The Essentials of Accuracy in 2D to 3D CAD Conversion

Are you ready to revise an old 2D CAD drawing into a new and modern design?  Often that’s a great way to get inspiration, but not if you have to redraw the 2D drawing.  So, how do you get started?  If you’re working on an old paper drawing, then the place to start is with an accurate scan of your 2D blueprint or CAD drawing.    We recommend using a high accuracy large format scanner.  There a several good brands around, but we happen to be partial to Contex scanners. 2D to 3D CAD Conversion

Once you have the scanned drawing, you can start the 2D to the 3D conversion process, which will begin with converting the raster image that you obtained from the scan into a vector image.  This vector image is required in order to work within any CAD program.

The process of converting a 2D drawing into a 3D model is quite complicated and the method of conversion can be time-consuming.   While some popular 3D modeling tools contained in programs like AutoCAD and SolidEdge can help simplify the process,  it still takes a CAD expert to easily generate both the 2D drafting view and the 3D CAD model that are usually needed for every day project activity – whether the user is a steel fabricator, machine operator or an architect.   The 2D drafting view enables the person who does the actual work to build the model or component, while the 3D model enables the designer, key investors and others to visualize the finished product.

CAD, both in 2D and 3D forms, is the standard for drafting, whether architectural drafting and design or for parts fabrication manufacture.  CAD experts can use the dimensions from 2D blueprints and drawings, along with special commands and tools to create 3D models.   Once the CAD expert has completed a 3D virtual model within CAD software, he can send the files to special 3D printing machines that can create actual models of whatever was modeled.

3D models, both virtual models and printed models offer numerous benefits, such as:

• Faster product design (approx 45 percent faster)

• Increased speed and accuracy of the output

• Test and validate designs to reduce costs from errors

• More effective internal design reviews

• Easily incorporate late design changes

• Automatic Bills of Materials

• Increase customer confidence and loyalty

• More effective communication with suppliers/customers

Bottom Line

Converting 2D to 3D takes a fair amount of expertise.  This is one place where using an experienced CAD drafting/CAD conversion service often saves time.  If you’re going to go that route, we recommend letting them handle the conversion project from start to finish.  The is, let them scan your paper drawing, as well doing the actual 2D to 3D conversion, in order to minimize scanning errors so that your 3D CAD models come out exactly the way you want.

You’ll also find a valuable ally if your 2D to 3D conversion runs into unforeseen problems.  An experienced CAD conversion service can also help with creating your virtual model, as well as generating the kinds of specialized files needed for 3D printing.


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This article was last Updated on February 10, 2022

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