SECTION B1 - Understanding Autocad 3D design when learning Autocad 3D

Importance of Autocad 3D Design Return to Home Page

Understanding 3D Principles

Most people learning Autocad 3D believe it is merely about learning 3D geometry, and they grasp the 3D geometry issues quickly. However, the '3D Design Process' is not usually covered while learning Autocad 3D, so users often remain unaware of its significance with the result that Autocad 3D modeling is made to fit within the same old '2D Design Process' - An awkward and inefficient alliance indeed that severely limits the benefits of learning 3D geometry and leads directly to the uncertainties about the value of doing 3D Design.

3D design allows the designer to separate design from drawing, and this is the key to unlocking the power of 3D methods. 3D design is at its most powerful when the 3D work is allowed to reach quite a high level of maturity, (where the early phase - and usually biggest - itterations of design evolution have already happened) prior to starting the drafting phase of the work to create 2D projection drawings. With 2D design, the only way to confirm the fit of components is to create a drawing and get them made. With 3D design, the fit gets confirmed without having to get parts made. Re-work risks, and thus extra cost, and extended timescales becomes a thing of the past. Drawings become a formality and happen efficiently toward the end of the design phase.

Most important of all is the value of parts libraries when created in 3D. They have a massive impact on reducing design timescales at the same time as having the benefits of 3D methods as described at the start of this section. A single 3D object has zero ambiguity, whereas a 2D library part with its associated projection views will always need some level of human interpretation to select the appropriate view in order to use the library item effectively. A 2D library item will always need human intervention to be used, but a 3D item is always instantly useable giving huge productivity gains.

Here is a typical remark from the feedback we receive about our Autocad training course.

"I have found your tutorial system absolutly fascinating and incredably easy to use. Having to teach myself I found your course so easy to follow. Congratulations." - Mr. D. Wood of Downer Energy Services.

We would like to extend our thanks for such comments and opinions as recognition of our efforts to provide high quality but easy to use 3D Autocad Training material. If you would like your comments to appear, or would like to suggest improvements to our training material, please, please, use our Feedback Page in Section E of the website to let us know your oppinions - your input is most welcome.

Unless you have done 3D design training with 3D Cadcea, the '3D design process' issues will have revealed themselves slowly while gaining experience on 'live' 3D designs. Understanding the '3D design process' issues from raw experience alone is a time consuming method indeed - particularly when users inadvertently dwell on their 2D experience and inappropriately continue to create manufacturing drawings to early in the life of the design. Unfortunately some users that have done 3D design training never reach the point of fully understanding the timescale gains that are available from 3D methods, but people who do understand them NEVER go back to 2D, and truly understand that Autocad 3D is a far more powerful and efficient approach.

The 3D productivity gains described in this section apply to any 3D CAD software that has a 3D design space, so it makes good sense to learn 3D CAD design wherever possible, because the productivity elements of the 3D method are directly transferable to any other 3D CAD software.

So if you have access to AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT, use the opportunity to learn 3D and watch your 3D CAD design career go from strength to strength.

The 3D Cadcea Course covers:-

When considering a move to 3D CAD software, remaining with Autocad in the early days of a transition to 3D methods offers three very strong advantages by minimizing the risks, minimizing the costs, and minimizing the timescales. The advantages of learning 3D CAD with Autocad summerize as follows:-

  1. Users can learn 3D CAD cost effectively. If Autocad software is already available, it can be used in 3D without any extra cost. There is also a good chance that it will be more than suitable as a long term 3D design software solution - particularly in the Architectural and Building Services industries.
  2. Learning 3D CAD can be done quickly. The user is already familiar with how Autocad software works and thus it is an easy step to learn a few more commands to graduate to correct 3D methods. If it is clear that more powerful design software is required such as solid modeling, then knowledge gained with Autocad about working with 3D methods can be carried across to other 3D design software very easily.
  3. After reaching a proficient level of 3D productivity, it is an easy and low risk step to move to new software - even solid modeling software. The learning is reduced to merely getting familiar with new software commands.
Organizations often make the mistake of graduating to 3D design by buying unfamiliar 3D design software. The risks of this approach are very high and clear to see.

  1. A move to unknown 3D CAD software will cost money to buy, and disrupt existing CAD procedures. How much will it cost to employ experienced users? How long before existing staff are productive?

  2. Existing users have 3 times as much to learn - new software commands, as well as learning 3D geometry and the '3D Design process' issues. A large chunk to learn indeed before productivity can be gained.
These are significant risks.

Understanding the Importance of 3D Methods

The importance of 3D design software is to reduce costs and thus increase competitiveness - both for companies and individuals. Competitiveness is vital for companies to maintain market share for their products, and is vital for individuals to maintain secure and successful careers. Autocad 3D design is highly important for reducing costs and brings a whole range of other advantages discussed above.

The prospect of learning 3D CAD is perceived by many as a leap into the unknown. This is understandable because it requires a different approach to design, and there are a wide variation of ill informed opinions on the potential of 3D design for improving competitiveness. The remaining web pages in Section B aim to clarify the issues raised by Autocad 3D design so that a more informed decision can be made about using it. Those who accept the inevitability of progress and understand the issues will be in a position of increasing strength as the future unfolds.

People with little experience of 3D CAD software will probably require an appreciation of the method and the benefits before they can evaluate a commitment to it. This process starts by dispelling some common 3D misconceptions, but first, an overview of 3D design is required.

Overview of Autocad 3D Design

It is common and natural that people mentally visualise items in 3D. This is demonstrated by thinking of a simple object like an ornate door handle. Take a moment and think of a door handle right now. Nobody thinks of it as three projection views. It is visualized as a single pictorial object. Autocad 3D modeling works the same way, with the designer creating a 3D model on screen as if it was in his mind. Having manipulated and added entities to complete the 3D model, he can orient the model to look at it in plan or side or front elevations.
These elevations become the 2D projection drawings - exactly the same drawings that would be created with traditional 2D methods. Parts can be viewed individually or as an assembly thus allowing both detail and assembly drawings to evolve from the single assembled 3D model with ease.

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Please feel welcome to make use of the free resources at the side and bottom of these webpages. Many of them contain very useful 3D CAD material.