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3D Printing Trends: The Shapie

When smartphones with digital cameras first become more prevalent with Internet connectivity, the selfie was born. People, tweens, teens, and kids of all ages pose for pictures of themselves to post on Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook. In the 3D printing technology industry a new way to capture one’s self is starting to emerge, and is quickly becoming the latest craze, called the shapie.

3D Drafting

A shapie is essentially a 3D printer portrait of a person or group of people. The shapie is a miniaturized version of you. The size of shapies varies, and most average between 8 and 10 inches. A variation of the shapie some people are also making are miniature busts of their heads, which range in size from 4 to about 8 inches.

There are several different ways to create a shapie. The first option is to find a scanning point in your city and go to that location to have your shapie image made. Once you arrive at the location, 3D selfie images are photographed of you and anyone else you want to include in the shapie.

After you are satisfied with the 3D selfies that were taken, you select the ones you want to be made into shapies. The 3D selfies are uploaded into a 3D drafting and printing software application. From there they are converted into printable files.

The other option is to download free software and take 3D selfies of yourself and anyone else from the comfort of your home using your computer. If you choose the “at home” option, keep in mind there are specific hardware requirements depending upon the shapie software application. Also keep in mind, if you are going to make shapies at home, lighting and the quality of the camera used to take the 3D selfie pictures could affect the final product.

After you upload your 3D selfies, you will have to decide how you want to obtain your shapies. With either method, you can submit an order where they will be printed and delivered to your home. If there is a reliable 3D printer in your area, another option is for you to take the files to the printer and have them print your shapies. Lastly, if you have a 3D printer of your own at home, you can simply generate and print your shapies yourself.

3D Printing Trends

It typically takes about 30 minutes to print shapies using a professional printing service. At home, output times can take several hours, based upon the type of 3D printer you own and processing power of your computer. If you are looking for the best detail and likeness in your shapies, it is recommended to either order them online or use a professional printer with the latest 3D printing technologies.

We hope you have enjoyed learning more about the shapie and how it is becoming a new trend. For all of your CAD, 2D, 3D, and architectural drafting and drawing services, call Q-CAD today at 800-700-3305.

Digitalize Your Office with Paper to CAD Conversion

Are you tired of looking through stacks of large format paper drafting documents? Do you waste hours in oversized filing drawers searching for a single document? Are you noticing the pile of unfiled stacks of drawings and other related CAD output has overtaken your desk and looks like you are in the process of building a fort?

Paper to CAD

If you answered yes to any or all of these, then you will seriously want to consider a paper to CAD conversion project. Converting paper drawings into CAD files will benefit your office and organization. First, you will no longer have to worry about trying to find a single drawing or drafting document in an eight-foot pile of papers, or getting lost in your filing room.

Digitalized CAD files are easily accessible through a variety of applications. You can even have the electronic files converted into PDF format if you do not have a CAD software application. Once converted, they can be organized in file folders on your computer, on a network server, or in the Cloud. You could even have your IT department create a searchable database by indexing each of the digitalized files.

Next, your office will no longer look like you brought your kids to work and let them construct a high rise around your desk with all of your drafting, CAD, and other paper documents. Rather, you can regain control of your office and project workflows because you will have the required drawings right at your fingertips, through your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Another benefit you gain by digitalizing your office is the flexibility to easily share CAD files with other employees, vendors, and clients. You no longer have to rely upon a shipping service to deliver paper drawings or worry about postponing meetings when deliveries run late. Instead, you simply email or share the file with the desired individual through online applications, like Dropbox or Google Docs.

AutoCAD Drafting

After your documents are fully converted into digital formats, you free up all that space in your filing rooms and storage areas you were using to store paper drawings and drafting documents. With this additional space, you can hire more employees or rent the space out, and you can eliminate the added costs of offsite paper document storage.

The best part of electronic documents is you can have the files backed up on a regular basis, so you never have to worry about potential disasters, and losing the actual paper drawings to fires, water damage, and so on. If you ever have a catastrophic event that effects your business, your drawings will be safe, as long as you remembered to keep a backup of the files offsite or in the Cloud.

For more information or assistance in planning a paper to CAD drawing conversion project, contact the experts at Q-Cad today by calling 800-700-3305.

AutoCAD Drafting and Design Summer Camps for Kids and Teens

If your kids and teens are bored, and need something fun and exciting to do this summer, why not check into various AutoCAD drafting and design summer camps in your area? These camps are broken down by age group, normally 6 to 12, 12 to 14, and so on, depending on the location, availability, and diversity of programs and options.

