40 Replies Latest reply on Nov 17, 2017 4:08 PM by Maha Nadarasa

    transitioning from 2D to 3D cad

    Leslie Fontana

      I am an old school gal who learned to draft using AutoCad, moved to Ashlar Vellum on a Mac and am now trying to transition to Solidworks. I took the Essential Training course in my area, but can't seem to wrap my mind around how to do my own projects with Solidworks. My brain wants to draw an orthographic - can anyone direct me to a resource or guide to making the mental switch from 2D to 3D?

        • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
          Dave Bear

          Hi Leslie,

          Have you done the tutorials that are included with the software?

          Do you prefer to learn via reading & illustrations or watching video's? The are numerous publications that you could use but one that pops straight to mind is Wiley: Solidworks 2013 Bible - Matt Lombard .

          Matt is currently working on a updated version of this I believe but I am not sure when it is due for release.

          There is also official SolidWorks based training and publications.

          Watching video's via YouTube might give you some guidance but could also be filled with bad habits dependent on the maker.........

          Finally, speak to your VAR (the people you purchased the software from) as I'm sure that they will have some great recommendations for you.

           

          The folks here will always be willing to help where they can.

           

          Dave.

          • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
            Thomas Voetmann

            I believe it is very much a mental thing as you suggest yourself.

            At one point I was CAD manager responsible for around 20 seats. I found out that one word made a world of difference: The word DRAW.

            You don't DRAW in a 3D environment - you model, sculpt, build, make or whatever you call it but never draw a 3D object.

            If someone used the word DRAW in a modelling context more than once, I would cut out their tongue.

             

            You probably make a drawing of you object later. So your workflow in a 3D world is Model - Make drawing showing what you already made.

              • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                Glenn Schroeder

                Thomas Voetmann  wrote:

                 

                I believe it is very much a mental thing as you suggest yourself.

                At one point I was CAD manager responsible for around 20 seats. I found out that one word made a world of difference: The word DRAW.

                You don't DRAW in a 3D environment - you model, sculpt, build, make or whatever you call it but never draw a 3D object.

                If someone used the word DRAW in a modelling context more than once, I would cut out their tongue.

                 

                You probably make a drawing of you object later. So your workflow in a 3D world is Model - Make drawing showing what you already made.

                 

                I'm bookmarking this Discussion just so I can refer other people to your response when the need arises.

              • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                J. Mather

                Leslie Fontana wrote:

                ...can't seem to wrap my mind around how to do my own projects with Solidworks. My brain wants to draw an orthographic...

                Did you ever physically make one of your own projects - that is, do something real?

                Or were all of your projects turned over to someone else to make the real stuff?

                  • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                    J. Mather

                    Hmm, no response?

                     

                    Well, I actually started in reverse - out on the shop floor making real 3D parts from 2D orthographic drawings.

                    All (well nearly all, except for organic shapes) 3D geometry starts with the same 2D geometry that we use to document in 2D prints.

                    That is why it has been the standard for documentation of designs for 200 years.

                     

                    So, out on the shop floor I used the 2D to generate the 3D.

                     

                    Now in the comfort of an air conditioned office and at no hazard of loosing any fingers - I use 2D sketches in SolidWorks to generate virtual 3D Models in very much the same way that I created very real 3D models 30 yrs ago.

                     

                    I recommend that you start with one of your former 2D drawings.

                    Create a single sketch of the outline of the Front View in SolidWorks and then attach both the *.sldprt file and the *.dwg (or pdf or png or jpg) files here.

                     

                    Someone will walk you through the step-by-step process of creating a virtual 3D model of the information that you were sending to the shop floor for years, one of your actual 2D drawings.

                  • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                    Chad Huleatt

                    Solidproffesor.com has a course called "auto cad to solidworks", that is aimed at people like yourself.

                     

                     

                    The course focuses on how to convert autocad drawings to solidworks models. However along the way it teaches a lot of the basics, in a "this is how you do it in ACAD, this is how you do it in SW" sort of way.

                     

                    Apart from that, there are a lot of very useful courses on Solidproffesor.

