimensions or misinterpretation, is by utilizing 3D CAD programs. Instead of just relying on models or drafts, a healthy use of both will aid in accelerating project timelines.
Again, the benefits to 3D modeling is that changes can be easily and intuitively made since spatial relations are apparent. In addition, you can even run simulations on the models to determine if other design changes need to be made. Once the design is ready for prototyping or small scale manufacturing, a 2D draft can be produced, referencing the 3D model. The 2D draft will be able to convey the necessary information about the design and be less error prone since the 3D model was the reference for the draft. Again, not all companies and machine shops utilize 3D models, so it is important to have a 2D draft which can be used to communicate designs.
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