AutoCAD Drafting

During these special summer camps, kids and teens are introduced to product design in a fun, educational, and interesting manner. One type of summer camp course provides them with instruction and learning on how to sketch a drawing, transfer a 2D image into a 3D image on a computer, and then how to print a 3D prototype of their ideas!

Another summer camp session introduces kids and teens to 3D modeling concepts using CAD software applications, teaches them how to perform analysis and tests to ensure their designs do not contain flaws, and prepares their designs for printing on paper and using a 3D printer to create a prototype.

There is even a camp session completely devoted to 3D printing technologies, where kids and teens will learn how 3D printers are changing the shape of manufacturing, production, and other industries, and what it will mean for them in the future. They even get to discover many different types of 3D printers being used to print a wide array of products, from toys and clothing, to airplane and space station parts and components.

During these camps, kids and teens learn skills they can use in the real world, as well as advance their own personal developmental abilities, including:

  • Working Together in Teams
  • Discovering the Benefits of Critical Thinking
  • 3D CAD Modeling/Drawing
  • Developing Creative Problem Solving Skills
  • Project Planning
  • Project Development
  • Rapid Prototyping with 3D CAD Software and 3D Printers

Depending on the educational provider, the summer camps might also include housing and meal options, where the kids and teens get to stay throughout the entire camp, giving parents a break. Plus, kids and teens get to make new friends who also share an interest in architecture, CAD drawing, and 3D technologies.

Not only do kids and teens of all ages get to gain valuable insight into potential careers in their future, but they are also learning essential skills they will use the rest of their lives. Further, with 3D technologies expected to continue to expand and grow for the foreseeable future over the next several decades, gaining these skills now sets them up for successful careers long before they even start high school or college. Who knows? You child or teen might just be the next “Steve Jobs” of his or her generation!

For all of your CAD and architectural drafting and design services, contact the experienced professionals at Q-Cad by calling 800-700-3305 today. We offer customizable solutions to fit your specific needs and budget!

Architectural Drafting Services

Advantages to 3D Drafting and CAD Software

Today’s demands on engineers and architects can be overwhelming, with many professionals asked to take on additional responsibilities and tasks, while still being expected to perform their required job functions. If you are feeling stressed, you need to consider how 3D technologies, like 3D drafting and CAD software and related solutions are beneficial to you organization. Both have several advantages and are meant to help improve engineering and architectural design projects.

  1. You complete tasks more efficiently and save time. 3D technologies help take the guesswork out of working with 2D designs and cut down the amount of time required to generate finished drawings. Many 3D CAD applications also have unique features to give you better control to test, analyze, isolate, change, and approve specific sections of the design.
  2. Costly mistakes are less likely to occur. One of the major benefits is the option to conduct tests, like for tolerances and stress factors, before you build a product or building. If there is a problem, you can make corrections and retest. In addition, with advanced design tools and tests, you are able to measure fluid flow rates, vibrations, and more on structural elements, and even simulate environmental and other real-world factors to discover potential flaws.
  3. Prototypes can be built faster and are more detailed. If you connect a 3D printer to your computer, you can use the 3D CAD software app to print a prototype or miniature of your finished product or building.

3D Drafting

  1. You have better control and precision over designs. You have the flexibility to analyze and test each component, part, or segment independently of others or choose only specific ones to test simultaneously. With increased control, design cycle times are reduced, mistakes are easily found, and overall quality is improved.
  2. 3D designs have that “WOW” factor. Look at a 2D design and compare the same design in 3D. See how much better the design looks? You can even “step into” the 3D design to give prospective clients a virtual “tour” of the building, or an in-depth look at their product. Again, using a 3D printer to print the design is the finishing touch that puts the “icing on the cake.”

As you can see, there are several advantages to using 3D CAD and drafting software and related technologies. In cases where you are still stuck working with 2D designs, or lack the expertise to convert from 2D to 3D, help is available from the professional CAD and architectural designers at Q-Cad.

We offer a wide variety of customizable options and are happy to lend our knowledge, skills, and experience to ensure your clients are happy with the end results. Please feel free to contact us at 800-700-3305, now, and discover how we can help you take your business to the next level with 3D CAD and architectural technologies!

CAD Drawing Conversion

Solid State Drives versus Hard Disk Drives: Which Is Better for CAD?

Solid State Drives (SSDs) are becoming more readily available, and prices are continuing to drop. As a result, there is much debate about whether these new storage devices are better than traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) for CAD and 3D Drafting software and applications. Both are valid choices, but, depending upon your needs, one might be better than the other.