                    • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                      Christian Chu

                      You'll go back to 2D later on when the design is finalized

                      As mentioned by others, you need to go thru all the tutorials and try some 3D samples and finally create a 2D dwg from 3D  model and I think the last step will help you visualize the transition from 2D to 3D

                      • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                        Rick McDonald

                        As Chad Huleatt mentioned, there are courses that you can take for this - I have not used the Solid Professor courses but I have looked at others and they do show you much better then U-Tube quick videos.

                         

                        I personally thought that using those methods would be the best way to migrate - but I quickly found that - with very few exceptions, it was better and faster to just Model it from scratch - using your 2D drawing as a reference, then trying to import and manipulate the views and build the part.

                        2D drawings are not always exact and can have lines that are not "connected" together.  This will cause you lots of grief.

                        Essentially, to use the converting tools, you import the views, reference edges together and then do extrudes, cuts, revolves, or whatever is needed and you will get your part.

                        However, it will not be built using good "normal" design methods that will flow properly - this will cause you tremendous headaches later if you want to make changes.

                        You still need to do a lot of modeling after importing and converting the 2D and (for me at lease) it was way more trouble than it was worth.

                        I would focus on learning to create the model. After you have learned the proper way to build the model, then you can see if you can convert some 2D drawings later and see what makes the most sense for your type of drawings.

                        Our owner was used to people designing in 2D and he kept wanting people to do some quick prototype 2D designs to get them done "Faster".

                        We finally had to prove to him that we could actually create the full model and associated drawing, could do it accurately and could do it faster than we could using a 2D package.  We were faster and more accurate every time - and we were still getting used to SolidWorks.

                        We had thousands of 2D drawings and we just did all the new designs in 3D and when we needed to model and modify an older part that was done in 2D we just modeled that.  We still have many old 2D drawings that haven't changed that we use as is - if they didn't need to be changed.

                        After I got more proficient in SolidWorks I again went back and looked at videos and tried to do the 2D conversion process and got more annoyed and again dropped the attempt.  I think this would be the general consensus of most users.

                        • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                          Paul Salvador

                          Leslie,.. it's probably a good thing to begin basic and sketching specifically in ortho-mode so you can get familiar with the sketcher and the constraints.. you can copy/paste your ortho sketches to other planes later... then you can understand how the planes work and how to constrain your ortho sketches to one another.

                          • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                            Roland Schwarz

                            The most important part is teaching your brain to hold a 3D part in its workspace. This may take practice, but it's worth developing. My "practice" came by way of machining real 3D parts from 2D prints. recreating parts in 3D CAD from 2D prints is also good practice.

                             

                            I rely heavily on layout geometry to construct my designs. Sometimes it's a 3D sketch, other times it is intersecting 2D orthographic views. It's a legitimate construction technique which adds robustitude to your models. Layout sketches allow one to stake down and control key geometry without getting lost under a stack of features.

                            • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                              Matt Peneguy

                              The one bit of advice I'll give you that I haven't seen here yet is, don't give up.  Once it clicks, you will not look back.  And before you know it, you'll wonder how you spent soooo many years drafting in 2D... I know I do.

                              Start small with simple parts and shapes.  The tutorials give you the basics and don't teach you bad habits.  If you are on subscription, you have a valuable resource available to you.  There are quite a few video tutorials at my.solidworks.com that cover from basic to advanced topics.  You should definitely take advantage of this if it is available to you.  Here's one that may be of value to you: Starting a Sketch on a Plane or Face | MySolidWorks Training

                              Good luck!

                              • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                                Wayne Schafer

                                Does the movie Total Recall ring a bell. 

                                • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                                  Maha Nadarasa

                                  If you give lapse of time you will forget what you learned after that you can start with fresh mind. Our neurons are hard-wired to forget something with roughly exponential speed.

                                   

                                  How many repetitions for long term retention? - Key To Study 

                                  • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                                    Doug Seibel

                                    Repetition.

                                     

                                    The same way you got into the rut you're in is the very same way out of it...repetition.

