Why 2D CAD Still Matters

2D drawings have been the sole reference for conveying design information for many years. Linear perspective drawings, a system of creating an illusion of depth on a flat surface, was used back in the 1400s. Orthographic projection and descriptive geometry were used in the 1700s.

Drafting by hand ruled the day until computer-based AutoCAD 2D came out in the 1980s, soon followed by various 3D CAD solutions. In the 1990s, 2D drawings were still the primary method of communicating with manufacturing, but in the past two decades, the richness of 3D models is changing how much 2D is needed.

In today’s world of 3D parts and assemblies, many companies typically use 2D drawings to improve user understanding of design details—a reference document, if you will. Where does 2D fit into the product development process in 2021? The reason is pretty simple, yet fundamental to our human cognition.

While not as intuitive as 3D models, 2D drawings distill rich 3D models into a simplified perspective where selected key information, such as dimensions and tolerances, are presented concisely for important decisions.

Plus, on the many occasions where hard copies are preferred—such as a remote construction site and a dusty shop floor—low-cost and printer-friendly 2D drawings still come in very handy.

One Good Example

Young Industries, Inc. has manufactured conveying systems and related components since 1947 and holds many patents for problem-solving equipment for handling dry bulk materials in the chemical, petrochemical, ceramics, and coatings industries.

The majority of Young Industries’ design and engineering work, including all new designs, is done in 3D using SOLIDWORKS® software. However, specific tasks, such as modifying legacy drawings, creating simple layouts, and developing piping and instrumentation diagrams (P&IDs), are better addressed with 2D design tools.

Eliminating the translation from 2D to 3D saves Young Industries’ engineers time and effort. For example, a customer’s DWG/DXF file is much easier to manipulate in DraftSight Enterprise, a Dassault Systèmes product.  Minor modifications can take about 15 minutes in DraftSight versus days of work remodeling an old 2D drawing in SOLIDWORKS.

DraftSight also enables Young Industries to manage its collection of 2D legacy data and library of 2D drawings more effectively. This accessibility helps accelerate proposal development, which saves both time and money. Because DraftSight is so intuitive and similar to AutoCAD, engineers can learn it in a day or two.

VP of Operations for Young Industries, J. Tyler Thompson, says “DraftSight is an indispensable tool in our tool belt. There are times you need a hammer and times you need a screwdriver. We can very quickly and easily translate what is possible between these two applications if we need to jump from one to another.”

Everything in One Place

Effectively managing both 2D and 3D files is still a business reality. If you need to create or reuse 2D drawings to communicate ideas quickly, edit drawings to run manufacturing or prototyping, or effectively manage legacy drawings from clients, suppliers, and others, then you should consider DraftSight.

You can download a trial version today.

Absolute design freedom is letting you work the way you want to work. It’s the ability to effortlessly go from 2D drafting to 3D modeling and back again to optimize and maximize designs. You can also seamlessly integrate with other Dassault Systèmes and SOLIDWORKS solutions to easily manage your DWG file designs.

Project scopes often expand as businesses grow. Correspondingly, 2D drawings can grow massively with significant complexity, especially when collaborating on a team or working remotely. Where do I find the latest revision of this drawing? How can we share feedback efficiently and effectively without flooding our email inboxes? How do we manage the various phases of a drawing, from inception to end of life?

When DraftSight is connected to the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform, it enables collaboration. You can manage both 2D and 3D files without worrying about overwriting them. Permissions and access controls on the platform enable you to securely share drawings and designs for review, comment, and markup. And since data management is built-in, you can be confident that you are working on the latest revision.

To learn more about DraftSight, please visit www.draftsight.com or contact your local reseller.

Oboe Wu

Product portfolio manager of SOLIDWORKS MBD, passionate about smart manufacturing opportunities, Keen listener to customer challenges, Sharp problem solver with 20 years of experiences in engineering, Sleepless father trying best to take care of a baby daughter.