What Is the Difference Between SDDs and HDDs?

SDDs do not rely upon moving parts and components to read, write, store, and access data on the drives. With HDDs, there are moving parts and components that can wear out over time and even lead to fault errors if the drive develops bad read/write sectors. The major differences between the two are related to:

  • Price – HDDs still cost less than SDDs, even though prices for smaller capacity SDDs have declined somewhat.
  • Speed – SDDs are inherently faster at accessing data and performing operations. However, keep in mind certain functions that rely upon the computer’s processor and memory result in similar times, regardless of whether you are using a SDD or HDD. Although, if you open and close CAD applications numerous times throughout the work day, SDDs will launch more quickly.
  • Capacity – The current maximum capacity of SDDs is 4 TB, as of this writing. With HDDs, there are some drive with maximum storage capacities of up to 16 TB.
  • Durability – Since SDDs do not have any internal moving parts and components, they can be more durable in certain situations. For instance, if you travel from site to site, travel frequently, or work in the field, SDDs are a better choice.
  • Disk Fragmentation – HDDs can become fragmented over time and cause the read/write response time to slow down. This is because HDDs store data fragments on available drive sectors, and it is not uncommon for fragments to be stored in different areas on the drive’s internal disk(s). On the other hand, SDDs write data to the drive wherever space is available and do not have a read/write head, so opening applications and files is quicker.

When it comes to working with CAD applications and software, there could be noticeable differences in how fast the application launches. Once the application is open, there is not much difference in how fast various functions and operations perform. Keep in mind, any gains are largely dependent upon what types of functions and operations you are performing, as well as the size of the files.

For opening and saving smaller files, there is really not much difference between the two drives. Even when it comes to rendering drawings, build times, reloads, and appends, again, there is not much difference between the two drives.

The bottom line: SDDs are great if you work in the field and are rough on your computer. Otherwise, for the difference in price between the drives, you could invest in training or supplementing your existing staff for projects with assistance from qualified CAD and architectural drafting services firms, like Q-Cad. To learn more about our customizable solutions, call us at 800-700-3305.

Architectural Drafting Services

Ways to Open AutoCAD Drafting Files for Non-CAD Experts

There are several types of industries and positions where you are given AutoCAD drafting files to perform your job. You could be a production manager on a factory floor, and have to review parts and finished good schematics to confirm items are being built correctly. You might be a construction foreman and be given a set of blueprints to verify buildings are constructed correctly. No matter the type of position you have, you need to have a general understanding of how to open the files and read the drawings.

There are several different options for opening and accessing CAD files. Most CAD files are saved in DWG format. As such, you can use a computer viewer app, online browser app, mobile app, a CAD software program, or use a CAD drawing conversion app to convert the file from DWG into other formats, like PDF.

Each option has its own benefits and drawbacks. A viewer app is ideal for desktop and laptop computers where you just need to open the file, but do not need to edit it. Additionally, you do not have to be connected online to open the file, as long as you have saved it to your local hard drive.

An online browser app is perfect if you need to access the file from multiple workstations. The DWG file can be stored in the Cloud, where you simply select the app you want to use, and then open the file. Some even include editing features, if you need to make minor edits or revisions. The main drawback of this method is you have to be connected online to work with the file.

AutoCAD Drafting

With a mobile app, you have the most freedom and flexibility to open CAD files. You do need to have a tablet device or smartphone to use this option. However, you do not have be connected to data as long as you already downloaded and installed the app, and the file is stored locally on the phone or tablet. Some mobile apps also include the ability to make minor edits.

CAD software gives you the most flexibility for working with a wide range of files. You have full editing and viewing options. However, one potential drawback is the cost associated with buying the software, especially if you are not creating or editing CAD files on a frequent basis.

Lastly, in cases where you require editing, paper to CAD file conversions, and other advanced functions beyond your abilities, do not be afraid to consult with a CAD expert like Q-Cad. CAD professionals have easy access to a diverse range of tools to help you edit, create, convert, and more.

Plus, you will have your own “team” of experienced CAD professionals to consult whenever you have questions, concerns, or need help accessing or opening a CAD file. For more information about Q-Cad’s diverse range of CAD services and solutions, contact us today at 800-700-3305.

CAD Drawing Conversion

The Benefits of the Paperless Office for Architectural and Design Firms

Converting drawings from paper to CAD digitally stored files offers numerous benefits. If you are still “on the fence” and not sure whether now is a good time to implement a paperless office solution, consider the following reasons how a paperless office could help your company.

