3D CAD Modeling and Simulation have changed architecture, engineering, and design in ways that were unheard of even ten years ago, making such events as the rescue of the Chilean miners in 2010 possible; and bringing sustainability into construction.   So where does this leave 2D Drafting?  Has it become the orphan child that’s no longer used or needed?

According to Business Advantage, 3D modeling is a core growth area, with usage is expected to grow to 81% over the next several years.  Usage is particularly high in manufacturing, government, and education, while lower in the slow-to-adapt construction market.  Despite this growth, 2D Drafting is a core and stable CAD activity, with similar levels of current usage across industry sectors.  Usage will grow as economies expand, but the growth will be slower than the growth of 3D CAD.project management This is one of the reasons that we at CAD CAM Services, Inc. put as much effort into maintaining and improving our core 2D drafting capabilities as we go into expanding our 3D CAD offerings for modeling, simulation, sheet metal design, NDT, and BIM.  Our customer base demonstrates the continuing importance of 2D Drafting in a 3D CAD world. Interestingly, some of our oldest customers tell us that they don’t anticipate using 3D CAD in-house.  They will continue to rely on 2D drafting internally, and outsource their 3D modeling needs as required.  The tell us that this enables them to keep their overhead costs low and eliminates the need to hire high-level 3D CAD designers and engineers.

This two-prong approach to design enables them to have the best of both worlds…cost conscious operations and cutting-edge technology.

Simulation use is even more ambiguous among some of our customers.  They recognize the benefits of simulation in their design process but aren’t interested investing in the technology and personnel to do it in-house.  That’s why we’ve increased the usage of these tools in our staff.  We provide services to a large base of manufacturing companies and simulation is necessary to their continued growth in a global market.

Having said all of this in defense of 2D drafting, it’s important to note that architects and engineers often rely on both 2D drawings and 3D models of their projects to aid in their work.   It’s well known that 2D CAD drawings don’t always provide these professionals with the speed and accuracy they need to complete projects on time or to find solutions to unexpected design challenges.

3D modeling in the architecture world offers an outstanding way to improve the efficiency and aesthetic of their designs while enabling a nearly full-proof way to display a virtual model of the finished product to stakeholders.

For instance, an architect in China was able to win an international competition to design a new theater in the country by using a 3D CAD model, according to an article by a technology company.


3D modeling provides architects and engineers with the tools they need, but 2D drafting is far from dead.  Here’s what 3D Modeling provides:

  1. Faster design development and deployment – 3D modeling is able to virtually products, parts or structures faster than 2D drawings or models can. 3D models leave little question about aspects of a project because they provide a more accurate picture. This means architects and engineers don’t have to spend time looking for issues in 2D drawings, allowing them to finish their projects faster.
  2. More Precision and control
    3D laser scanning collects accurate as-is and can use data sets to create pin-point models of real products and areas. This reduces the time spent measuring and re-measuring parts of a structure or part and using trial-and-error to develop a precise model. This reduces expensive mistakes.
  3. Visualization
    Whether it’s retrofitting a part or providing a virtual tour or a building, architects and engineers can manipulate 3D models in a way they often can’t with 2D CAD drawings. Professionals are able to test what-if scenarios with their designs in 3D, helping to validate their plans and identify any problems with design quality before construction or manufacture begins.
  4. Reduced lead times
    Because of the accuracy and flexibility of 3D models, architects and engineers are able to spend less time on the design stage of their projects and more time on the actual completion of each task. Professionals are able to identify any issues ahead of time by using 3D modeling, saving them from having to rework schedules and increase budgets.

And here’s where 2D CAD and Drafting fit in:

You don’t have to abandon your legacy 2D drawings in order to fully take advantage of all that 3D CAD has to offer. Companies implementing 3D CAD have multiple tools and outsource services that enable them to maintain, edit and reuse their legacy 2D data.


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