Stuck with 2D CAD? At least make it free!


Ryan Earle

In the past (and sometimes still in the present), engineering, technical and architectural drawings were created on multiple sheets of paper using large drawing boards for the purposes of capturing the definition or intent of the final product, structure or physical entity.

Nowadays (mostly) we work very differently in capturing design intent.

A design concept is loosely defined and captured using 3D modelling technologies, conceptually approved and then simulated and detailed in the 3D environment to capture the eventual design definition. If necessary (mainly for the purpose of accommodating the supply chain or contractor who is going to manufacture or construct the physical item), 2D drawings are then created as communication output using the 3D data as the underlying master definition.

Unfortunately and typically, those who construct or manufacturing these items who need to understand the design intent do not have the necessary software tools or the inclination to accept anything other than 2D drawings.

This is an unnecessary and frustrating reality in the world we live in today.

For this reason, the market has evolved to replace the physical drawing board of old (You must admit they did look fantastic with the cables and pulleys!) with nothing more that an electronic version of the same and by doing so losing the benefits of 3D driven design in the process.

Customers today using popular 2D CAD such as AutoCAD, TurboCAD etc are having to pay for this technology when the principle behind this is fundamentally outdated.

If this 2D approach is going to be used, lets at least make it for free while the brave new (not so new it turns out) world of 3D driven design is investigated.

In the mechanical CAD world, Siemens for example provide a free 2D CAD system called Solid Edge 2D Drafting. (It’s really for free for everyone, not only students)

Download Solid Edge Free 2D

If we never get there, at least were not paying to stay behind!