Will 3D CAD Drafters Work Become Less About Drawing and More About 3D CAD Modeling?

Increased integration of the design and build process through CAD/CAM, 3D printing, and file sharing between engineering and the shop has some businesses analyzing and even dropping their use of complete detailed drawings in machine design.

What is your company doing to move forward and take advantage of the new technologies?

I have found in the past that as geeky and smart as engineers tend to be, they are very slow to change how they do things.








That may be my experience because I lived through the time when engineering first moved from the board (pencil, paper, and erasers) to 2D computing.








Rentapen was ahead of many companies when we bought our first two seats of 2D CAD.

George Straley, Founder of Rentapen, was quick to embrace CAD.








Many engineers and companies were extremely slow to accept the change and very resistant to the change. Years after Rentapen was plotting in ink, many engineers were still using pencils.


But the engineering landscape is being transformed by new technology every day. We older engineers are either retiring or embracing the new technology. Over time, the aging workforce will be replaced by young people who were born after desk top computers and CAD were common place. Learning new software and new ways of doing things in a world of rapid change is something the younger generations have grown up with.


It will be a big decision and transition for companies to go to a design/build method that does not include drawing details. We are witnessing the power of the new technologies in our jobs every day and leaders and workers alike need to start the discussion and find a way to move our companies forward into even more time and cost savings.

But there are many questions that need to be answered.

What questions do you have about how this will work? Do you have answers to some of my questions?


• How to we check the work?

• Can we see the same things in models as we can see in a drawing?

• How do we communicate tolerances and surface finishes?

These changes to CAD Drafting and Design may be coming soon enough, but in 2012, a great majority of companies still require complete drawings of the parts used to create a weld fixture or other production machinery

For now… Drawings help the project managers check work before it goes to be built, and drawings help the shop check their work as well.

Will we be able to do this checking work without paper and drawings?  Not yet, but maybe soon.

Since Detailing is still an important part of the design/build process, in the next few weeks Weld Fixture Design 101 will be addressing the art and science of detailing.

Be sure to sign up on Rentapen’s website for Education and Updates so you will be notified by email when a new lesson has been posted.

Let’s keep having fun  — and let’s keep learning!

The Queen

Now, for fun, check out this guy’s web site. I met him while he was riding his 4-wheel bike from Memphis to Miami as part of his many journeys of 1000 miles. Dave Cornthwaite

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