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2D CAD Services

Mylar to CAD Conversion

A Mylar to CAD conversion might sound simpler than it really is. In this process, our team takes your old, hand-drawn engineering drawings and converts them into functional CAD models. We’ve worked with a lot of companies that had backrooms full of Mylar drawings, and we realized that we needed to start helping companies just like yours. That’s why we started offering full-service Mylar to 2D or 3D CAD conversions.

This service can help you whether you have one Mylar drawing or a thousand. The simple fact is that Mylar drawings are not ideal when it comes to quoting, fabricating, and maintaining designs over time. 

Our team of over 100 engineers and draftsmen can convert your entire backroom of drawings into professional-grade CAD files in as little as 24 hours. We have converted millions (yes, millions) of drawings over the years, so we can definitely handle your project.

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What Is a Mylar to CAD Conversion? 

A Mylar to CAD conversion is when an engineer takes an old hand-drawn engineering drawing and redraws it in a modern CAD program of choice. Since there is no simple way to convert from a hand drawing to a digital CAD file, this conversion almost always involves manually drawing the part from scratch in CAD, using the Mylar drawing as a guide.

Mylar is a plastic that was used extensively before 2D and 3D CAD became so popular and ubiquitous. It was used instead of paper because it offered better longevity. To be perfectly clear, Mylar drawings are physical, hand-drawn engineering drawings that were made with pens and rulers back in the day. Most modern engineering companies swap to CAD files for a number of reasons (which we’ll discuss later), which means that they need to convert from a Mylar drawing into a CAD file.

Some programs offer automatic conversions, but they aren’t worth the risk — we’ve tried them all in the past, and none of them come close to a manual conversion. The software might steal your intellectual property, result in CAD models that are not complete, or they might not scale your drawing correctly. All the while, they have huge reliability issues.

The only way to ensure you get the best results is to sign up for Mylar to CAD conversions through CAD/CAM Services and allow our team to handle the full project for you.

Why Mylar to CAD Conversions Matter

Converting from Mylar to a CAD file is the only way to digitize your work and protect your designs. Mylar drawings can be very easily stolen, damaged, lost, and ripped — all of which can be devastating to your company.

To put it simply, there’s too much risk associated with using Mylar drawings long-term. 

In addition, Mylar drawings are really tough to adjust, and they involve a lot of room for error that can lead to massive fabrication issues. Not to mention, Mylar is too tricky to share with a machine shop or vendor.

Before CAD existed, Mylar drawings were certainly the best way to preserve engineering designs. But, the modern era doesn’t have much room for these drawings.

Converting from paper drawings to CAD files will allow you to share and find each drawing easier, can protect your IP, and streamlines the manufacturing process. After the conversion, you won’t spend hours in your backroom looking for the right drawing. Instead, you’ll spend seconds finding the drawing in a folder on your computer. 

Benefits of Mylar to CAD Conversions from CAD/CAM Services

Regardless of what kind of Mylar drawings you have, and how many you have stored, you absolutely must convert them into a CAD file. There are too many benefits to count, but here are a few reasons why most people choose to convert their Mylar drawings to CAD files with CAD/CAM Services:

  • Protect your designs. A Mylar drawing comes with too much risk. They can be ripped, damaged, lost, or stolen with very little effort. A digital CAD file, on the other hand, is much more secure and protected long-term.
  • Easier to find, share, and use each drawing. Leafing through a drawer of Mylar drawings is a huge bottleneck for any engineering company. CAD files can be found by searching on a server, saving immeasurable time each year.
  • The best way to change designs. Changing a CAD file can be done within seconds, and you can save multiple different copies to aid in R&D. Making the same changes and copies of a Mylar drawing could easily take a week of engineering effort.
  • Help with sales, installation, engineering, and more. Almost every department can benefit from a Mylar to CAD conversion. CAD files can be opened by multiple departments at the same time, meaning that you can greatly expedite your workflows.
  • Expect incredible quality and fast turnarounds. With CAD/CAM Services, we arguably offer the best combination of quality and turnaround times than any other outsourced CAD company in the country. We take a lot of pride in our work, and you’ll notice the difference.

What Goes Into a Mylar to CAD Conversion from CAD/CAM Services?

Like our other services, a Mylar to CAD conversion starts with a quick consultation. During this conversation, we’ll learn the scope of your project and how many Mylar drawings you need to modernize. For really big projects, we might come out and handle 2D scanning of your old drawings to expedite the project. 

