Tag Archives: 2d drafting services

The History of Computer-Aided Design

Various CAD drafting programs are utilized in industries throughout the world. CAD software is being constantly optimized to improve on previous versions and innovate computer-aided design going forward. Developments and optimizations are made regularly in line with each industry’s specialized needs. With the convenience and ease of drafting afforded by CAD services, it is easy to forget its humble beginnings. However, understanding where CAD came from provides us with insight into how it will evolve in the future, and also gives us a healthy dose of respect for this revolutionary software.

Around 1957, engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in America began attempting to develop easier ways to automate engineering design using numerically controlled tools and various other computer-esque machines. Out of this, one particular numerically-controlled programming system was developed by a fellow called Patrick Hanratty, who is credited with creating the groundbreaking SKETCHPAD.

SKETCHPAD was the first commercially available numerically-controlled programming system which demonstrated the basic ability to create almost approximate computer-aided technical drawings. Hanratty, the widely acclaimed “Father of CAD,” developed the Program for Numerical Tooling Operations (PRONTO) which was revered as the first commercial CNC programming system that afforded man the opportunity to work “hand in hand with machine” to create a graphical communication system that was, for the most part, exempt from the same fates other design projects were privy to, due to human error and miscalculations.

On the heels of Hanratty’s invention came a flurry of further CAD developments, and in 1960 the first digitizer was born. This production-based interactive graphics manufacturing system was readily snatched up by engineers, architects, and designers, worldwide, and led to the founding of many companies wishing to commercialize their own fledgling CAD programs.

By the 1970s there had been enough interest and extensive research for software developers to begin moving from 2D drafting to 3D drafting, allowing for more accurate 3D curve and surface modelling, which also enabled the similar accuracy afforded by physically solid models. The plus side? These 3D CAD services enabled more stringent calculations, which aided in project planning and calculating required materials and foreseeing risks.

Once the automotive, aerospace, and other industries began fully utilizing CAD software, programmers dedicated their lives to improving and innovating the software to keep up with the large-scale adoption of CAD.

In 1983, a group of programmers formed Autodesk – the company that released AutoCAD, the revolutionary drafting program still used today. For the ensuing years, CAD was being utilized more and more, and its advanced drafting and engineering functionality was praised, and more readily affordable and available, although it was all still largely 2D focused.

After years of analysis, incorporation of feedback, and improvements in modeling and technology, a CAD program based on solid geometry and feature-based parametric techniques was released, making 3D CAD services commercially available, although still expensive and laborious to run on PCs that were not as powerful as they are today. Since this advancement, technology has grown in exponential waves, leading to the incredibly precise, realistic, and convenient CAD services we have available today.

When you can plan a project from conception to engineering; to manufacturing, sales, and maintenance; and every aspect of the product/project lifecycle in one program, it is easy to forget just how lucky you are. We take our hat off to all those before us that worked so hard to innovate and create this technology that is treasured and integral to most industries to this day.

Be a part of history, and use AutoCAD 2D, Microstation 2D, or Revit 2D Space Management software. Contact us at (800) 700-3305 or email QCAD@QCAD.com.

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2D vs. 3D: What Works Best for Your Project

The advent of sophisticated computer-aided design (CAD) software brought many benefits to those in the engineering and architectural industries, and among the most notable of these gifts was a host of dazzling 3D drafting options. As a result, drafters gained access to a wide range of design tools that were unthinkable with traditional 2D drawings; today, both 2D and 3D drafting remain viable options for designers in many industries. This leads to an obvious question: Which process is best? Naturally, there is no simple answer, as it all depends on the specific aspects of any given project. One consideration to keep in mind is that while 3D software provides additional options (and retains all the features of 2D drafting), these extra amenities aren’t always needed. With this in mind, let’s explore the various differences between 2D and 3D drafting.

Traditional 2D drafting deals solely with the x and y axes. For many purposes, this is more than adequate; plenty of drafters have over the years produced workable plans, elevations, and sections in this manner. It’s also worth pointing out that a limited number of 3D drafting options are available through the tried-and-true technique of isometric projection, which enables designers to represent objects in three-dimensions, to a certain extent. These techniques have been, and continue to be, useful in creating floor plans and views of objects from different fixed angles. If this is all that is required for your project, then 2D drafting should be an acceptable option. However, if your project involves creating a large number of individual views of a particular object, it can be time-consuming to generate them through 2D processes.

With 3D drafting, designers enjoy a variety of extra options. CAD files generated in 3D utilize the x, y, and z axes, providing users an enormously expanded range of tools with which to manipulate images. In addition, creating different views of an object is much easier. Models can be easily rotated along any axis, allowing the drafter to view the object without the depth and altitude distortions associated with isometric projection; the user also has ready access to auxiliary and section views. Users can view objects in a wide variety of styles, from basic wireframe to highly detailed photorealistic drawings. If you need drawings that can precisely mimic an object as it will appear in its completed form, 3D is clearly the way to go.

Given that 3D programs contain all the features of 2D ones, while adding so many more options, it’s reasonable to ask why anyone would opt for 2D. One answer is that 3D drafting is significantly more costly, and for some organizations there’s simply no need to shoulder the additional expense for features that aren’t essential. 3D drafting calls for a higher level of expertise and, in some cases, more advanced hardware. As time goes on, however, the costs associated with 3D drafting continue to decrease; it is likely that these monetary considerations will pose less of a problem in the future.

The pros at Q-CAD, Inc. are highly adept at 2D and 3D drafting services. Contact us soon so we can begin to convert your old designs to first-rate CAD drawings.

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