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How Far Will 3D Printing Extend in the Future?

Some fifty to seventy-five years from now, 3D printing will have transformed the world as we know it today. While the technology is currently still considered in its “early stages,” with several leaps and bounds being made each year, there is currently a limit to what 3D printers can do and print. It is easy to take 3D drafting documents and convert them for printing on a 3D printer with the right material loaded to create a model of a building or house, or use 3D printers in additive manufacturing processes to print certain parts and components.

Theoretically, there is so much more 3D printers are capable of printing, with the right materials and advances in technology. As improvements are made in 3D printing technology and new materials are made printable, it is going to have a drastic impact on our lives, as well as those of our children and grandchildren.

Manufacturing Industry

Manufacturers in a wide array of industries will be able to 3D print parts, components, clothing, and finished goods. As a result, there will be no need to have manufacturing facilities located overseas. In addition, consumers will have the option to purchase various products online and have them instantly printed on their at-home 3D printer. It is worth noting, this is already starting to occur with some consumer goods, like smartphone cases.

Housing Industry

The housing industry will change as 3D printers are going to be used to print the homes of the future. In fact, building designers and construction firms in Holland and China are already using 3D technologies to build homes.

Due to the size limitations of 3D printers, various sections of the home are printed, and then assembled. As printers become larger, and the technology improves, it is conceivable entire walls and internal structures, like cabinets and countertops, could be printed in the future.

Housing Industry

Healthcare and Pharmaceutical Industries

In the future, people will live longer lives, and it will not be uncommon for people to have life expectancies over a hundred years of age. Organs, like hearts, kidneys, and lungs, as well as skin tissue, bone, and limbs, will be able to be printed and used as replacements. Obtaining medicines and medical devices will be as simple as ordering them from your local pharmacy, where they will be printed on-demand.

Automotive Industry

Automotive company designers are already developing and working on 3D printed concept vehicles of the future. While these vehicles might not still be able to fly, they are going to incorporate several eco-friendly solutions, like solar panels, rechargeable batteries, and electric motors.

Aerospace Industry

Airbus, Boeing, and GE have already started developing and implementing 3D printed parts, components, and engines into current and future airplanes. NASA and other space technology firms are exploring the potential of using 3D printers in space to print replacement parts for the International Space Station, as well as entire satellites, land rovers, and a space station on the moon.

Aerospace Industry

It is certainly going to be exciting and interesting to see just how far 3D printing technologies are going to advance in the future. In the meantime, for professional assistance with current 3D drafting and CAD technologies, as well as traditional drawings and documents, call Q-Cad at 800-700-3305 now.

Increase Exposure for Green Building Technologies at Trade Shows

People have become more aware of global warming and implementing solutions to help reduce their carbon footprints in recent years. These initiatives have spread to numerous industries and market segments, including architecture and engineering fields. Today, professionals in these trades need to make sure they are implementing green building technologies as part of their AutoCAD drafting processes.

Design Engineer IN 3D works

Sharing and educating building contractors, business owners, and private consumers on how ideas are converted from paper, to CAD, to actual results is possible by putting them on display at trade shows. Trade shows allow organizations the opportunity to showcase their latest innovations and ideas, while at the same time gaining input and feedback from those in attendance.

When people can see how various green building technologies can better their homes, buildings, and offices, they are more excited about them and willing to make upgrades or implement them in new construction projects. There is no better way to gain knowledge about a new green building technology than to be able to touch and feel it, and have the opportunity to speak directly to a representative of the company hosting the booth or the building technology.

Allowing people “hands-on” interactivity with various displays lets them try out how various technologies work and function. They are able to ask questions, gain insight on how the technology could potentially be utilized for current and future projects, and take advantage of any incentives of offers, like arranging a no-obligation meeting with one of the trade show booth sales people after the show.

Is Your Trade Show Booth Really Green?

With more and more exhibitions showcasing green and eco-friendly building solutions, one has to wonder what happens to these displays after the trade show. Unfortunately, many organizations invest hundreds of thousands of dollars into these displays, only to dismantle and toss them out at the end of the show, which is not very environmentally friendly.