If you have a CAD program preference, we’ll do all of the modeling in that CAD software. Currently, we offer Mylar to CAD conversions in:

  • Siemens NX
  • Autodesk AutoCAD or Inventor
  • SolidWorks
  • CREO (formerly called Pro/Engineer)

Once we get a 2D scan of all your original Mylar drawings, our team will start converting them. We almost always perform conversions strictly by hand, manually redrawing every line in CAD instead of using conversion software.

During this process, we also go through a thorough clean-up and technical review of each Mylar drawing. These reviews will spot any issues with your drawings. By finding the issue early, we can avoid wasting time in the future correcting a bigger problem. 

We can either use the original Mylar drawing to create a 2D replica in CAD, or a full 3D CAD model. In either case, we’ll go through the full drawing and make sure that every dimension is correct. When our engineer is done, the drawing will also go through a peer-review process where another engineer looks at every dimension.

This added quality check is part of our CAD Perfect guarantee, ensuring that you get the best possible results.

With all of the CAD files done, we’ll send the files to you. Since we created the models in the correct CAD program to begin with, you won’t have any problems opening each file. If you spot an issue or want a minor change, let us know and we’ll correct the issue within 24 hours, free of charge.

More About Mylar to CAD Conversions

A Mylar to CAD conversion is a great time to modernize your parts catalog and create professional-grade 3D CAD models for all of your inventory. 3D CAD files make for great sales material, they help installers see the big picture, and they’re perfect for modern machine shops.

However, we’re happy with a simple conversion to 2D CAD if you just want a set of professional drawings for manufacturing. Our team at CAD/CAM Services can handle a 2D or 3D CAD conversion, and we can convert as many drawings as you have. With us, you won’t need to waste another second looking for a rolled-up drawing in a pile of old drawings.

Get a Quote Today

Getting started with us couldn’t be easier. Our professional crew of over 100 engineers and draftsmen is ready to start converting your Mylar drawings into CAD files today. We offer turnarounds as low as 24 hours, and we have the expertise and quality assurance to give you peace of mind.

Reach out today to get a free quote and learn more about how CAD/CAM Services can help you digitize your full inventory of parts. With us, you can save time and money on future projects while avoiding the headaches associated with Mylar drawings.

Request A QUOTE


CAD Conversion FAQs

Can you turn a sketch I have into an engineered CAD file?

Some of our most fun projects are taking someone’s sketch on a napkin, and transforming it into a manufacturable part. Yes, we can turn your sketch, idea, or dream into an engineered CAD file. Our team will go through engineering simulations, Design for Manufacturing (DFM) best practices, and tough calculations to make sure our designed part will work perfectly for you.

Allow our team at CAD/CAM Services to be your on-call engineer. We love going back and forth with inventors and dreamers like you, and our goal is to provide 3D CAD files and 2D manufacturing drawings. With our help, you can start building your dream part, assembly, or product today.

What is a CAD conversion?

A CAD conversion is when our team of engineers takes your sketch, physical drawing, existing CAD file, 2D CAD file, or idea and transforms it into a professional 2D or 3D CAD file. For instance, you can send us a picture of your legacy drawing, and we can create a 3D CAD model from scratch in your favorite CAD program (like NX, CREO, CATIA, SolidWorks, etc.).

A CAD conversion takes many shapes, and our engineers are able to perform most of the CAD conversions that you can think of. As long as you want high-quality 2D or 3D CAD files, then CAD/CAM Services can help.

What do you need to provide me with an accurate quote?

We need to know source CAD and target CAD software. Since large quantity orders can be discounted by us you can provide us with the number of parts you need to be converted.

If you tell us the desired purpose of the conversion we can offer you some conversion options. We can also convert your files into vendor-neutral file types (.STEP, .STL, etc,).

Please email us even cell phone photos, and the rough size of what you wish scanned and converted [email protected].

What do I get?

You get native Cad Perfect™ files with the full-featured model tree (where applicable, since some file types have no trees), and features can be fully parametric. It all depends on your goals.  We prefer to not translate any files. Our goal is to deliver to you a file that you do not have to touch. Our work is exactly as if you had reproduced that work in-house.

Which CAD file formats do you work with?

All the CAD file formats are listed on this page but bear in mind that we also work with exotic and legacy CAD systems.  After 31 years of providing CAD Services, we have run into almost any CAD file format.

Which CAD systems do you work with?

We support all the modern CAD systems including SolidWorks, Catia, Siemens NX, PTC Creo, Inventor, Revit, AutoCAD, and many others.