  • Saves Money and Time – You are not spending money on paper, ink, printers, printer maintenance, and storage for electronically stored drawings. Your employees will also spend less time searching for the drawing they require, since they can access them electronically.


  • Controls Access and Increases Security – You can control who has access to what digitally stored drawings, as well as who can update, edit, and change them. In addition, digital drawings are more secure than paper ones.
  • Makes Projects and Work Processes Easier – Managing drawings digitally, with the right documents management system, makes it possible for users to collaborate on projects, speed up the transfer of drawings as project tasks are completed, and ensure everyone is using the latest revision.
  • Increases Productivity – Since all drawings are being accessed electronically, your employees are able to get more work done. No longer are they wasting time in filing rooms searching through stacks of paper drawings to find the one they need to work on.
  • Makes Sending Drawings to Clients More Efficient – Gone are the days of worrying about getting a drawing to a shipping service for priority overnight delivery to your clients. Not only do you reduce your shipping costs, but clients can receive their drawings electronically through email, the Cloud, or other digital delivery options.
  • Fairly Quick Return on Investment – Rolling out a paperless office system does have initial upfront costs, like purchasing a document management system, having paper drawings scanned and saved in digital formats, and so on. However, most businesses tend to see a return on their investment in about six months, depending upon the paperless solutions they chose.
  • Makes Outsourcing Projects/Project Tasks More Efficient – Whether you require architectural drafting services, paper to digital conversions, or other project tasks, using digital-based solutions makes it easier for you to outsource to reliable firms, regardless of whether they are in your location or someplace else in the United States.

While there are times it is still necessary to have printed, hard copy schematics, blueprints, and other drawings, it is still beneficial to move as many tasks and functions to paperless solutions. Not only are you helping to reduce your carbon footprint, but also will discover the efficiency and cost savings you gain with paperless solutions.

For help with implementing a paper-to-paperless drawing conversion project, drafting services, architectural services, and other related services, please feel free to contact the experienced staff at Q-Cad by calling us at 800-700-3305 today. We have been providing customizable services and solutions for businesses of all sizes since 1992, and never outsource any work. Plus, our office is located here in the United States in Las Cruces, New Mexico.


Bringing the Internet of Things to Life in Existing High Rise Buildings

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been gaining traction in the home housing industry and market, because of the potential it offers homeowners. While many people are excited about the possibilities and enhancements it can do to make their lives more convenient at home, they should not discount what the IoT can do when applied to commercial buildings and high rise structures.

Some of the biggest expenses for building owners are electricity, and heating and cooling costs. While there have been several eco-friendly strides made, like placing motion sensors and timers in work areas to control lighting and using programmable thermostats to regulate building temperatures, these are only the tip of the“iceberg” compared to the possibilities offered by integrating IoT technologies into commercial structures.

High Rise Buildings

One thing IoT can bring to the table is better automation and maintenance of systems found in commercial buildings. Since IoT utilizes Wi-Fi enabled technology, systems can be upgraded to communicate through specialized software applications as to their status and condition. For instance, building maintenance technicians can be alerted when a lightbulb burns out in a light fixture, or notified when a system is operating out of preset parameters. As a result, maintenance will become more efficient, as technicians will know exactly what systems need attention.

Further, depending upon the type of IoT technology integrated with the system, diagnostics and other such functions could be conducted remotely without having to manually visit and touch the system. Not to mention, various analyses of system operations are possible, where a determination of the energy usage of the system, as well as a breakdown of the total costs by floor or individual section of the building can be performed.

For building owners, the IoT translates into lower operational costs. Energy usage will be able to be optimized throughout the building based upon current occupancy. For example, if there are only a few people working in one area of the building, only those systems in that area need to be operational. In the rest of the building, the systems could be powered down, put in “stand-by” mode, or adjusted accordingly during non-peak and overnight hours.

Integrating the IoT into existing structures will take time. Ideally, building owners should concentrate on one system at a time, rather than attempting to add this technology to multiple systems at once. In addition, the complexity of the system should be evaluated to determine potential challenges and the costs to adapt IoT technologies.

It is also important to remember the long-term pay-off of IoT integration. Even if the costs are somewhat expensive to implement, in the long run the energy savings and reductions in one’s carbon footprint could be substantial to justify investing into IoT now.

Businessman icon pushing button cloud lock

For assistance in creating design schematics, drawings, and other CAD drawing conversion projects, contact Q-Cad at 800-700-3305 to discover our wide range of customizable solutions.

Will the Future of Construction Include 3D Printed Homes and Buildings?