The next time you are creating a trade show booth, regardless of the industry or type of event, it is worthwhile to incorporate reusability into the display and booth design. Depending on the type of display, the frame and several components could be reused for future displays, even if the theme of the booth changes. In addition, some trade show demo booths are fully reusable for numerous shows throughout the country and internationally.

Any elements of the booth that you do not intend to reuse should be recycled or donated. Plastics, electrical wiring, and circuit boards can all be recycled. Donate light fixtures and other non-recyclable components to local schools, nonprofits, or other such organizations where they would be appreciated and used.

By taking the time to ensure your trade show booth and display is eco-friendly, not only does this let your booth visitors and potential customers know your organization fully supports green technologies, but also lets them know your company truly cares about the environment.

For professional assistance in CAD drawing conversion and other AutoCAD design solutions to highlight your organization’s green building technologies or trade show booth designs, please feel free to contact the experts at Q-Cad today by calling 800-700-3305 to speak with a representative.

AutoCAD Drafting

Additive Manufacturing: The Pros and Cons of 3D Printing Technologies

Deciding on the best way to manufacture parts and components requires evaluating the pros and cons of additive manufacturing compared to traditional manufacturing processes. One of the biggest myths in the manufacturing industry is about how the costs for the materials and time needed to print parts and components on 3D printers is more experience and time consuming than using traditional processes.

However, this is not entirely accurate or true, and there are cases where using 3D drafting and related printing technologies can be accomplished for a fraction of the cost and time as other processes.

Pros of 3D AM

  • Eliminates Assembly Processes – Entire components, even those with moving parts, can be printed.
  • Easy to Change the Part’s Design – The part can be quickly modified and changed by simply opening the related CAD file and making the necessary updates.
  • Creates Complex Parts – 3D printers can handle highly detailed and rather complex parts, often for less than traditional methods.
  • Requires Very Few Manufacturing Skills – Thanks to open source online sharing, people with very few manufacturing skills can create basic 3D parts and components, although, for most business operations, it is still best to leave the design processes to an experienced professional.
  • Reduction in After-Manufacturing Waste – Since AM is adding and not taking away materials, there is significantly less waste.
  • Add Color Quickly to Parts and Components – With a few simple clicks and selecting colors in a CAD file, your finished parts and components can be printed in the desired colors.
  • Shorter Lead and Setup Times – Parts can be printed as soon as the engineer is done working on the CAD file.


Cons of 3D AM

Slow Production Rates – 3D printers layer materials on top of each other, and this can be a rather time-consuming process, depending on the materials being used and complexity of the part. In addition, most printers can only print one part or component at a time.

Limited Material Selections – There is a limit to the types of materials supported by current 3D printers and what can be printed.

Cost of Large Scale 3D Printers – There are massive 3D printers on the market to produce larger parts and components, but they can cost several million dollars for a single machine, not to mention, materials can cost upwards of $150 or more per pound.

Could Require Post-Production Finishing Processes – Parts and components could require finishing by hand to remove extra materials, smooth to desired specs, or inspect to ensure quality.

Skilled Engineers/CAD Professionals Needed – To produce quality components, you have to understand how various materials work together and be able to create the necessary CAD file required to print the component.

As you can see, there are both pros and cons to 3D AM printing technologies. In some cases, it might be more beneficial to use AM processes, while, in others, traditional methods would be better. For experienced assistance with both AM and traditional manufacturing drawings and schematics, contact the professionals at Q-Cad today at 800-700-3305.

Paper to CAD

3D Printing Making Inroads into Mass Manufacturing Industry

Additive manufacturing (AM) is the latest catch-phrase in the mass manufacturing industry. In recent years, the introduction of 3D drafting printing and related technologies has further paved the way for mass production of AM parts and components. However, in order to be cost-effective, the prices for 3D printers and printing materials is going to have to become more affordable for more operations.

