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

How to Modernize Your Engineering Archives in 2017

Posted by Scott Shuppert on Wed, Dec 28, 2016 @ 02:16 PM

How to Modernize Your Engineering Archives in 2017

Do you still have paper and mylar engineering and parts drawings in your archives?  For companies who maintain long-life products (airplanes; military vehicles; manufacturing machinery to name a few), it’s not unusual to have non-digital documents detailing these products and their replacement parts.    

That’s because engineering drawings for these kinds of equipment were traditionally created and stored on mylar sheets and/or paper drawings.  As these drawings age and deteriorate, it becomes increasingly difficult to preserve them and to use them when it becomes necessary to repair the equipment.

That’s why many companies choose to scan and convert them into 2D CAD drawings or 3D CAD models.  Digital documents and digital models do not deteriorate. Additionally, converted drawings can be accessed and disseminated much more quickly than mylar or paper drawings can.  Often, in today's military and business environment, success depends upon the speed with which information can be deployed. 

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

CAD Drafting – Changes in 2D and 3D Design

Posted by Diane Mitol on Mon, Apr 09, 2012 @ 03:35 PM

CAD Drafting – Changes in 2D and 3D Design

CAD, or computer aided design has been around since the 1980’s. 

The early versions of CAD were all 2D CAD.  These programs become popular quickly because of their affordability and their ability to run on personal computers.  More importantly CAD programs enabled engineers to do their own drafting work as part of the design process.  This elimination of drafting personnel was a first step in reducing design overhead, in both  financial cost and time cost.

Today’s CAD software packages may focus on the traditional 2D drafting systems (vector drafting) or they may be 3D design systems which deal in solid and surface models.  Some modern CAD packages even allow rotations in three dimensions, allowing viewing of a designed object from any angle.  Some modern CAD software is capable of dynamic mathematical modeling, in which case it may be marketed as CADD , which stands for computer-aided design and drafting.

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Topics: 2D to 3D CAD, 2D Design, 3D Design, CAD Drafting

2D to 3D CAD Conversion – The Importance of Accuracy

Posted by Diane Mitol on Mon, Feb 06, 2012 @ 03:32 PM

2D to 3D CAD Conversion – The Importance of Accuracy

When doing 2D to 3D CAD Conversion, the place to start is with an accurate scan of your 2D blueprint or CAD drawing.    We recommend using a Contex scanner, and we’re particularly excited about the Contex Ultra series.  See some of our previous blog posts for more information about the Contex Ultra Series.

Once you have the scanned raster drawing, you can start the 2D to 3D conversion process. The process of converting a 2D drawing into a 3D model is quite complicated and the method of conversion can be time consuming.   While some popular 3D modeling tools like AutoCAD, SolidEdge and Microstation can help simplify the process,  it still takes a CAD expert to easily generate both the 2D drafting view and the 3D CAD model that are usually needed for every day project activity – whether the user is a steel fabricator, machine operator or an architect.   The 2D drafting view enables the person who does the actual work to build the model or component, while the 3D model enables the designer, key investors and others to visualize the finished product. 

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

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