While architects, engineers, and other construction professionals are currently experimenting with 3D drafting and printing small homes and other structures, the application of this building process is still a far way off from being an effective construction solution of the future for large, multi-story buildings. Part of the problem stems from the underlying support systems which help maintain the building’s integrity.

Wood, concrete, and steel are currently the normal materials used to develop the “skeleton” of a building and provide the necessary support. Being able to replicate the structural support these materials provides is going to require some creative thinking and development of potential solutions.


With 3D printed materials, their structural integrity will need to be reinforced and enhanced by inventing new technologies or combining traditional methods with the latest innovations in 3D printable materials.

One potential approach is to use carbon fiber materials to print small “modules” that can be “snapped” together, much like children’s plastic building blocks. In between the modules would be open spaces where electrical wiring, plumbing, and spray foam insulation could be applied.

Another option is to specially fabricate 3D printed “mesh” materials to create the underlying base where traditional building materials could easily be attached to create the necessary support, before setting 3D printed “modules” in place. The “mesh” could be a suitable replacement for conventional rebar and I-beam support used in current building designs.

In the housing construction industry, the application of a 3D printed dwelling is closer than for large, multi-story buildings. Being compared to current modular and mobile homes of today, the future 3D printed homes of tomorrow will follow similar design and construction processes.

The individual sections of the home will be printed at an off-site production facility. Then, each component will be transported to the home construction site and assembled into the home. Another approach is printing the roof, interior walls, and exterior walls in smaller panels or sections, and using these along with traditional building materials to construct the home. The panels are assembled onsite, completing the entire section using the appropriate materials and hardware, before being lifted and set into place.

Another potential design concept is a departure from the traditional square or rectangular design of homes. Rather, the home is designed using curves to help reduce the stresses placed on the support structures, while at the same time deliver a “futuristic” appeal. The key with 3D printer houses is ensuring the interior supports are strong enough to provide sufficient structural support for the exterior components and roof when they are secured and attached in place.

As advancements continue to be made in 3D printable materials, it will be interesting to see how engineers, designers, and architects incorporate these advances into the future homes and buildings of tomorrow. For professional assistance with building design and architectural drafting services and solutions, call the experts at Q-Cad now, at 800-700-3305.



Construction Materials: New and Exciting Innovations

The construction industry relies upon specific materials to erect buildings and homes of all sizes and shapes. However, technology and scientific research have been slowly creeping into this industry and giving a glimpse of potential solutions for the buildings of tomorrow. These new and exciting innovations will eventually start to become a reality, once more research has been conducted and it is more cost-efficient to incorporate them into construction projects.

CAD Drawing Conversion

Eco-Friendly Self-Cooling Roofs

Roofs get extremely hot from direct sunlight. While there is currently a variety of solutions to help cool roofs, like attic fans, scientists have developed a thermos-responsive hydrogel which can be used as a roof covering. It is basically a special gel that mimics the cooling effects of the body through perspiration.

How the gel works is that it contains properties to store water for an extended period of time, from rain water and morning dew. During the day, as the roof heats up, the gel slowly releases the stored water over the roof. This causes the roof to cool and also helps reduce temperatures inside the home to keep it cooler. As a result, people would use less energy to cool their homes, while also reducing their carbon footprints.

Self-Repairing Concrete

This innovation incorporates mixing micro- and nano-scale capsules into the cement. Over time, as small cracks occurs, the capsules break open, releasing a self-repair agent to reseal and repair the crack. While currently effective on very small cracks, essentially the technology could be adapted and improved upon for larger scale cracks.

However, further research is still needed to determine the most effective delivery method. Part of the problem is ensuring the capsules are able to remain intact during mixing processes, yet still are able to break open if the concrete develops a crack.

SLIPS (Slippery, Liquid Infused, Porous Surfaces)

This new technology incorporates both a lubricating film and a porous material. The material is strong enough to repel a wide range of substances and conditions, like extreme pressure, extreme temperatures, oil, and ice, by releasing a film over the exterior of the material. The film creates a very slippery surface to help repel substances and provide resistance.

Current research is hopeful the development of the technology and the materials it can be used with can be accomplished without the need of manufacturing specialized materials. Ideally, the development of SLIPS materials will be able to be accomplished using affordable materials. In addition, its application could extend across numerous industries, from construction and architectural, to fuel and medical devices.


It will be interesting to see how these three innovative products and solutions are eventually integrated into current and future building materials, as well as how they affect current AutoCAD drafting designs. For all of your CAD, architectural and drawing needs, contact the design experts at Q-Cad today by calling 800-700-3305 to discover our wide array of custom solutions.