Where have all the profits gone?
Some CAD drafters love 3D work. I love 3D modeling. The problem I find is
most people want this service for free. Unless you are working for a large
firm with the resources to buy you the software to do 3D modeling and you
are fast enough to be able to learn the program well enough to be able to
charge your time to the project, you are wasting the clients and your
employer. Why you may ask? The reason is that most small shops want to get
out a set of plans that will suit the building and planning departments in
their area, and not break or whittle down the projected profits.
Think about the initial cost of the software that has 2D/3D capabilities.
They are all expensive and the learning curve will "knock the socks" off of
any junior staff who will have to go through all of the downtime associated
with the huge learning curve that is a product of so much built in utility.
Even the seasoned veteran who knows everything there is to know about CAD
will find learning these programs daunting. They aren't tossing drawings out
the door for reproduction until they also deal with the downtime learning
the program. Most even have to go to costly training sessions to learn how
to use them. And, we are not speaking of the new guys or gals here who.
These seasoned vets's get paid quite well to go through the training and
then become proficient with the new "magic drafting and 3D modeling"
There are good things about the 2D/3D paradigm in design software. Expect a
lot of expense to get good quality work out the door to the client. Expect
to pay for traveling for training. Especially, expect to do this on a
constant basis. Software companies are publicly traded and their investors
expect to see a good return on their investment. This means you will deal
with upgrading your CAD software every year. That can only mean one thing,
I've been a cad manager in AEC environment and seen the hard sell from
autodesk and others touting the great wonders of 3d programs like
revit, architectural desktop etc....
bottom line, is the bottom line. Can we generate construction
documents faster?? When out of the box revit and ADT have limited
"blocks"...now time has to spent to develop your own...or when your
design deviates from a "norm", now you gotta figure out the
workarounds. What about old projects? You now have to redraw them in
the newer programs. What about block and detail libraries? Try editing
a 2d detail using only revit as your program.
3d gives a pretty picture but does it put money in your pocket. Whats
the point in delivering a pretty picture if you take a loss on the
CD's time?? Why should a cad detailer have to "digitally build" a
structure, thats why we have GCs and skilled tradespeople. 3d
programs have there uses for delivering a pretty picture...but I know
professional "hand renderers" who can do the same in "half the time
and cost". But its takes skill to actually draw by hand and the skill
is being lost in the AEC field every day and being replaced with
software and hardware that in the end winds up costlier.
Thens there is the ROI....you gotta have the computing power.....which
means constant hardware upgrades....and the associated costs.
are pretty pictures worth it???
Yup, sounds just like what I said ten years ago when the push to 3D was
happening in the product development field - I can do engineering drawings
faster in 2D in ACAD, than anyone can model the part in 3D. Boy, was I
Today, everything I design is done completely in 3D, with forms and shapes
that were unimaginable ten years ago. Model it, test fit assemblies, and
operate mechanisms completely virtually.. use to take months and numerous
dollars at the machine shop can be done in an afternoon. Want 2D drawings?
Just pick a view or define a section plane, and wham, you've got the
drawing. Of course in my business today, there aren't any 2D drawings
except those used for specs. - 3D geometry is sent straight to the tool shop
and they cut steel for the molds.
Complex products with hundreds of component parts modelled on the desktop
using a $2000 computer running a $5000 software package. Sure there was a
steep learning curve on the software, but after you get proficient at it,
you can 3D model things as fast as you used to draw "dumb" 2D.
I've been working with a builder to get started on our new passive solar,
energy efficeint house - SIP walls and roofs, sitting on Superior Walls
foundation. Both the SIP company and Superior Walls work exclusively in 3D
to check fits, calculate soils loads, etc then dump 2D for the GC to know
how to put it together. I developed the initial design in my 3D package (
I-deas12NX), passed a STEP file of the structure to both subs via FTP, and
we were all able to interact and fine tune the exact details of the
structure via email, VNC, etc.
It appears that the switch from 2D to 3D is going to have the same teeth
gnashing, kicking and screaming that the engineering profession went through
some time back.
How does PDES, STEP, DXF or any other(s) stand up to 3D feature parameters
conversion. (From standpoint of Q I am most concerned from a machining
level, though not limited to)
the initial design in my 3D package (
Most of the data I forward to machine shops is in either IGES or STEP -
basically "dumb" surfaces defined by bezier curves, without parametric
history - yet they can machine very complex, organic curved surfaces from
the data. These universal translators aren't perfect - occasionally you get
an edge that won't knit, or a gap that's outside tolerance when importing
on the receiving system. But these can usually be patched. The "flavor" of
the output IGES can be tailored somewhat to the receving system, but STEP
AP214 seems to work the best in most situations.
Some CAM system will accept parametric files which include complete part
modelling history if the two system are compatible. But that can lead to
problems, especially if you're having molds for different parts of the same
assembly made in different shops - one shop may decide to "tweak" something
without letting you or the other shop know, and you end up with parts that
don't fit together.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.