9 Things 2D CAD Can’t Do

You could be quite comfortable with your 2D design tools and over the years developed skills with these tools, so why transition to 3D CAD tools and deal with learning whole new set of tools?

You could be doing things better, faster and cheaper in the long run than you could ever do with your 2D design tools.  By sticking with 2D CAD, you’re missing out on advanced tools that will not only help you design better products faster but can give your organisation a leg up over its competitors.

Shorten design cycles, streamline manufacturing processes, improve communications and roll out products faster, investing the time upfront to learn 3D will deliver big downstream benefits.  Perhaps most importantly, however, is that adopting 3D CAD will afford you more time to do what you became an engineer to do: design and innovate. Here’s the 9 Things 2D CAD can’t do:

1. Show how to use, assemble and troubleshoot it

As products become more complex, consumers are increasingly turning to your web site to find the necessary “how-to” support information for your product.  Don’t turn them away by posting hard-to-decipher 2D product sketches. Using 3D publishing tools, assembly models can be quickly and easily “exploded” to create exploded views of product’s internal components and animations to clearly show users how to use, assemble or troubleshoot your product.

2. Collaborate on it

Design review teams have expanded to include many non-technical members, such as marketing, sales, finance, and logistics. Trying to collaborate with them using 2D drawings can lead to misinterpretation and errors. Facilitate design collaborations by sharing a 3D model with which they can interact (rotate, pan, zoom, measure, etc.) intuitively, so they can easily understand how a product will function and add their input.

3. Optimise it

Good engineers continually ask “what if?” Now answers to those queries are easier to find, even without a PhD and a white lab coat. Advanced, fully integrated analysis tools let you calculate forces due to motion, part stress, deflection, vibration, flow and the effects of temperature. Simulating those environmental factors is critical to identifying design flaws and pinpointing serious build problems – before you have to pay for them.


 4. Change it quickly

Let’s face it; design changes are a part of everyday reality for design engineers. With 3D CAD, there are no manual updates in multiple drawing views every time a change is required. Thanks to design associations, every change is automatically propagated throughout the assembly, wherever that part is used, speeding up design changes and reducing your risk of errors.

5. Speed approvals

One of the early hurdles in product development is getting the necessary approvals from management and/or customers to get started. Don’t linger in the starting gate. Using 3D visualizations or animations of concept designs helps non-technical folks quickly understand complex designs so you can get sign-offs faster.

6. Move it

Want to see how components in an assembly will move and interact with one another once assembled to check for interference’s or collisions? Finding interference’s in 2D drawings is time-consuming and difficult, even for the most eagle-eyed checkers. With 3D CAD, interference checking is automatic, and you can also put your models in motion to check for collisions between parts.

7. Re-use it

Most so-called “new” products are in reality, modified versions of previous ones so the ease with which you can leverage or reuse existing designs is critical. When your parts and components are in 3D, making tweaks to existing products to create new configurations or versions is easy. Simply click on the part and change a dimension and all the related geometry on that part will resize automatically.

8. Bid it

If you’re still responding to RFQs with 2D drawings of your products, you’re probably missing out on a lot of potential business since companies increasingly prefer to receive information in 3D. With 3D images and animations of your products, potential customers will not only better understand all the bells and whistles of your products but will be comforted by the fact that your design team is armed with the latest 3D design tools.

9. Print it

Using your 3D CAD files, you can now quickly “print” one-offs or prototypes and models—driving down prototyping costs and getting them in your hands faster.  Thanks to falling prices of both the materials and 3D printers, even small- to mid-size organisations can now bring the technology in house.

Yes there is a learning curve with 3D tools but there is a lot of benefits to be had. SOLIDWORKS can open up a world of of integrate tools to help you design better.

To see SOLIDWORKS for yourself why not request a demo?