All About CAD Conversion

Converting Old DWG Drawings to 3D Models

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Fri, Jun 09, 2017 @ 12:36 PM

Converting Old DWG Drawings to 3D Models

If you’re a mechanical engineer who’s been around a while, you probably started your career designing in 2D CAD…usually AutoCAD.  Even though you may have changed with the times and are now designing in 3D (often SolidWorks) you probably have many DWG files that you still retain.  Many of your old DWG files are probably obsolete, i.e., designs of out-of-production products, parts and designs.  But…there may be a treasure trove of older designs that are still relevant and that could save you time by reusing them.  For instance:

  • If you have common sets of 2D parts that are still in use, it goes without saying that they should be converted into 3D models right away. As part of the conversion process, you will want to ensure that the revisions are current and that they fit properly.  Make any modifications that need to be made and calculate accurate assembly mass properties.  Then you’ll have 3D parts ready to machine or to add to new designs. 
  • You may also have other parts sets that, while still in use, are not regularly called for. In this instance, wait until you need the part, then convert it.  This saves time by converting only what you need, when you need it. 
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Topics: 2D to 3D CAD

Why You Should Integrate Paper Drawings with 3D CAD

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Wed, May 24, 2017 @ 04:32 PM

Why You Should Integrate Paper Drawings with 3D CAD

We’ve come a long way since the 1950s when it first became possible to modify existing drawings electronically. Back then, a spot scanner could convert microfilm data into an electronic image. The biggest drawback – it was cost-prohibitive.

But, as interactive computer graphics and CAD evolved, newer and better tools became available for creating new designs.  As the technology advanced, standards were developed for storing drawings in raster format.  Then, the emergence of cost-effective scanning hardware heralded the coming of age of raster images.  (And raster to vector services, we might add.)

Today, more options than ever exist for the conversion of paper, including R2V, paper to CAD, paper to 3D model and various permutations and combinations of all combined.   Perhaps what’s most surprising is the number of paper archives or -- as one source describes it --  “BC” (Before CAD) designs that still exist today. 

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Topics: 2D to 3D CAD, Paper to CAD Conversion

Scan and R2V: Getting from Paper to EDM/PDM for Engineering

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Tue, May 16, 2017 @ 03:37 PM

Scan and R2V: Getting from Paper To EDM/PDM for Engineering

Engineering competition is fierce and survival means adopting the latest technologies.  It means delivering the best product or service fast and at a fair price.  To maintain a competitive edge, a company must leverage its information assets, which includes a tremendous amount of engineering documents, some in CAD and some in paper format.  By some estimates, there may still be as many as eight billion paper engineering documents world-wide. 

The need to capture, modify and distribute existing paper designs within today’s 2D and 3D CAD technology continues to be a requirement for success.  That’s why we still get calls for conversion of paper drawings, mylar, bluelines and other media into AutoCAD, Revit, Solidworks, Catia or some other CAD program.

Most engineering firms realize that regardless of how experienced they may be in operating their CAD software, scanning and converting from paper to CAD requires a different skill set.  This is especially true when the original drawing is old, damaged or misshapen.   In these cases, both scanning and conversion become a challenge and require expert care to extract accurate data. 

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Topics: R2V Service, Large Format Scanning for EDM

Keeping Up with Technology:  Mold-filling Simulations for Manufacturers

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Thu, May 11, 2017 @ 03:01 PM

Keeping Up with Technology: Mold-filling Simulations for Manufacturers

Injection molding is one of the most common modern methods used for manufacturing parts.  It’s a great technology for producing high volumes of parts, in a multitude of materials – metals (called die-casting), glasses, elastomers, and polymers.  It’s simple, really – the heated material is forced into a mold that is shaped like the part you need.  The material is cooled, hardens and…voila’… you have your part. 

As simple as the process is, parts to be injection molded must be very carefully designed.  The material used for the part, the desired shape and features of the part, the material of the mold, and the properties of the molding machine must all be considered.

That’s where mold-filling simulations come in.

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Topics: 3D CAD Services, 3D CAD Modeling, 3D Mechanical Design, Engineering Simulation

BIM, FM and Outsourcing - the Revolution for Design/Build

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Wed, May 03, 2017 @ 05:23 PM

If BIM is the revolution in Design/Buils then what’s the technology behind the revolution?  Some may say it’s the software, some may say it’s the models, but we think it’s about people, process and collaboration.

