What are 2D drawings and are they still essential? Yes, they absolutely still essential, and even though CAD has allowed engineers to spend less time refining 2D detailed drawings, it has not eliminated the use of these drawings within the industry all together. Dating back to the beginning of engineering information, 2D drawings have been essential to the overall job of an engineer and remain in use to this day.
What exactly is a 2D drawing? A 2D drawing is a drawing that sits in only the X and Y axis, it is flat and has a width and length but no depth or thickness. There is no use of shade or shadow. Before complex CAD technology, creating 2D drawings for manufacturing and production was essential to creating products. Today, with advanced manufacturing techniques, much of how we design has evolved, however the one thing that remains, is the presence of 2D detail drawings for parts, components and assemblies.
For a manufacturer creating a part, 2D drawings help refine how to understand an assembly. On a part and assembly level, 2D drawings only include information that improves the ability of the user to understand the assembly.
Even though CAD has allowed engineers to spend less time refining 2D detailed drawings, it has not eliminated the use of these drawings in the industry. While CAD technology advanced, there was a shift towards designing the 3D model first, then detailing the parts in 2D. This shift made the 2D drawing less important but still essential to the overall job of an engineer.
How 2D drawings fit into the design realm has changed over the years, but remains relevant and useful in a few respects. Through CAD models today, massive amounts of part-level data is being communicated, leaving little critical information being communicated from the 2D drawing. The big question is, what’s easier, loading a CAD model or glancing at a 2D spec sheet? If critical data can be communicated quickly through a 2D drawing without the need to pull up a CAD model and measure, then it should be. This validates the need for 2D drawings in the design space today.
When it comes to improving the selling process, one of the more difficult sales challenges is accurately communicating complex product information to a visually-oriented audience. CPQ works with several visualization types for a broad range of customer applications ranging from 2D drawings to CAD engineering documents and complex augmented reality applications. A CPQ product is great at helping the user navigate complex, often changing product configurations to find a solution that meets their needs.
Through the use of CAD drawings, 2D and 3D models, a buyer can configure and price products visually in real time, allowing for e-commerce like capabilities, even for the most complex of products. Aiding in downstream systems, product configurations are pushed to CRM for edits and approval or are closed by sales and sent to the end customer.
2D product configurators are a great tool for manufacturers that sell make-to-order products. A 2D product configurator creates interactive, visual renderings, which allows customers to visualize the product in real-time. Its user-friendly interface helps ease the software learning curve for customers and partners, increasing sales and better customer retention.
Looking ahead, understanding where 2D drawings fit in helps us optimize our work flow. Work flows are changing constantly, and even though 2D drawings continue to be fundamental to engineering design, modern CAD and manufacturing capabilities are changing that with the 3D model in CAD.