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Why switch to drawing everything 3D?


I work for a high end residential millwork company. We are currently conducting a study to see if switching everyone to a 3D program makes sense for us. We currently draw in Autocad but don't think Autocad 3d is for us. We do currently draw projects 3d when it makes sense to. Is there anyone out there that draws everything 3d (not just boxes)? And if so, what program are you using?

10/12/17       #2: Why switch to drawing everything 3D ...
James Falk


Greetings Erik,
We draw everything in 3D using regular AutoCAD. Cabinets, furniture, moldings, gates, prototypes...You need a few add ons to make it work easier for you, which will allow you to stretch multiple solids and get your cut lists. I use the interfere command to determine if I made any design mistakes, and two items are trying to occupy the same space. I draw the site conditions, plumbing, electrical, windows... to make sure that the sinks fit into the cabinets and the pipes are in the sink cabinet in the correct location, for example. In addition, the plan, section, and elevation drawings are always accurate, as there is just one model, so there can be no incongruent drawings. Frequently the client can visualize a perspective 3D drawing better than a group of 2D drawings, so it is a good sales tool. I could go on, but I think 3D is the way to go, especially if you do more than just cabinets.
All the best,
James Falk

10/12/17       #3: Why switch to drawing everything 3D ...
et Member

Autodesk Inventor (though Fusion 360 is a good contender too). It requires a fair bit of setup for your standard sketch blocks/ifeatures/connector library/iAssemblies/etc to be efficient for repeat things like cabients/die walls/etc. But having built in bill of materials/cutlist and intelligent parametrics is pretty fantastic. Also depending on your machinery setup HSM for doing your CAM is an option.

There are other things out there like microvellum and wood cad/cam if you want to stick in the world of AutoCAD that have less customization required up front, but at least in my personal opinion Inventor is way more flexible in the long run.

10/16/17       #4: Why switch to drawing everything 3D ...

I am curious as to why you think 3d AutoCad will notwork for you? What is it you do not think 3d AutoCad is not able to give you?

I have drawn in 3d AutoCad for over 10 years now. The transition from 2d to 3d, I did not find difficult. The advantages I find with drawing in 3d are plenty. Just in terms of drawing. If I need 3 elevations (side, front and top), an isometric view or 2, and plan section and 2 cross sections. All those views for my drawing can be done with one 3d assembly. I do not have to draw each of those separate views as an independent item in my drawing. If my cabinet stretches a couple inches I have a add-on to stretch the 3d assembly and all my view are updated. Thus I only made the change in one place and elevations, iso and section views update based on my 3d assembly. In 2d all the affected views need to be updated in the drawing making for editing in multiple spots.

Beyond just the drawing side, 3d will also allow you to retrieve additional information from your 3d assembly than one can from a 2d drawing. In our shop, we export a cutlist and create part drawings for our cnc. This requires additional software working with AutoCad.

10/17/17       #5: Why switch to drawing everything 3D ...
MarkB Member

We draw completely in 3D and as an aside to the OP Im wondering what those of you who do draw in 3D are getting for a response from your commercial contractors?

I have always been concerned that they are so accustomed to seeing 2D shop drawings for instance that they will recoil a bit to the 3D shops. I havent found this first hand but also havent gotten a lot of feedback to this point.

How do you handle feeding shops to your customers when you draw in 3D? Do you keep all your shops in the traditional 2D style? Or do you go full on with 3D?

I find personally that drawings of any kind are more intuitive when they are 3D and of course you can use sections and 2D views to get back to the old way but I find 3D drawings to be leaps and bounds ahead of what we have always dealt with in the past.

9/11/19       #6: Why switch to drawing everything 3D ...
Hiral Patel  Member


Switching to a digital platform with 3D programs is about improving your business. Design accuracy, product improvement, cost estimation, engineer efficiency are the few of the impacted areas of switching to a 3D platform.
3D Modeling also gives an edge to help you to resolve your design challenges easily and during the early design development stage.
We are using AutoCAD, SolidWorks and DriveWorks, Inventor and iLogic for 2D CAD drawings and 3D modeling for millwork.
For more details you can visit us on:

Why 3D Modeling?

12/15/20       #7: Why switch to drawing everything 3D ...
Emily Watson


Drawings in a three dimensional space provides a clearer view of different elements in a picture and allows people to get a clear idea about the relative positioning of different objects as well as their real life dimensions. So you should ideally convert 2D sketches into 3D drawings. Precision counts!

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