                                     

                                    Another useful tool is the Playdoh Fun Factory.  (Extrude solid bodies from simple 2D shapes.  Continue extruding simple 2D shapes and merging them with the other extruded solid bodies to create complex parts.  Use cut tools to remove material from extruded bodies.  Create draft where/as needed.  Finish up by adding radii to sharp corners where needed.  You are no longer painting or creating 3D "wireframes" to represent a true 3D solid...you are now a sculpture, working with an actual solid.)

                                    • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                                      Dave Hoder

                                      The hardest part of transitioning for virtually everyone is un-learing AutoCAD and the drawing based mentality. Some people simply can't do this and never become proficient in modern 3d CAD.

                                       

                                      Rule #1: Forget everything about AutoCAD

                                      Rule #2: Forget about making drawings and concentrate on making things - drawings are simply a byproduct of a model you create. Create an accurate model and you will have an accurate drawing.

                                      Rule #3: If you are the one responsible for setting up the drawing templates in SolidWorks, see Rule #1

                                        • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                                          Doug Seibel

                                          Indeed...

                                           

                                          The single most important rule when learning any new software is to forget how you did it before...don't bring that baggage, it'll only slow you down.

                                          • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                                            Christian Chu

                                            Agreed ! even in the transition between the diff. 3D package as I experieced from Mechanical Desktop to Inventor and to SW

                                            First question pop-up why it's so easy to do with other software but it's hard to to do the same thing now .... the answer is : forget about the other and learn the new thing in the current software (must accept it or find another job using the other software you like) - it'd make your life easier than frustrating to yourserlf

                                            • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                                              J. Mather

                                              Dave Hoder wrote:

                                               

                                              Rule #1: Forget everything about AutoCAD...

                                              I started out on the drawing board more than 30 years ago.

                                              Used many CAD programs since.

                                              Certified professional in several (including AutoCAD).

                                              I can't figure out why everyone says forget what you know about AutoCAD.

                                              Geometry is geometry!

                                               

                                              Now I would rather go to the dentist than use AutoCAD and rather have brain surgery than use the drawing board... ...but the stuff I learned on each just made the next one easier to learn, not harder?

                                                • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                                                  Dave Hoder

                                                  J. Mather wrote:

                                                  I started out on the drawing board more than 30 years ago.

                                                  I can't figure out why everyone says forget what you know about AutoCAD.

                                                  Geometry is geometry!

                                                  Hi JD (where'd the D go?), you're ancient and I'm just old

                                                  Yes geometry is geometry but the mentality of electronic paper vs 3d modeling is different. The company I work for now had attempted to make SolidWorks look and work like AutoCAD before I got here and it didn't go well. I was the one who took my last company from AutoCAD to MDT to Inventor and quickly learned to throw out the AutoCAD rule book and don't look back. There are too many things that just don't apply. Yes you still have to know how to sketch and combine geometry (so don't forget what a circle and a rectangle are) but that's where the similarities end.

                                                  I find the people who have the most difficulty are those with a passion for drawing (by hand) and so they have a passion for 2d drafting. Switching to what is essentially a different art form where your passion is taken away and the drawing is created for you can be mentally very difficult if not impossible for some. That's why I say forget everything about AutoCAD and focus on manufacturing instead of drawing.

                                                  • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                                                    Doug Seibel

                                                    J. Mather, forgetting everything about AutoCAD does not mean forgetting geometry...just like forgetting everything about Catia does not mean forgetting physics.

                                                     

                                                    Geometry existed for thousands of years before the creation of AutoCAD.

                                                     

                                                    But one of the worst ruts people get stuck in when learning a new software...ANY new software...is that they get brain-locked into trying to force the new software to allow them to do everything the exact same way as they did it in the old software.

                                                     

                                                    "Forget how you make music on the piano when you begin to play the trumpet.  Hitting the keys on the trumpet harder or softer will not make the note come out any louder or quieter.  But forgetting how you make music on the piano, does not mean that you forget everything you know about music.  Your many years of time on the piano will serve you well...just stop pounding on the trumpet's keys!"

                                                • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                                                  Jason Young

                                                  I too have gone from 2d to 3d Cad.

                                                  I found it really hard to change my working methods, going from Autodesk Inventor to Solidworks was really easy, yet totally confusing. Everything is the same but completely different.

