CAD/CAM Services F.A.Q

General CAD Questions

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

Who is affected by the PPD-21 directive?

The Department of Homeland Security has identified 16 different infostructures:

  1. Chemical Sector,
  2. Commercial Facilities Sector,
  3. Communications Sector,
  4. Critical Manufacturing Sector,
  5. Dams Sector,
  6. Defense Industrial Base Sector,
  7. Emergency Services Sector,
  8. Energy Sector,
  9. Financial Services Sector,
  10. Food and Agriculture Sector,
  11. Government Facilities Sector,
  12. Healthcare and Public Health Sector,
  13. Information Technology Sector,
  14. Nuclear Reactors Materials and Waste Sector,
  15. Transportation Systems Sector,
  16. 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

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.

3D Scanning FAQs

How much does scanning services cost?

It depends on the complexity of the scanned model and material properties. As, for example, it may be much more complicated to properly scan an object with a reflective surface, than a non-reflective surface. It also depends on three main factors:

  1. the physical size of your part
  2. the required scanning resolution
  3. if industrial CT or metallurgy scanning is needed

Simple quick cell phone photos are worth a thousand words to us. To know for sure you can request a quote. It is of course, free – and treated as if an NDA is already in place.

Some averages:

  • The typical 3D scan is somewhere around $200-400 per part.
  • Tomographic (CT) scanning is $600-900 per part.

Because so much of our business is Aerospace related, our scanning – and the completed CAD file HAS to be within ±.005” anywhere on that part, we never use consumer-grade scanners. The scanners we use start at $25,000 and go up to $700,000 (CT) per scanner.

At any given time, we have in excess of $ 5 million just in scanning hardware we use. In addition, a hidden factor of scanning on any system is the assembly and clean up of any scan. The rule of thumb is a 2-1 ratio. So even with our experienced scanning staff, if we spend one-hour scanning; we will then spend an additional two hours of clean up and assembly before our CAD group gets the Point Cloud file to simulate or reverse engineer.

What is the Point Cloud/Mesh/3D Scan?

A point cloud is thousands if not millions of data points located in space by X, Y, Z coordinates. Images of this nature are often captured with Faro Focus or Artec scanners that specialize in large-area scanning.  Most likely you obtain building and territory plans in this file format.

A polygon mesh is a set of triangles located in the same manner. These scans are obtained with Artec, Creaform, Enscan and other handheld scanners. Parts and reverse engineering device scans are usually polygon meshes.

What types of scanners do you use?
  • Faro Arm – Very good for most parts, fast and accurate
  • Turntable scanners – high accuracy, high detail, fast scanning. Great for smaller parts.
  • Portable handheld – may be favorable for some larger parts – if not a tripod-mounted scanner.
  • Long Range – these mount on a tripod, and are intended to scan buildings, plants, and other larger sized projects.
  • Industrial CT scanners – incredibly expensive, but they offer two main benefits – the ability to inside an object (think of a void in a solid object), and their accuracy.  At this level, we are often in the ±.001” – ±.002” range, and often used in metrology scanning.
How accurate is 3D scanning?

The scanners we use are as accurate as the industry offers – from anybody at any cost. We use Faro and Artec 3D scanners, in addition to Faro CMM type arms, including the Surveyor tables. Depending on what scanner we use:

  • CT scanners – 4 to 400µm/voxel resolution
  • Artec Portable scanners high accuracy (0.03 – 0.05mm)
  • Artec Portable scanners high resolution (up to 0.15mm)
  • Our CyberGage 360 – generates highly precise full 360 degrees automated scan with accuracy NIST traceable to approximately 7 microns
  • The CyberGage 360 has a system repeatability of ±.005mm.
Do you support CT scanning?

Yes with both the DeskTom and EasyTom CT scanners.  They both support metrology grade Computed Tomography (CT) inspection.  This provides nondestructive, 3D Scanning of Internal and External Geometries.  We use the Volume Graphics VGStudio Max high-end industrial CT software for the demanding of CT applications.

Can your scanners find voids in materials?

Yes. This is one of CT scanners’ major points – to see into objects. This is the best solution for nondestructive quality control.

How good are your 3D CT scanners?
  • 4 to 400µm/voxel resolution
  • Full inspection of large size samples
  • Modular and micro-resolution capability
  • 6 motion axis
What is the minimum price for your scanning services?

For 3D scanning services our minimum order fee is $120.