During the last decade, only large and global organizations with deep pockets have been able to explore how AM can benefit their operations, and what processes, if any, could be replaced with 3D printing technologies. One of the challenges, even for these major business firms, has been with the limitations imposed by the types of materials which can be printed with 3D printers.

When 3D printers were first introduced, they only worked with various plastics. In the past few years or so, newer technologies now make it possible to work with various metal-based powders to print metal parts and components. Even with these advances, the main concern for all operations, regardless of size, is what the final costs will be, using AM compared to traditional subtractive manufacturing processes.

Over the last year, there have also been a number of smaller and more affordable 3D printers to come onto the market. As such, small- and medium-sized operations are now just beginning to explore the wide array of possibilities 3D technologies and AM could bring to their operations. These new inroads will continue to support AM, but do not count on AM replacing every single mass manufacturing process—at least not for the foreseeable future.

Traditional Methods

3D AM Will Not Entirely Replace Traditional Methods

The reason AM is not going to replace mass production is because there are just certain procedures that are going to be able to be completed using traditional methods for significantly smaller costs. Further, specific processes using traditional methods are going to continue to be much faster. For instance, rolling out a flat and smooth piece of aluminum is easier and quicker using traditional methods, than attempting to print the same sheet using aluminum powders and a 3D printer.

Additive manufacturing’s advances into mass production industries is further complicated by the lack of a wide range of printable materials, speed of the printers, reliability of the printing processes, ability to ensure consistency and repeatability, and other limitations found within current, compatible software applications.

Another concern many mass manufacturers have is the establishment of industry standards for 3D printing and AM. Currently, each organization is responsible for determining what constitutes acceptable industry standards by relying upon the standards used for traditional manufacturing practices. As such, there can be variations in standards between what one organization considers a standard and what another might not.

It will be interesting to see how AM impacts the manufacturing industry over the next few decades. In the meantime, for all of your 3D drafting, CAD drawing conversion, and related services and solutions, contact Q-Cad at 800-700-3305 now, to speak with a representative and discover how our solutions can benefit your manufacturing operation.

Manufacturing Industry

Benefits Small Businesses Can Gain from Using Architectural Drafting Services

The architectural industry is a specialized market where people spend years developing their skills, becoming familiar with software applications, and keeping up on the latest technological advances. In some cases, especially for small businesses, getting assistance from experienced architectural drafting services makes more sense than attempting to recruit, find, and hire a person with the skills and expertise your company requires.

Even if you already have your own in-house architects, they could still be developing and refining their crafts, or be limited in what they can create, based upon how much you are able to invest into the resources they require to do their jobs. By no means does using an outside firm take away from your own employees or their current skills and abilities.

Architectural Drafting Services

Rather, an external firm supplements your existing teams, and lends its expertise and knowledge to further enhance your business. One difference most business owners notice between their employees and those of a third-party firm are the varied work-related experiences of the outside company. Third-party architects tend to be exposed to a wide array of projects over the years for many different business operations in varied industries.

This level of exposure provides businesses with a unique perspective for addressing project tasks, concerns, and details. For instance, your employees might have a general idea of how to approach a particular task, but are not entirely sure the best methods to use to get the desired results. On the other hand, an architect from an external firm could potentially realize the most efficient and cost-effective way to achieve those results.

Another benefit small businesses experience from using a third-party firm is not having to worry about the hardware and software costs associated with acquiring the latest and most advanced technologies used in the architectural industry. The third-party firm covers all of the costs of providing their employees with the tools they require to deliver the services and support to their clients, like your small business.

Depending upon the types of services and support you require, your employees can learn a great deal from an expert architect at a third-party firm. They are often open and willing to share information, provide guidance, and train your employees to help them become more proficient. Once your employees are confident in their newly found abilities, you are able to easily modify and change the types of solutions and services the third -party firm provides your business.

Seeking help from an external operation could potentially result in delivering a higher level of service and quality of product to your customers. Being able assure your customers you can deliver high quality consistently is vital for your business. Once you are able to prove yourself to your customers, not only does this turn into referrals to other potential clients, but also the likelihood of repeat business from existing clients.

