How Businesses prefer 3D CAD over 2D CAD drafting software?
Choosing Between 2D and 3D CAD Applications
Amazingly, the argument over 2D vs. 3D CAD applications rages on, with developers and designers on both sides touting the merits of their preferences and the flaws of opposing CAD choices.
While this argument might seem academic to operations or project managers who have a minimal amount of exposure to the actual CAD interface, I’m drafting this article to provide a clear perspective of the debate.
To start with, the main difference between 2D and 3D CAD applications should be rather self-explanatory: 2D CAD works solely on a single plane, while 3D CAD allows the construction of fully realized three-dimensional surfaces.
It’s important to note that 3D CAD allows all the usage and image building techniques available within most 2D CAD applications, as well as allowing the user to open the third dimension and construct solid objects. While this might seem like this should signal the end of the debate from the outset – after all, why argue that 2D CAD is superior in any setting if 3D CAD offers symmetrical capabilities – there are two other factors to consider when choosing between 2D and 3D CAD software.
First and foremost is price. 3D CAD applications are inarguably more expensive than older 2D software – sometimes to the tune of thousands of dollars. If you are managing a small business or sole proprietorship, and 2D CAD offers all the functionality you need, then a software upgrade may not be the wisest choice.
Second, 3D CAD applications are far more complex, and users must overcome a much steeper learning curve. Since moving an object from a 2D environment into a 3D environment means increasing surface areas and detail exponentially, the control systems in 3D CAD applications are much more difficult to master. If you’re running a small shop with fewer than four CAD users, you may want to consider the immediate decrease in capability your shop will experience if you changeover your software from 2D to 3D. Staggering 3D implementation might be the best choice – allowing a third of half of your design force to upgrade while you keep the others working on 2D applications should keep your overall output nominal. Once your designers have acclimated themselves to a 3D workspace, you can continue upgrading in segments.
Overall, there’s no real argument here – 3D CAD applications are far and away superior in any design situation. However, implementation can be costly and time consuming. Managers should be aware of this, and plan CAD software upgrades accordingly.
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