Modern Engineering and Manufacturing Part 3: Define it Your Way With a Single Solution

In this blog series I initially posed the question: why are we still using 2D drawings in a digital world where 3D data is the primary source of communication? In part one I explored the use of 2D drawings and 3D models, the benefits of each in modern-day engineering and manufacturing, and how companies can implement both 2D and model-based definition (MBD) workflows in part two. In part three here, I want to discuss how the Manufacturing Definition Creator role and its xDrawing app can address both model-based definition and drawing needs.

Manufacturing Definition Creator is a browser-based solution that runs on the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform that combines model-based and drawing-based capabilities in one integrated solution. Easily define parts and assemblies with traditional drawing or model-based definition workflows in a matter of a few mouse clicks. The combination of 2D and 3D definition capabilities delivers next-generation flexibility, empowering you to choose the best output for the job and meet stakeholders’ needs.

With Manufacturing Definition Creator, you can define model-based product manufacturing information (PMI) directly on your models, including dimensions, tolerances, datum symbols, geometric dimensioning and tolerances, balloons, and more. You can easily organize annotations into specific views to communicate and paint a visual story of your requirements with intuitive cross highlighting.

The best part is that it allows you to easily create a drawing from your model definition so you can meet the needs of all your suppliers.

With Manufacturing Definition Creator, you don’t have to create a drawing from scratch. xDrawing provides a single source of truth that allows you to utilize PMI across both forms of definition, eliminating any discrepancies. Creating a drawing can be done in a matter of a few mouse clicks. No rework, extra documents, or effort required. Simply place your existing model views on a sheet, and you are ready to go. Whether it’s on the model or the drawing: your views, annotations, dimensions, and tolerances are always up-to-date and synchronized.

Why spend a full day’s work reworking or recreating a drawing for something you have already defined? Most importantly, sharing is easy due to the power of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. You can easily communicate your manufacturing definition using annotated models or drawings with internal or external stakeholders in standard industry formats, like PDF and STEP 242.

Even better you can view, review, and mark up your 3D PMI and drawings directly in 3DPlay, the universal viewer for all data on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.

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 the reliance on 2D drawings.

Manufacturing Definition Creator allows you to define parts and assemblies directly from the drawings environment as well, enabling you to choose which methodology works best for you. Directly from the drawings environment you can add views, projections, dimensions, and tolerances, notes and more. What makes this unique is that anything created on the drawing is automatically and simultaneously generated on the model in the background, saving you time and preserving the single source of truth.

Single source of truth across model-based & drawing based definition.


Whether you define it in 2D or 3D, it all stays in sync, giving you a buy-one-get-one free workflow for your manufacturing definition. This not only saves you time but allows engineers to work with familiar drawing practices, while simultaneously capturing the benefits of model-based definition for downstream manufacturing.

Manufacturing Definition Creator drawing creation and automatic model PMI creation.

Before I wrap it up here, I want to mention a couple of other benefits of having a fully browser-based solution. Enjoy frequent automatic updates as enhancements and improvements surface throughout the year. And what’s even better is that you don’t have to do anything to start using the latest update as the software will automatically update. To stay in the loop on updates you can visit

Also, if you need to update your design or collaborate on the fly you can fire up Manufacturing Definition Creator from any connected device.

And last, Manufacturing Definition Creator works seamlessly with the other roles in the SOLIDWORKS Cloud Offer so you can switch back and forth between interfaces with the click of a button using the quick and convenient Switch app options.

If you’re interested in learning more get with me at 3DEXPERIENCE World 2024 in Dallas, Tex. February 11-14, 2024. I will have a session titled “Breaking the Barrier between 2D & 3D with Manufacturing Definition Creator” on February 14th from 2:45-3:45.

For more information on other solutions in the 3DEXPERIENCE Works portfolio, including cloud-connected and fully browser-based roles for design, simulation, manufacturing, and data management visit

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.