To learn more about architectural drafting services and solutions for your business, call the experts at Q-Cad by phoning 800-700-3305 now.

AutoCAD Drafting

How Architectural Drafting Has Changed over the Years

Prior to the creation of computers and CAD software, architects had to rely upon manually drafting schematics, drawings, and blueprints. These manual processes required spending a great deal of time comparing details and cross referencing multiple documents and related drawings to ensure they were completed accurately and correctly.

3D Drafting

Even a minor mistake could be costly if it was not found and corrected before a product was built or a construction process started. In the event there were errors, it could mean having to tear up the initial paper drawing and start all over creating a new drawing. In the event there were errors on more than one drawing, each drawing would have to be re-created from scratch.

Collaboration on projects required making copies of drawings for each person, as well as mailing them to people located in different areas. If there were different people contributing various aspects of a finalized drawing, it would need to be completed in sequential order, with newly updated drawings and copies being shared on a frequent basis. As such, project timelines could become rather lengthy.

Most notably, the majority of drawings were created in 2D formats, which could present challenges for those responsible for transforming the drawing into an actual 3D finished product or building. However, CAD architectural drafting software was responsible for revolutionizing the architectural industry.

Today, with the use of the right software applications, architects can create drawings faster and easier. If there are mistakes, rather than having to start over from the very beginning, they only have to edit the areas within the electronic drawing. Further, some programs even incorporate simulations for 2D and 3D modeling that point out potential issues and problems.

CAD Architectural Drafting

Converting from 2D to 3D drawings requires instructing the program to change how it renders the drawing. This feature makes it possible to view every section in full detail and have an idea of how the finalized product or building will look.

Project collaboration has gotten simpler, too. Instead of having to make copies and/or mail them to those involved on the project, it is easy to create a shared document storage area in the Cloud for everyone to have instant access to the latest versions of the drawings.

In cases where specific people are contributing toward a drawing, they are able to work using a shared file and add their updates without affecting the work being completed by others. As a result of innovative drafting software applications, project timelines are able to be streamlined, and can potentially be completed much faster and in greater detail.

Compared to traditional architectural drafting methods, the money invested into CAD software pays for itself in the long run, as it increases productivity and makes it possible to take on more projects. For assistance with creating architectural drawings, 2D to 3D conversions, and related services from professional and highly experienced architects, contact Q-Cad today by calling 800-700-3305.

Are There Any Benefits of Using the Cloud for Collaborative CAD Projects?

Cloud-based computing has been growing in recent years. It has several advantages over traditional localized computing. These same advantages are why companies that utilize CAD in their day-to-day operations are evaluating whether moving CAD, architectural, and drafting applications to the Cloud is worth their time.

Architectural Drafting Services

Benefits of Using the Cloud for CAD Projects

There are numerous benefits organizations gain by using the Cloud for CAD projects. One of the main ones is it makes collaboration on CAD projects easier and simpler. Regardless of where the employee or contractor is located, they are able to access the latest versions of CAD files and documents, make updates, and save changes, all through the Cloud.

Another benefit of the Cloud is not having to worry about installing CAD software and applications onto every workstation and computer. Not only does this address licensing concerns, but it also ensures all employees are using the same version of CAD software and applications. Further, in the event of patches, updates, and upgrades, you only have to perform those on the Cloud-based server where they reside, rather than having to touch multiple workstations, computers, and network servers.

Since the CAD software and applications reside in the Cloud, you do not have to worry about minimum hardware requirements. As a result, you are able to extend the life of your current workstations and computers. In the event a computer or workstation crashes, the employee has not lost all of their CAD files and data. All they need to get back to work is another workstation or computer with access to the Cloud.

In regards to security and data protection, the Cloud makes these processes easier to manage. Cloud services offer options for nightly data backups, addressing and patching security concerns, and more. Additionally, using the Cloud guarantees you are able to get your business back up and running more quickly in the event of an unforeseen disaster.

