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How to Convert Mylar Aerospace Drawings to 3D CAD

How to Convert Mylar Aerospace Drawings

Aerospace design drawings were traditionally created and stored on mylar sheets. But, with today’s newer 3D CAD technologies, Mylar film has mostly been replaced by 3D CAD models and dynamic virtual viewing.  This can lead to a dilemma for organizations that have large stores of old aerospace design drawings on Mylar.

As these drawings have aged, most will have deteriorated.  In order to preserve the design information in 3D CAD, the drawings will need to be scanned and converted.  However, the Mylar deterioration makes the scan and conversion process much more difficult.

Ensuring Quality at a Reasonable Cost

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.

The questions that arise in in nearly every one of these organizations are:  Does it make sense to convert the Mylars to CAD? And, can we ensure the accuracy if we do?   So, it boils down to two separate issues, the cost of the CAD conversion, weighed against the potential inaccuracies in the final product.   Let’s focus on the accuracy issue first by looking at the aerospace industry…

Mylar to 3D CAD in Aerospace

An aerospace Mylar is an un-dimensional engineering drawing.  Aerospace mylar drawings have a high accuracy requirement of +/-.005” and are typically very large (up to 48” X 180”).  During the manufacturing process, the part that is imaged on the Mylar is cut in metal, then placed on the Mylar to check for accuracy.   Because of the requirements for very tight, accurate tolerances in the building of aircraft, accuracy is highly important.  The slightest deviation can cause malfunctioning parts in the finished aircraft.

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
  • Enhance Scanned Image
  • Check for Quality Control of Scanned Image
  • Convert to 3D
  • Final QC check ensures that the file meets stringent standards for CAD Perfect™ Conversion.

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.  The fact is that conversion companies like CAD / CAM Services who specialize in high accuracy Mylar conversions have processes and people in place that ensure quality control with affordable prices.   By ensuring specified control, intelligent job management, defined processes, reliable performance, and integrity of data and records maintenance, CAD / CAM Services is able to maintain tight cost controls, with the savings passed on to their customers.

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