SECTION B3 - Benefits of 3D CAD Design

Benefits of 3D Design Return to Home Page

Benefits of 3D

The benefits of 3D CAD design fall into two categories: First, Key Benefits and Advanced Benefits. The Key Benefits are very easy to achieve, and by adopting 3D Autocad modeling shown in our 3D Autocad course they happen automatically.

Second, Advanced Benefits come from linking CAD systems and ERP / MRP systems to create highly efficient design methods within companies. (ERP / MRP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning / Manufacturing Resource Planning. It is best understood as the part identification / stock control / ordering / accounting software that runs within modern and efficient companies.)

Key Benefits

Using 3D design modeling greatly improves design quality because it is a more complete process than 2D design. As a result, human errors that occur with traditional 2D design methods are avoided. In the past, problems such as component collisions, incorrect quantities or parts that don't fit, would happen because a designer who works in only 2D is forced to hold much of the information mentally. It is human factors that gives rise to errors because the brain CANNOT visualize form and fit to exact scale. Reducing human error by using 3D design methods minimizes the need for costly (both financial and time delays) re-work because the design quality is greatly improved.

BOM and schedule generation with 2D methods also relies on mental visualization to generate a part count, and thus human error is again a risk when quantifying. With 2D methods, projection views are representative of shape data, but quantity data is poor because projections cannot be subjected to an automated 'counting' process the way that 3D parts can. With 2D, a component is defined accross a number of projection views, while other components might be completely omitted from some projection views to maintain drawing clarity. Consequently, quantifying parts from 2D drawings requires human interpretation, and thus human error inevitably creeps in. Using 3D design modeling to get quantity data is easy because items are represented fully within the context of the overall design. Consequently, as long as a CAD 3D design is created as a true to life model, the 3D modeling design represents quantities with exact accuracy. If done correctly - and our 3D Autocad course gives the details how - the CAD 3D model gives details of blocks and layers (i.e. items) automatically so human error become minimal.

Communication of design intent is vastly improved by using CAD 3D modeling. In the past, non technical people cannot interpret 2D designs and often had to wait for a prototype before they could truly understand a design. Since CAD 3D modeling can be used to generate pictorial views, as well as traditional projections, the design intent can clearly be seen by anyone willing to look. Consequently, it is possible to communicate a 3D modeling design and promote inter departmental understanding earlier in the project cycle, thus creating time savings throughout the design cycle. Customer presentations, brochures, manufacturing, and technical publications all benefit as contextual visual info (3D Info, not the awkward and confusing 2D projections) is available early in the design phase. Clearer communication of design intent at the earliest stage increases opportunities for greater understanding and minimises confussion about the form a design will take. Earlier and better quality collaboration is also made possible.

The possibilities for concurrent engineering take a real step forward with CAD 3D design because the sheer quality of 3D design modeling data can be instinctively understood and acted on by other departments.

A very impressive and up-to-date approach can be achieved by using 3D Autocad modeling - particularly in the eyes of customers. This also applies to individuals because their skills as employees need to be up dated in order to remain competitive in the jobs market.

Advanced Benefits of 3D Design

Advanced benefits are more complex, and thus less easy to achieve but at the same time bring great efficiencies in reducing costs and leadtimes. Put briefly, there will come a time when 3D CAD methods can be smoothly integrated with other computer systems within companies - and even the internet. This will enable users to quickly locate the most cost effective components easily, reducing the CAD operators need to search for, and then model them, as well as allowing production and scheduling software to have visibility of bills of material that are evolving as the 3D Autocad modeling develops. This is becoming more common as each year passes, but only for those who work with 3D CAD methods.

2D methods are not able to relay the quality and quantity of design information because 2D methods will always rely on human interpretation or visualization skills to interact with a 2D design. Interpretation, visualization and interaction with a 2D design is always difficult for non design staff and almost impossible for computer systems to extract information, because computers do not have the ability to interpret representative (I.e. incomplete) visual information.


The statement "competitiveness is relentless and has to be maintained" is one side of an equation that forces improvements in methods. On the other side of the equation are the real issues such as what is needed to remain competitive, and what are the costs, benefits and drawbacks. The balance of this equation is becoming more and more favorable for a change to 3D modeling design as software costs reduce and skilled 3D skilled staff become widely available. The benefits of 3D CAD methods are significant in reducing project costs. Competent but basic 3D CAD design software already reside on every desks with AutoCAD / LT installed, and the technique is widely understood. Finally, the quality and value of training is improving all the time - particularly with "Fundamental 3D Design With AutoCAD and LT - The Step By Step tutorials." It is easy to follow, proven in practice, and written for end users by end users.

The safest approach to 3D CAD design is to adopt a sensible level of change at the right moment. That moment is when the majority of competitors change to 3D CAD methods, because it minimizes the risk of falling behind. Now is the time to embrace CAD 3D design methods because the longer the delay, the greater the risk of competitive disadvantage, and the larger the learning gap that will need to be bridged. Progress is inevitable!

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