Drawbacks of Using the Cloud for CAD Projects

Even with all the benefits of using the Cloud for CAD projects, there are a few drawbacks. There can be availability issues if you or your Cloud provider lose Internet service, or if your Cloud provider loses power in their area. Another concern is in cases where some employees, who work remotely, may not have sufficient Internet speeds or bandwidth to easily launch CAD software and apps, and work with related files and documents.

System integration challenges are another drawback for some businesses. If they currently have their CAD software and apps installed on local servers, computers, and workstations, or have customized the software and apps to fit their business needs, transitioning to the Cloud can take time, although, with the right system integration Cloud implementation plan, overcoming these concerns is possible.

For more information about architectural, engineering, and CAD drafting and conversion services for your business, call Q-Cad at 800-700-3305 today. With over 24 years of experience, we offer a variety of customizable services and solutions utilizing the latest technologies, while satisfying your objectives and budget.

CAD Drawing Conversion

Demand for Designers with 3D AutoCAD Drafting and STEM Expertise Is Growing

Since 2012, the demand for designers with 3D AutoCAD drafting experience has been growing at a fast rate. According to an employment report conducted by Elance, there was an increase of hiring rates of 51% from August 2012 to August 2013. The increase in hiring rates has continued to increase at a steady pace since the report was released.

Part of the reason for the increase in hiring rates is directly related to filling positions in CAD industries with people who have experience with 3D technologies. As 3D printing technologies are rapidly advancing, it is becoming harder for organizations to find people with the right skill sets to fill available positions.

Another reason for the increase in demand is for positions that require Science, Technology, Math, and Engineering (STEM) expertise. STEM professionals provide organizations with the ability to adapt to emerging and advancing technologies more quickly, and successfully implement new processes and procedures to remain competitive.

AutoCAD Drafting

Options for Filling Talent Gaps

In order to meet the demand for both 3D drafting professionals and STEM professionals, many organizations are turning to online freelance recruiting sites, like Elance (now Upwork). Posting available positions on freelancer sites makes it possible for organizations to extend their search for potential candidates, both within the United States and internationally.

In addition, once they find suitable candidates for the position, organizations have the option to hire the person on a freelance-contract basis initially to see whether their skill set is the right match for their company. Further, companies can hire freelance professionals on a per-project basis, rather than hiring them as a direct, long-term employee. This allows companies the flexibility to find the right talent they require for specific projects. If the freelancer has much to offer the business, they always have the option to hire the freelancer permanently.

In regards to what skill sets companies are seeking, it largely depends upon the industry and their short term and long term objectives for implementing the latest technologies as part of their operations. For instance, in the CAD and manufacturing industries, many companies are exploring whether it will be more beneficial for them to fill talent on their own by searching for suitable candidates or to utilize third-party service providers that already have the talent they require to address talent gaps.

Using a third-party service provider has its benefits, especially for small and medium-sized business operations. Not only does it give them direct access to the talent they require right now, but they also do not have to worry about having to spend time recruiting and searching for the right job candidate. As the demand for 3D CAD and STEM professionals continues to grow, relying upon freelance sites and outsourcing are going to continue to be viable solutions for many organizations in various industries.

For more information about CAD drafting, 3D drafting, and related architectural and engineering services and solutions, please contact Q-Cad at 800-700-3305 today to speak to a representative.



Common Building Information Modeling Terms You Should Know

Building information modeling (BIM) is widely accepted for a variety of building and government projects. While many United States construction firms are aware of BIM and the terminology, other firms, especially those outside the United States, might not be current with the jargon. With changes in government requirements in countries like Germany and the United Kingdom, global construction firms and suppliers will want to take the time to brush up on their terminology and ensure they have a general understanding of the processes, protocols, and procedures.

Becoming more familiar with BIM terminology does not mean your firm has to understand every single intricacy or detail, as there are CAD architectural drafting services who can lend support, assistance, and their expertise when it comes to creating documents and putting them together for projects requiring BIM.