I have some weird CAD files from the previous century, can you help me?

Yes, absolutely. We can perform legacy CAD conversions.  Just send us some example files, and what CAD system we need to wind up in, and let us design the best solution for you.We have worked with old Computer Vision tapes, Anvil, and many other 1980’s systems.

I have some exotic files nobody knows even how to open. Can you help me even in this case?

Yes, we performed successful conversions from many local or exotic and ancient CAD systems. You can continue the development of old projects in modern software with our help.

My company wants to change the focus of our CAD systems, is it possible to do this with your help?

Of course, we offer CAD migration services. If you want all the Cad Perfect™ files to comply with your updated company standard, just send us the guidelines and we will make Cad Perfect™ files which are perfect for you!

There are special CAD translator software packages available on the market, why should I pay you guys?

It is better to ask the following question:

What can you do that a software translator cannot do?

  1. Verify files.
  2. Update files
  3. Fix files
  4. Convert the CAD data to native intelligent CAD data with full feature trees.
  5. Update data to the current CAD standards.
  6. Work in the native PLM systems.
  7. Correctly write scripts for this process as needed.

Digitizing Services FAQs

What is the accuracy of your digitizing process?

We are proud to announce that we create digitized copies of old non-dimensioned drawings within the Aerospace ±.005” accuracy requirement.

This is exactly the process we have used on several iterations of the 767-8, 300, and 300F.  We would be required to scan 200-300 J-size Mylars, and with zero reference points, and no dimensions. Our next step was to create via FreeForm designs in Catia the 767 wings. All of which was then certified by Boeing.

How can I get a valid CAD model from my old Mylar?

Yes.  We have accurately converted old Mylars into 2D and 3D CAD files for 20 years.

We start with a very good raster scan, generally on Contex 54” or the new 60” scanners.  In addition, we can often work with existing scans that you might have.

After that, we have to adjust the raster image to fit independently in each 5” or10” grid.  Each of the four corners of each grid has to be independently moved and calibrated.This is a tricky, manual, and a proprietary process. But at this point, that Mylar image is back to the original spec. This is exactly what we did for the Air Force.  Over 70,000 J-size Mylars were scanned and calibrated. Now our corrected and calibrated images are the Air Force standard – not the Mylars.

When you import it to your CAD software we make sure that the image is appropriately scaled, calibrated, and truly horizontal and vertical.

What is a “Calibrated” Mylar image?

Mylar films can be stored in climate-controlled facilities. However, films get skewed and change sizes over time – ironically not linear. So what changes on one end, does not apply to what is in the middle, or the other end.  We have seen ‘J’ size Aerospace Mylars (about 48×180”), vary by a full inch.

CAD/CAM Services utilizes a proprietary process to make Mylar raster images dead on a 5” or 10” grid. Our process was developed in conjunction with, and approved by Boeing engineers.

Do you support BIM modeling?

Using Revit, yes we do.  Think of BIM as an intelligent 3D model of your building.  We know exactly where all of the HVAC is, IT cabling, electrical, the cost of doors and windows, when mechanical systems need to be serviced, all the way to a room number with a phone number and IP in that room. In addition to our Ray Tracing technology to support some very life-like photo renderings.

Creating models and drawings over scanned analog documents seem so easy – why such a low price?

In order to make an accurate representation, you have to calibrate the original drawing, which may have deformed during its storage period. Non-dimensioned mediums need to be thoroughly calibrated before digitizing.

Parts of scanned data may be lost due to time and other factors. Because it is important to recreate the design intent,  we need to recreate lost data.

You ONLY receive  Cad Perfect™ files – as if you had drawn these by hand.

What is the average raster to vector (R2V) 2-D conversion price?

The typical AEC D & E size sheet is $135. There are possible discounts depending on the job size. The more you convert the less you pay.  The bulk of the files we produce are for AutoCAD.

What is DHS – Critical Infrastructure Products

The Department of Homeland Security protocol  PPD-21 requirement has deemed that sixteen (16) industries and services are critical to our US Nations security.

These industries  require additional security protocols when creating CAD files. CAD / CAM Services follows all of these requirements. Think of industries and info structures such as power, water, along with fourteen (14) other industries.  For a full list please see Critical Infrastructure Products.

General CAD FAQs

I need my project done today or tomorrow. Can you process rush jobs?

Depending upon when you catch us, yes, we can handle rush jobs. We often work over the holidays, Thanksgiving and even Christmas holidays. If you have a deadline – call us.

