Blog - Drawing Conversion

Advantages of 2D to 3D Drawing Conversion

As a result of drastic changes in Computer Aided Design, 3D models are the preferred option for easy visualization. Users of CAD software transform 2D CAD to 3D CAD solutions; they convert 2D CAD drawings to 3D CAD models. In 3D Computer Aided Design, customers prefer a quick and accurate conversion process, and there are a number of techniques to do conversion the way customers want.

Our brains are more adept at processing 3D images than 2D drawings because we can easily compare 3D models to 3D real objects that we already saw before. Engineers are exceptions because, unlike other people, they can easily understand 2D drawings such as sectional drawings of a building. 3D technology provides images that are closest to real objects, and this is the main advantage of 3D over 2D technology. 2D drafting tools are able to provide sufficient data about an object, but the 3D modeling technology is able to provide more. A 3D model can help engineers and designers to spot problems and make solutions for these problems before the actual building of the physical object. A 3D model can show engineers the “sum of the parts,” where all involved factors are visible to them. It is harder to spot problems in 2D drawings. Engineers might be starting new design concepts with 2D technical drawing and realize later that the designs are not functional. With 3D technology, companies have a business advantage.

Even after the introduction of 3D modeling tools in the market, 2D drafting is still widely in use. It will take some time for CAD users to adapt to new paradigms of 3D modeling, although some manufacturers are able to convert their legacy drawing excellently. 3D CAD tools today can generate 2D drafting views from 3D CAD models. Converting 2D drawings to native CAD models is more complicated. However, 3D CAD solution providers now offer 3D modeling tools that make the conversion easier. 2D to 3D technology conversion is about creating 3D part models from 2D CAD drawings.

2D to 3D conversion involves the use of the extrude feature of a CAD software. Other features that are necessary in transforming 2D geometry to 3D model include the use of Boolean operations. In making mechanical designs, companies are changing from 2D CAD to 3D solid modeling because they get benefits from shorter design cycles and better product design information when they work using 3D models.

Choosing the appropriate CAD tools requires users to consider a lot more than drawing productivity. Both 2D CAD and 3D CAD technologies provide drawing productivity. However, 3D solid modeling provides more by allowing users to view a very realistic image of an object, which is very useful in simulations. 3D solid geometric models contain both geometric and non-geometric information, and they are less prone to errors than 2D CAD drawings. 2D drawings are subject to misinterpretations. There is seamless transition of CAD data from 2D to 3D or from 3D CAD tools to CAE tools because of interoperability.

3D solid models have their base shapes as 2D shapes. 2D models have a value of zero for their third dimension. To create 3D models, the third dimension of 2D objects must have a value aside from zero. It is tedious to convert 2D files to 3D objects for companies that have a lot of product drawings. However, converting models becomes easier when designers arrange the 2D geometry into a “glass box.”

Sunith. “Transforming a 2D Drawing to 3D CAD Data.” Online posting. 10 June 2009. CAD Professor. 19 July 2010 <>.