Can you scan the internals of my parts?

Depending on the situation we can offer you dissecting your part for scanning purposes or use CT if applicable.

Digitizing FAQs

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.

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.

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.

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/.

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.

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 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.

3D Modeling FAQs

How do you bill 3D CAD services tasks?

Per hour. Hourly rate depends on what CAD software used and typically starts at $75 per hour.  In general, to make this process safer for you, we often provide you a fixed not to exceed the cost as well.  That way, you are protected from an open-ended PO. However, the reality is our fees are based on time. In addition, services in say Catia or NX are more expensive than say Solidworks. Or, simulation services are commonly done by real engineers.

What do you need to give me accurate pricing?

First of all, we need to know the target CAD system and whether you have an existing  template, or set of CAD standards for this project.

The main question is the overall complexity. As each part and assembly consists of different features and elements the best way is to provide us with an example.  Again, a picture is worth a thousand words.

If you already have a model and need us to improve it or update it in any way we need to know which dimensions and features are critical and which can be modified to achieve your desired result.  Even a before and after example works very well. We started with x, and got to this CAD file.

We can also offer you better options if you provide us with the purpose of your project (demonstration, 3D printing, FEA Simulation, CNC manufacturing, etc.).  This helps us better refine the task.

How do you check your models?

We create 2D drawings from our 3D models for QC purposes. We follow aerospace standards and deliver ±.005” accuracy models for all projects.  All of our QC is done by a different person than the designer. On Catia work, we often use Q-Checker for Airbus.

What is the minimum price for your 3D modeling services?

We have a minimum order fee $150.

Reverse Engineering FAQs

What is the average price for Reverse Engineering?

It all depends on the part’s complexity, size and structure.

What do you guys need to provide me with accurate pricing?

We need to know whether you need your parts to be scanned by us. Or many times we can work with 3D scans provided by third-party companies.  The quality of the scan is everything in our business. Anyway, we strongly advise you to use us for both the scanning and the CAD conversion aspects.  That way, we can control the quality. Sometimes we receive poor quality scans which make it impossible to create truly Cad Perfect™ models for you.  By all means, send us a couple of even cell phone photos, and the rough size of the object.  Most of the time, this will provide us enough information to provide a real bid.

The price depends on the part complexity, size, as well as the target file parametres. We need to know whether you need full parametric models, and your desired accuracy. If you tell us the purpose of reverse-engineered models, we can often provide you with possible solutions. The target CAD software may change the price as well. This includes sophisticated Workstation add-on products such as Composites, Catia electrical wiring, mold design, and others.

What is the quality of reverse-engineered parts?

We can provide ±.005” aerospace quality for every model. CT scanned parts can have even higher precision up to ±.001”.

Cad Conversion FAQs

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].

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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? 

  1. Verify files.
  2. Update files
  3. Fix files
  4. Convert the CAD data to native intelligent CAD data with full feature trees.
  5. Update data to the current CAD standards.
  6. Work in the native PLM systems.
  7. Correctly write scripts for this process as needed.

Finite Element Analysis FAQs

What is the purpose of FEA?

It depends on the analysis type. In most cases, FEA helps to predict how the part or the whole assembly will behave in certain circumstances.

The static structural analysis helps to find weak spots and stress concentrators and change model geometry before manufacturing. This can save a lot of money and production time and reduce the amount of real-life testing.

You can also predict model behavior by calculating it’s aero- and hydrodynamics parameters.

What do you need to make an accurate simulation?

The main elements in FEA are finite elements. They create a mesh around the model geometry so we need an appropriate model to run the simulation.

Some types of analyses demand physical properties of materials used in the assembly. Most of the CAE software databases contain generic information about popular materials. Providing us with the information provided by your manufacturer or material supplier can increase the accuracy of our simulations.

Digital Mockup (DMU) FAQs

Can you make me a cool part catalog?

You bet we can. We created millions of files for Amazon’s online catalog, so no doubt we can help you.  Click here, here or here for some live Amazon examples. Simply select any file type from the list under the photo.

We directly support TraceParts.com, PartSolutions, GrabCAD, and several others.

What can you do to make a cool part catalog?

There are no limits to creative tasks. Contact us and we will work something out.  This includes part animation, expanded views, opening up assemblies, and full digital mock-ups.

Do you create scenarios for a video demonstration?

We can stage what you want, or propose to you with our exclusive cinematic masterpiece.

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