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Do You Need an Expert to Convert Mylar Drawings to CAD?

If you even have a single Mylar drawing in your backroom, you’re going to experience a bottleneck. Getting that drawing manufactured is harder than it needs to be, and that’s why so many machine shops only work with CAD files today. This means that you need to convert your Mylar drawings into a CAD file — but, can you do this work on your own or do you need an expert?

In this quick guide, we’ll explain why outsourcing your Mylar to CAD conversions is a great way to save time, save money, and avoid countless headaches.

What Is a Mylar to CAD Conversion?

A Mylar drawing is an old-school hand-drawn engineering drawing. Mylar is a plastic-like material that draftsmen used to use before CAD was so popular.

Today, most machine shops and fabricators need a CAD file to get anything made. This could be either a 3D model made on CAD or a 2D manufacturing drawing created through CAD. Either way, you need CAD if you want to make something.

This is where a Mylar to CAD conversion comes in. This process entails taking your old-school hand drawing and transforming it into a full 2D or 3D CAD model. In most cases, it’s most effective to make a 3D CAD file and then create 2D manufacturing drawings from it.

How the Conversion Process Works

The conversion process isn’t as easy as just scanning a drawing or taking a picture of it. Sure, that’s a good first step, but that’s just the beginning. The full conversion process involves redrawing the full drawing from scratch on CAD, using the original Mylar as just a reference.

We like to start by doing a 2D scan of your Mylar drawings, pulling up that scan on our computer, then using a second monitor to draw the scanned image from scratch on CAD.

Why not just use a scanned image? Well, the scanned image is a “raster image” and you need a “vector file”. Rasters are just tiny pixels that come together and look like a shape, while vectors are lines with positions in 2D space. Combine enough vectors together, and you have a usable CAD file that can be extruded, dimensioned, and more.

Plus, it’s hard to tell if your Mylar drawings are perfectly scaled, since they’re done by hand. By drawing it fresh on CAD, you can ensure every dimension is perfect and accurate.

Workers and manager in safety helmets working with documents at factory table

Construction engineers look through legacy designs before deciding to convert them to CAD.

6 Reasons Why Outsourcing Your Mylar to CAD Conversion Is a Good Idea

Now that you know about the Mylar to CAD conversion, let’s talk about outsourcing. Why might you outsource this work to experts like our team at CAD/CAM Services? There are a number of great reasons:

The Process Is Tedious

The bottom line is that any Mylar to CAD conversion is incredibly tedious. Even if you’re just converting a simple rectangle, it can take a while to scan the Mylar drawing, get the CAD drawing set up, bring in all your templates and title block, and ensure the rectangle has the right dimensions on CAD.

Needless to say, it will take you multiple hours, days, or weeks to convert all of your Mylar drawings into functional CAD files.

With a process this tedious, it’s hard to stay motivated throughout. Your engineers will likely putter out and start cutting corners in order to finish sooner. We don’t blame anyone for doing this, the conversion process is tolling and it’s easy to lose motivation after a handful of them.

However, this hurts your business. By outsourcing, you can avoid any issues associated with this repetitive, tedious task. Allow our experts to handle it, and you’ll get perfect conversions without any headaches.

Get CAD Perfect Results

Another reason to outsource to CAD/CAM Services is that we offer CAD Perfect results. This is our trademarked term that refers to the quality of drawings that you can expect from us. Every converted drawing will be operational, dimensionally accurate, and peer-reviewed to check for errors before we deliver the drawing to you.

This will greatly boost your confidence for every converted drawing. The last thing you want is a CAD file that may or may not be correct — you won’t find out until a manufacturer makes it and delivers the final part to you. Why go through all that hassle?

Unlock More Repeatability and Efficiency

Since the Mylar to 3D CAD conversion is so tedious and repetitive, it’s easy for an untrained engineer to start making small mistakes in your drawings. This issue compounds as you convert more and more drawings.

By the end of a 100-drawing conversion, you might find that half of them have issues. These types of issues will slow you down, waste your money, and hurt the manufacturability of your drawings.

Instead, trust a team that’s been trained to go through these conversions. We’ve converted millions of Mylar drawings into CAD files over the years, and we very rarely make a mistake worth mentioning. We are one of the most repeatable, efficient outsourced companies that you can trust for your CAD conversions.

Get Faster Results

Another benefit of outsourcing this work is to get quicker results. For many companies, converting Mylar to CAD drawings is a necessity to get quotes from machine shops and double-check legacy drawings for errors. In other words, you can’t afford to wait for results.

With a high-quality outsourced team, you’ll get conversions sent to your inbox quicker than your in-house engineers can manage. Another benefit of CAD/CAM Services is that our staff works 24/7 on rotating schedules, and we have over 100 engineers and draftsmen to assign to your project.

If you have a massive conversion project that you need fast delivery on, we’ll assign even more engineers and work around the clock to get your conversions finished ASAP.

Two freelancers, an Asian man and a woman, work in a modern office, discussing and discussing a joint project, looking at a computer monitor

An outsourced engineering manager reviews a worker’s progress on a large Mylar to CAD conversion project.

It Typically Costs Less

Since the process is quicker and you’re trusting experts, you’ll find that it actually costs less to outsource this work. Since you’re not paying for our benefits, paid time off, or sick time, you’re only paying for engineering efforts that go directly into your conversion project.

To put it simply, you’re only paying for work that we do for you and nothing else. This can result in massive cost savings over time — especially for larger projects.

We can also arrange a per-drawing rate to potentially keep your costs even lower.

Allow Your Staff to Work on Other Projects

While our team chips away at your Mylar to CAD conversion project, your team can work on any other project. We’re sure that your engineers have a backlog of mission-critical projects that make money for your business, so why not free them up so they can start working on that?

While we handle the meticulous conversions, your team can perform tasks that actually make you money.

Do You Need an Expert to Convert Mylar Drawings to CAD?

So now it’s time for the million-dollar question: do you need an expert to convert Mylar drawings into CAD files? Technically no, but there are too many benefits to outsourcing this work to experts.

If you handle the conversions in-house, you’ll face a steep learning curve, boring repetitive tasks that are tedious, and you’ll wind up spending more for the same work.

By trusting experts like CAD/CAM Services, you can get faster delivery, CAD Perfect conversions, and more confidence in every CAD file you receive.


As you just learned, it helps a lot to bring in an expert for your Mylar to CAD conversions. Our team at CAD/CAM Services can deliver faster results at lower prices than your in-house engineers. We’ve converted millions of drawings, and we will happily convert yours as well. Get a free quote today.

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