From a CAD Service provider’s perspective, one of the most valuable additions that BIM offers is the ability to work more closely with the people who send us their CAD work.  While we may specialize in CAD conversion, the truth is that today, CAD conversion is no longer about someone sending us a file to convert, and more about collaborating with the design team to ensure that they have all the bits and pieces of information in their BIM model.

Invariably, as a design/build project progress, this means that we get to interact with a lot of different players on the team.  There’s no longer the hard-and-fast divide between architects and contractors, engineers and subcontractors and outsource service providers. BIM plays a significant role in promoting collaboration between all project stakeholders, improving efficiency and profitability for all concerned – including clients. However, not every contractor and subcontractor feels yet inclined to assume the responsibility for promoting and championing BIM. 

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Topics: BIM Outsource Services, BIM Conversion, BIM Facilities Management, BIM for FM

The US National CAD Standard and Why It Matters

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Fri, Apr 28, 2017 @ 04:53 PM

The US National CAD Standard and Why It Matters

According the Wikipedia, “the National CAD Standard (NCS) is a collaborative effort in the United States among…CAD and ... BIM users. Its goal is to create a unified approach to the creation of building design data. Development of the NCS is open to all building professionals in a collaborative process led by the buildingSMART Alliance.

The NCS is composed of CAD layer guidelines from the American Institute of Architects, uniform drawing system modules from the Construction Specifications Institute, and BIM implementation and plotting guidelines from the National Institute of Building Sciences.”

While adoption of the NCS is voluntary, any company that has adopted it can require its use by their associates.  If your company adheres to the NCS and you plan to outsource any drafting or conversion services, it’s important that you make sure the CAD service provider you use is knowledgeable about the standards, and willing to adhere to them on the work it does for your company. 

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Topics: CAD Design, CAD Standards

NDT and 3D CAD Model Visualization

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Fri, Apr 21, 2017 @ 01:29 PM

NDT and 3D CAD Model Visualization

The process of non-destructive testing (NDT) makes use of 3D CAD Model visualization in conjunction with X-ray detection in order to find and correct defects in objects that cannot be observed directly.  This technology is helpful in maintaining safe oil pipes and gas pipes; in weld inspection for aerospace; in manufacturing and in many other industries that need to examine internal structures that cannot be seen with the naked eye.  Radiography is often accompanied by ultrasonic examination, and the image that is generated by ultrasonic examination is compared to the radiographic image.  This method provides not only location detection of the defect, but also material analysis, and can help determine how the defect will affect the component over time. 

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Topics: 3d CAD, NDT, CAD Visualization

The Practical Aspects of Reverse Engineering

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Wed, Apr 12, 2017 @ 02:13 PM

The Practical Aspects of Reverse Engineering

Reverse engineering is a process in which parts are carefully measured and tolerances are developed prior to generating CAD drawings or models. The most common application for reverse engineering is the reproduction, or modification, of an existing part for which there is no formal drawing.

Today’s CAD programs have made reverse engineering technology a practical tool for creating a three-dimensional virtual model of an existing physical part. That, in turn, has made the use of 3-D CAD, computer-aided manufacturing, or other computer-aided engineering applications easier.

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Topics: Reverse Engineering

How to Create Cost-Effective Sheet Metal Part Designs

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Wed, Mar 29, 2017 @ 04:35 PM

How to Create Cost-Effective Sheet Metal Part Designs

Sheet metal is versatile, durable and strong. It can be easily shaped and fitted for both visual and functional benefits, which gives it great advantage for use in manufacturing and building.   It is the visual and functional uses that determine both the design and the fabrication. 

While design and fabrication are two separate and distinct operations, the sheet metal designer must understand fabrication processes and requirements to provide workable designs.  The fabrication process requires many complicated and sometimes dangerous processes.  Proper attention to design can help to eliminate complications and reduce dangerous processes. 

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Topics: Sheet Metal Design

From Old Design to New via Reverse Engineering

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Wed, Mar 15, 2017 @ 03:44 PM

From Old Design to New via Reverse Engineering

Reverse engineering makes use of an existing object to generate a new one.  Often the new object is an improvement over the design of the old one, or, it may be an identical part needed to replace a malfunctioning part in a machine.

Some businesses use reverse engineering move into 3D digital records of their own products or to assess competitor’s products.  Another use is to analyze how a product works, what it does, and identify potential patent infringement. 

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Topics: Reverse Engineering

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