Long gone are the days when design activities were completed using pencil and paper on a drafting board. The evolution of computers in the 1980s helped to introduce a complete paradigm shift. Computer-aided drafting (CAD) became more and more commonplace as users realized the benefits and cost savings over the old way of doing things.
If anything can be said about technology, it’s that it certainly doesn’t stand still. The rudimentary CAD in the early days was limited to 2D line drawings (such as those made with older AutoCAD versions), but that didn’t last for long.
Moving into the 90s, a genesis toward 3D design started to take place. Programs such as Autodesk Inventor along with early versions of Pro/ENGINEER started to flow into the market. The options and benefits that working within a 3D space have opened up cannot be understated as far as their importance is concerned.
Immense time and cost savings could now be realized thanks to a 3D design process and workflow. Mistakes could now be caught long before prototypes were built. Simulations could mimic complex mechanisms in action and show where failures in the design may have been present. Even the production of 2D manufacturing drawings was streamlined – with the right software, all it takes is a few clicks to create a 2D drawing with multiple views. Some even add dimensions as well!
It would be a gross understatement to say that 3D design has only benefitted those who do mechanical design. Almost any industry now has very powerful tools at its disposal to create impressive designs in ways that were never thought possible just a few short decades ago.
Let’s take a brief look at many of the ways that 3D design has helped those across a wide and diverse array of services.
For the most part, all other areas of 3D design could be considered subsets of 3D modeling in general. 3D modeling is the process where mathematically accurate models of physical objects are created within a 3D space. Once generated, these models can be altered and manipulated for just about any purpose, as described in the different sections below.
Imagine designing a building and then being able to experience it as a virtual space. A benefit of 3D architectural modeling is the ability to execute a flythrough.
Once a building or any sort of environment is created virtually using 3D technologies, a designer can actually show on screen what may occur in real life within that space. Designers for manufacturing plants can walk through the plant floor and identify areas where the design or workflow could be improved. Residential architects can have a client move from room to room in a new house without ever laying a single brick. Commercial architects can verify retail floor space designs in real-time, or also show how an office layout may increase overall productivity. You can learn more about 3D flythrough design services here.
It goes without saying, but 3D design is really good with “things.” Designs for items such as furniture can be quickly “prototyped” virtually on a computer screen. These models also can then be used for rendering purposes whereby complete room, home, and office environments can be viewed with an unbelievable amount of realism.
Mechanical and machine design are two areas that have benefitted greatly from 3D design processes and services. 3D design and modeling have allowed a great deal of “front-loading” when compared to the design processes from the past. Virtual prototypes can be tested and analyzed for proper form, fit, and function before expensive physical prototypes are produced.
Revisions can be made and tested in a matter of minutes. All of the heavy lifting (design-wise) is upfront, resulting in reduced development time, more robust designs, and real cost savings.
As processing power and graphics fidelity have increased, the use of 3D rendering and visualization has become more and more prominent in many design fields. Architects can use photorealistic renderings to show clients how a building environment will look (complete with lush landscaping as well).
Companies such as IKEA use rendered images almost exclusively in their marketing materials and on their website, allowing their customers to let their creative juices flow and build the perfect room – all without making a single purchase upfront. Marketing costs can be greatly reduced as the need for expensive photo sessions have now become a thing of the past.
If you are designing a product and have 3D models created for every part, you can assemble them virtually. The software can detect errors such as holes that do not align between components, and you can also check for interferences that would keep actual parts from being assembled as they should be.
One of the most tedious design processes in the past was the creation of assembly documentation. 3D design gives you an unprecedented level of flexibility in this regard. Software packages such as SolidWorks will let you automatically “explode” an assembly, and you can then take any viewpoint and translate it into a 2D drawing. You can even generate Bills of Materials on the fly by using model description fields (part name, part number, etc.) entered when the individual 3D part models were created.
3D CAD design is a great asset to any design project. Whether you're developing new consumer products, working on an engineering project, or designing new medical devices, 3D design is a useful tool at many stages of the design process. Early on, the use of 3D models and virtual prototyping is a powerful and cost-effective strategy for concept testing and iterating designs without having to build a physical model. Later, high-quality 3D renderings can be used as marketing tools and to impress investors.
With modern CAD software, the detail and complexity possible with 3D modeling allow designers to do a lot of early development work digitally that used to be done through hand-drawn sketching and prototyping. Today, software tools like Autodesk Inventor and SketchUp allow CAD designers to perform stress analysis and other forms of engineering analysis on virtual prototypes before any money has to be spent on creating tangible prototypes. While this doesn't eliminate the need for real prototypes down the road, it allows designers to fully test out ideas during the conceptual phase of design fearlessly and with as many iterations as needed.
And when it does come time for a real functional prototype, 3D design still has a role to play. With modern 3D printing technologies, rugged, functional prototypes can be rapidly manufactured using materials that are similar or identical to those used in final production. Without having to worry about tooling or production runs, additive manufacturing heavily streamlines the prototyping phase. And, of course, you can't take advantage of 3D printing without a good printable 3D design. Many of the designers at Cad Crowd are experienced in creating STL files for 3D printing and understand the manufacturing process.
Cad Crowd stands apart from conventional design firms and outsourcing platforms. We connect you with pre-qualified, vetted, professional freelance CAD designers for customized services that are tailor fit to meet the requirements of your specific project. You don't need to spend your time sifting through applications and bids to find qualified 3D designers – we'll find them for you, selected from our top-ranking CAD freelancers based on your project description. Our services are available both for large businesses looking to outsource some of their design work in order to meet an upcoming deadline and for smaller independent entrepreneurs, designers, and inventors who need help creating 3D designs of their ideas. Whatever the nature of your project, whether large or small, Cad Crowd has got the custom-fit world-class design services you need.
By taking advantage of modern digital technologies and efficient business practices, Cad Crowd is able to offer our clients top-quality services for a fraction of the cost of conventional design firms. Without the overhead associated with running a traditional brick and mortar shop, more of your money goes toward design talent. There's no need to compromise between cost and quality. With Cad Crowd, you get the benefits of both.
Let us know about your project. We'll provide you with a no-obligation free estimate for the cost of our services. Then, we'll connect you with a top-tier freelance 3D designer selected for you based on what you've told us about your project.
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Cad Crowd is your one-stop shop for any and all 3D design services. Whether you're developing a new product or you're working on an architectural project, we've got the freelance CAD design expertise you need to realize your goals. With the full range of services available from Cad Crowd's network of expert freelancers, there's nothing you can't accomplish!
Our services are entirely flexible and adapted to meet the specific needs of each individual client. Whether you're looking or long-term design help, or just need some last-minute help meeting that rush deadline, Cad Crowd is here to help. Our 3D services are available using all major CAD programs. From AutoCAD to SolidWorks to CATIA, our freelancers are ready to work with whatever software your project demands.
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