For years we have run three shifts of about 30 drafting folks per shift – allowing us to deliver work 3x faster, and seven days a week. Yes, we work 24/7, so you do not have to. The fun never stops here.

For 3D scanning, this is a different question. Because of the common setup work required, at best expect a 48-72 hour turn to be scanned. CAD or simulation services are in addition to that.

Who is affected by the PPD-21 directive?

The Department of Homeland Security has identified 16 different infostructures:

  1. Chemical Sector,
  2. Commercial Facilities Sector,
  3. Communications Sector,
  4. Critical Manufacturing Sector,
  5. Dams Sector,
  6. Defense Industrial Base Sector,
  7. Emergency Services Sector,
  8. Energy Sector,
  9. Financial Services Sector,
  10. Food and Agriculture Sector,
  11. Government Facilities Sector,
  12. Healthcare and Public Health Sector,
  13. Information Technology Sector,
  14. Nuclear Reactors Materials and Waste Sector,
  15. Transportation Systems Sector,
  16. Water and Wastewater Systems Sector.

This is both Government and private sectors.

If you are in any of these industries, this directive is important to you for many reasons.  Do you know where your critical sections are? Are they well protected? Are there concerns for Hazmat, security clearance requirements, and other concerns?  Can you quickly rebuild what might be lost?

The important part of this means that critical infrastructure must be secure and able to withstand and rapidly recover from all hazards. Achieving this will require integration with the national preparedness system across prevention, protection, mitigation, response, and recovery.

Further details can be found at:  Government PPD-21

DHS – The National Infrastructure Protection Plan details:  The National Infrastructure Protection Plan

Industry specific plans:  2015 Industry specific PPD-21 plans

CAD / CAM Services provides PPD-21 for the following industries:  DHS – CAD / CAM Services

What is the PPD-21 Protocall?

The Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-21) is a Critical Infrastructure Protection and Resilience United States directive that aims to strengthen and secure the country’s critical infrastructure.The goal of this directive is to reduce vulnerabilities, identify and disrupt threats, minimize consequences and hasten response and recovery efforts related to critical infrastructure.

The directive defines resilience as the ability to prepare for and adapt to ever changing conditions, terrorists, and withstand and recover rapidly from disruptions. Resilience includes the ability to withstand and recover from deliberate attacks, accidents, or naturally occurring threats or incidents.

Do you support the PPD-21 Directive?

Yes we do, and have now for several years. In addition, we also support the industry specific plans as well.

Did you really own the trademark Cad Perfect™, Cad Perfect CAD Conversions™ and Cad / Cam Services™?

Yes, we did back in 2008. We started using Cad Perfect™ back in the early 1990s because all of our customers wanted only real Cad Perfect™ work. Back then the buzz words were terms like machine ready, or DXF Traceover and others.

The problem is, nobody wanted that. They all wanted drawings and models that they did not have to touch. Everybody wanted drawings just as if they hand redrew the work themselves.

Thus, Cad / Cam Services™ was the first company to start offering ONLY Cad Perfect™ work.

What is the estimated delivery time?

It depends on the scope of work:

  • 2D drawings – small quantity, normally 48 hours.  We have several customers where they contract to us, keeping 4-8 drafters busy full time.
  • 3D models – complexity dependent, but smaller jobs in 2-3 days. Some models we have spent months on.  Again, we have several customers where they contract to us, keeping 6-10 3D CAD designers busy full time.

Simple jobs have a lead time of 48 hours. Larger projects are delivered and invoiced weekly.

Will CAD / CAM Services Sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA)?

Yes. NDAs are a common part of our business. All data is yours – not ours, and treated as proprietary data and not for public consumption or use. Probably 70% of our work is under NDA agreements. We can generally get these signed within the day.

How do I send a sample, in order to get a quote?

Fill out our quote form, attach your files, or simply send us an email. Tell everything about your project, like the model purpose.

For smaller files < 15 MB you can simply email them to us.  For something larger, just drop them in any number of drop boxes like Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive and others.  Or if you would like, just contact us for a private, hardened link.

It is fine to use most any time of compression such as  *.zip, *.rar, *.tar, *.7z, *.arc, *.LBR, and even *.iso images.

A direct email is [email protected]

We also use a hardened OwnCloud web file sharing platform for unlimited file transfers. We provide unique and very private Web Storage Portals, this also supports file syncing for extreme convenience for you. Because so much of our work is DOD or weapons design work, Security – and confidentiality is very important to us.