Get the Best of Both Worlds with Manufacturing Definition Creator

When computer-aided design (CAD) came out in the 90’s, it really rocked the design and manufacturing world. And while 2D drawings have taken a downward trend, since the advent of CAD, computer-aided machining (CAM), and other digital solution advancements, drawings are still in the picture 30 years later.

To this day, when it comes to defining a product, many firms struggle to decide between model-based or drawing-based communication. With the rise in digital engineering and manufacturing, model-based definition (MBD) has really gained traction in the last five to 10 years. It entails a 3D annotated CAD model that can be used in place of a traditional drawing for manufacturing. However, there are often many cases where drawings are still required in today’s digital world which results in rework and lost time.

The way I see it, why can’t both 2D and 3D practices exist together, seamlessly with no disconnect between them? Well, luckily imposing on our customers how to work is not in our DNA here at SOLIDWORKS.® We have a new solution that captures the benefits of MBD and combines it with the ultimate flexibility, ease, and familiarity of 2D drawings all within a web browser.

With Manufacturing Definition Creator, a new role in our 3DEXPERIENCE® Works portfolio, you can have it your way and meet the needs of both model-based and drawing-based practices. With our FD01 2022 release last month, we announced Manufacturing Definition Creator, a browser-based solution that runs on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform that delivers a single source of truth for both 3D definition AND 2D definition. This allows you to easily adopt either approach breaking down the barrier between 3D and 2D definition by leveraging model-based workflows with the flexibility to preserve existing manufacturing processes and supplier relationships that still utilize 2D drawings.

What’s great about Manufacturing Definition Creator is that you don’t have to create a 2D drawing from scratch, you can use your existing 3D product manufacturing information (PMI) to get a 2D drawing complete with definition, in a matter of a few mouse clicks. Why spend a full day’s work reworking or recreating a drawing for something you have already defined with 3D annotations, dimensions, and tolerances?

With Manufacturing Definition Creator customers can define models created in browser-based 3D modeling roles such as 3D Creator and 3D SheetMetal Creator, as well as models imported from outside of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.


Easily create drawings from your 3D views in a 2D environment. Images above show the before and after.


Let’s look at the key capabilities below.

Definition capabilities:

  • Define product definition directly on 3D models with using ASME & ISO drafting standards
  • Cross-highlighting between feature and definition
  • Define dimensions, tolerances, datum symbols, geometric dimensioning and tolerances (GD&T), balloons, and more

Visualize PMI:

  • Capture various orthogonal, axonometric, and custom views at desired perspectives and zoom levels
  • Show and hide individual annotations and views
  • View and re-sequence captured views
  • Organize annotations into specific views to communicate and paint a visual story of your requirements

Create 2D Drawings:

  • Create 2D layouts/drawings using existing captured views, annotations, dimensions, and tolerances, which maintains an always up to date and synchronized connection between the model, 3D PMI, and 2D drawing
  • Define requirements with drawings tools such as tables, notes, and title blocks
  • Access sheet formats and standards for drawing creation
Create 2D drawings with a wide variety of drawing tools, standards, formats, tables, and customization.


Communicate in 2D & 3D:

  • View, review, and mark up captured views, and 3D product manufacturing information (PMI) directly in 3DPlay, the lightweight viewer for all stakeholders on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform
  • Share 3D PMI natively across the platform with other Manufacturing Definition Creator users
  • Share 2D Drawings natively through 3DDrive with internal and external stakeholders
  • View, review, and markup 2D drawing PDF’s directly in 3DPlay
  • Export 3DXML with PMI to share models
  • Export 2D PDF of 3D PMI to share externally or print
  • Export 2D PDF of 2D Drawing to share externally or print
View, share, and markup annotated models and 2D PDFs in 3DPlay.


The capabilities don’t end there. With Manufacturing Definition Creator on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, you get the added benefits of data management and collaboration. You can store all your design data in a centralized, secure location in the cloud. Manage the lifecycle of any type of content—such as 3D design files, 2D drawings, simulation models and documentation—across disciplines and CAD applications. Streamline data management with built-in revision control and branching. View, share, annotate, discuss, visualize, and manage designs from any device with a web browser.

As cloud solutions and MBD approaches become more mainstream, we understand that choosing a cloud solution or new definition approach may be a big leap for some. However, MBD has captured the heart of many with its delivery of a single source of truth and streamlined connection between design and manufacturing. It provides an intuitive 3D approach to product definition to communicate design requirements and reduces 2D drawing discrepancies.

As many know, with MBD it’s not only about transforming design and engineering processes, but it also requires you to transform the way you think in terms of reducing 2D drawings. 2D drawings have been a staple of engineering processes for hundreds of years and are still used by many. Typically, companies have to choose a path of either model-based or drawing-based practices with very little in between. Not with Manufacturing Definition Creator.

With Manufacturing Definition Creator, you can have the best of both worlds.

Whether MBD is currently part of your workflow or you’re considering it, this role eliminates the need to decide between model-based or drawing-based practices. With Manufacturing Definition Creator, not only do you introduce MBD concepts, but you preserve existing drawing practices.

Having the ability to produce 3D PMI and 2D drawings in one single solution is huge. It’s really a flexible, easy-to-use use solution. I think you’ll find that Manufacturing Definition Creator is a game changer.

Before I run off, I do want to mention that Manufacturing Definition Creator is a functional transformation of the existing Product Document Creator role. Existing customers will be delighted to find that they receive a free upgrade to the new role and capabilities automatically.

Manufacturing Definition Creator is available now in our SOLIDWORKS Cloud Offer. Learn more at

Find out what else is new in the 3DEXPERIENCE Works Design/Engineering domain in this blog post:








Chris Pagliarini

Chris Pagliarini

Chris Pagliarini is a Product Portfolio Manager for SOLIDWORKS. Chris has been a dedicated SOLIDWORKS user for 8+ years with exposure in several areas from research, sheet metal design, Equipment packaging & enclosures, Model-based design, and aerospace & defense design. During his free time he enjoys exploring new technology, golfing, skiing, and fishing.