Mylar to CAD Conversion
If your organization has old Mylar drawings, and you’re thinking about converting them to CAD, you’ve come to the right place.
Because Mylar is basically a plastic sheeting material it is affected over the years by changes in temperature, causing older drawings to stretch or otherwise change their size, affecting the accuracy of the drawing itself. So, the question becomes: If you have legacy Mylar drawings that need to be converted to CAD, how can you ensure quality control in the process?
The accuracy of the final CAD file can be of paramount importance, especially in manufacturing and aerospace applications, where micro-tolerances can be critical. Furthermore, these are the very industries that are most likely to have large archives of Mylar drawings that are still in use, due to the long-life of manufacturing equipment and aircraft.
Our Mylar Conversion Process
What does it take to succeed in the accurate conversion of un-dimensioned aerospace Mylar drawings to 3D CAD? Our process includes the following steps:
- Technical Review of Mylar Drawings
- Pre-Scan Clean-up of Mylar Drawings
- Scanning Mylars with Large Format Technical Scanner
- Calibration of Scanned Image
- Check for Quality Control of Scanned Image
- Convert to 3D
- The final QC check ensures that the file meets strict standards for CAD Perfect® Conversion.
Calibration is our proprietary process when we restore the Mylar scan to its original shape. Our experienced CAD specialists have considerable experience in recovering these drawings so that they can provide you with digitized drawings with .005″ accuracy.
Here is a little sneak peek:
The easy case is when there is a dimensional net on the background. But it is possible to deal even with completely undimensioned Mylar drawings. Here is where our calibration process comes in handy. We spent a considerable amount of time ten years ago and finally managed to create our proprietary method.
The biggest problem is to find the distortion coefficients for the various regions of Mylar film. Due to its non-linear distortion process – it can take a considerable amount of time. Our specialists carefully split the whole Mylar scan into separate zones that were affected by different distortions. We skew each zone separately and connect them back together. It pays off with .005” aerospace standard accuracy.
Our method was approved by Boeing aerospace engineers and since then it is suitable for all the possible causes. After Mylar is calibrated, it is imported into CAD software while maintaining and confirming the scale settings. As these drawings were done by hand, it is also needed to avoid copying small mistakes and position errors to recreate the initial design intent.
After conversion – we can deliver the resulting models right into your workflow. Our company specialists showed their ability to follow custom standards provided by our aerospace clients. We can handle the long term conversion projects so all the converted models will arrive just when you need them.
Cost of Converting Mylars
Many organizations assume that the cost associated with the conversion of Mylars must be quite high because of the accuracy requirements. Because we specialize in high accuracy Mylar conversions, we have processes and people in place to ensure quality control at affordable prices. By ensuring specified control, intelligent job management, defined processes, reliable performance, and integrity of data and records maintenance, we maintain tight cost controls, with the savings, passed on to our customers.
CAD Conversion FAQ
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?
- Verify files.
- Update files
- Fix files
- Convert the CAD data to native intelligent CAD data with full feature trees.
- Update data to the current CAD standards.
- Work in the native PLM systems.
- Correctly write scripts for this process as needed.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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].
Digitizing Services FAQ
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.
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 https://www.cadcam.org/utility-companies/.
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.
General CAD FAQ
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:
- Chemical Sector,
- Commercial Facilities Sector,
- Communications Sector,
- Critical Manufacturing Sector,
- Dams Sector,
- Defense Industrial Base Sector,
- Emergency Services Sector,
- Energy Sector,
- Financial Services Sector,
- Food and Agriculture Sector,
- Government Facilities Sector,
- Healthcare and Public Health Sector,
- Information Technology Sector,
- Nuclear Reactors Materials and Waste Sector,
- Transportation Systems Sector,
- 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.
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