AutoCAD Drafting

  • Building information modeling (BIM) Protocol – This protocol is the legal agreement to keep the project progressing correctly. It defines various roles of project managers, the building standards to be used, and more. As such, material suppliers, contractors, and others working on the project are required to supply specific information at specific times as the project progresses.
  • BEP (BIM Execution Plan) – Preconstruction and post-construction are the two types of BEPs used with BIM projects. Basically, they describe the effectiveness of contractors and suppliers to provide services and materials when they are required, as well as create benchmarks to monitor the overall performance of the project.
  • EIR (Employers Information Requirements) – This BIM document details how information is going to be delivered and what processes are going to be used. The document should cover commercial requirements, technical requirements, and managerial requirements.
  • MIDP (Master Information Delivery Plan) – This is essentially a list of who is doing what and when they are doing it. This includes who is supplying AutoCAD drafting and drawing services, when drawings will be made available, what equipment is required, what contractors are providing services, what suppliers are providing materials, and so on.
  • PIM (Project Information Model) – The purpose of the PIM is to serve as a design model that incorporates all aspects of the entire project. The model can include visual and non-visual information, and outlines how each party is going to implement their part of the project.
  • CDE (Common Data Environment) –CDE helps to make the project data easily accessible utilizing collaboration, in a secure, shared area on the Cloud. This way, everyone has access to all the documents and data needed for the project, with the ability to update and make changes as needed. Not only does it help reduce errors and miscommunications, but also eliminates the need for project contributors having to provide access to their own internal systems.

Keep in mind the above information is only a generalized overview of the BIM terms and may not reflect every single aspect or detail. If you require further assistance with BIM project documents, or other CAD and architectural drawings and documents, do not hesitate to contact the experts at Q-Cad now by calling 800-700-3305.

CAD Architectural Drafting

Smart Homes Are Going to Change Architectural Drafting Services

Architectural drafting services are going to need to be able to incorporate the Internet of Things (IoT) into home design plans for builders and home buyers. The IoT is going to change the housing industry and how homes are designed. People are going to need to have specific types of technologies built into their home designs in order for their appliances, devices, and the home, itself, to communicate with each other and the owner.

If you do not know what IoT is, then you need to get up to speed, and quickly. IoT is the interconnectivity between electronic devices, appliances, heating and cooling systems, lighting, alarm systems, and other items you find in your home. In the near future, these devices will be able to “talk” to each other, as well as give the owner a wide array of control over how their home functions.

Architectural Drafting Services

In some cases, some IoT technologies are already here and available, like remote access alarm system and thermostats, where owners simply open the app on their mobile device to turn off or turn on their alarm or adjust the settings on their furnace or air conditioner. This is just the beginning of the capabilities of IoT.

Essentially, a smart home is a home that incorporates a wide array of IoT technologies into its design. Architects who design homes are going to need to think about how IoT is going to impact specific design elements, including:

  • Hard wiring the entire home for Internet access.
  • Incorporating the placement of wireless routers.
  • The potential demand for additional electrical wiring.
  • Wiring and hardware required for making lighting controls accessible through mobile apps.
  • How rooms are designed to maximum IoT communications between devices.
  • The placement of insulating materials to stop wireless signals from extending too far outside the home.

These are only the design elements that have to be considered to make the home IoT ready. It does not account for what design elements are required for other energy efficient home designs, such as solar panels, tankless hot water heaters, and home heating and cooling systems.

While the overall design of blueprints for homes will probably not change much, the addition of IoT aspects will require blueprints to include more elements than in the past. As a result, it is a good idea to determine how to best incorporate these elements to ensure builders are able to read the blueprints correctly and not make mistakes when construction begins on the home.

One suggestion is to use different colors in the design for different design elements. However, do not pick colors at random. Many builders are already familiar with colorized schematics and expect certain elements to be a specific color, such as red lines for hot water plumbing. It is recommended to verify what standards are already being used, and then choose colors for IoT design elements.

For professional assistance in creating architectural blue prints, schematics, and other tips for incorporating IoT design elements into smart home designs, please feel free to contact Q-Cad today at 800-700-3305.

3D Drafting