                                                   

                                                  Am glad I changed as I find SW a lot easier

                                                  • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                                                    Walter Fetsch

                                                    Solidworks is a completely different way of performing the tasks that you're used to.  It will do everything that you're accustomed to accomplishing and give you a LOT more capabilities while requiring far less effort.  It requires a complete change in how you think about what you're doing.  In ACAD, you are an artist, drawing a picture of a part.  In SW, you are a machinist, welder, or sheetmetal worker taking a blob of material and shaping it into its required form.  Drafting is a secondary operation, once you have the part, the drawing is just a bunch of clicking to add dimensions and other annotations.

                                                      • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                                                        Glenn Schroeder

                                                        Walter Fetsch wrote:

                                                         

                                                        Solidworks is a completely different way of performing the tasks that you're used to. It will do everything that you're accustomed to accomplishing and give you a LOT more capabilities while requiring far less effort. It requires a complete change in how you think about what you're doing. In ACAD, you are an artist, drawing a picture of a part. In SW, you are a machinist, welder, or sheetmetal worker taking a blob of material and shaping it into its required form. Drafting is a secondary operation, once you have the part, the drawing is just a bunch of clicking to add dimensions and other annotations.

                                                         

                                                        I like to think I use some artistry in making my drawings look good.  After all, while I know it's not true for everyone, the Drawing is the final product that others see.

                                                      • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                                                        Bjorn Sorenson

                                                        At the risk of getting myself banned for introducing an inescapable earworm, you could use the "Old McDonald" method:

                                                        1. Old McDonald had a plane (Ee-I-ee-I-O!)
                                                        2. and on that plane (s)he drew a sketch (Ee-I-ee-I-O!)
                                                        3. and from that sketch, (s)he extruded a solid (Ee-I-ee-I-O!)
                                                        4. and on one face of that solid, (s)he drew another sketch (Ee-I-ee-I-O!)
                                                        5. and from that sketch, (s)he extrude-cut a hole (Ee-I-ee-I-O!)
                                                        6. (repeat ad nauseum until model is complete to your satisfaction)

                                                        I try to think of how a part would be manufactured.  For example, for a milled part, there's nothing wrong with extruding a big rectangular block to represent your stock and then reducing it according to the actual machining steps which will be performed to get the end result.  This is tedious for an advanced user, but for a beginner, is a good way to start thinking about things in 3-D and will quickly give you a feel for the basic tools (extrudes, cuts, hole wizard, etc.).  Try several approaches and see what works best for you.  Lastly, as other have said, definitely do your best to un-learn whatever notions about modelling you may be bringing with you from other programs.

                                                         

                                                        It would also be worth telling the good folks here on the forums what sort of parts you need to model - are you primarily designing sheet metal, machined, or welded components?  Smooth, curvy-surface plastic bits?  The tools for modeling any part are fundamentally the same, but how you approach your learning path may differ slightly for each.

                                                        • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                                                          Kevin Hansen

                                                          I'm not sure what it is you're modeling, but maybe those objects are too abstract? Have you tried to model an object that you can hold in your hand? Maybe a coffee mug?

                                                          • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                                                            Chris Dordoni

                                                            A lot of 3D modeling task are 2D sketch based ...  like extrudes, revolves, sweeps. The approach is essentially orthographic and setting the sketch plane (required for a 2D sketch) is the first step in creating sketches to build objects

                                                             

                                                            Learning the 2D and 3D sketch tools is essential in effective/efficient modeling as well as the use of constraints and fully defined sketches.

                                                             

                                                            Depending on the type of work you are doing you may have a greater need for 3D sketches where the surfaces are generated from multiple 3D sketches (as in a Boundary surface). If your objects will be more organic or sculptural forms, learning to use 3D splines will be essential. There is some methodology in placing control points in splines. Anticipating how the spline will change in 3D space when the points are moved will come in time, so eventually less time will be spent pushing points around to achieve the desired surface.

                                                            • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                                                              Chris Clouser

                                                              There's a big problem with SolidWorks now for new users...WAY TOO MUCH STUFF.  Confusing.

                                                               

                                                              I taught myself back in '99, and it was a snap.  There were a lot fewer features of the program to confuse.  I also had some advantage of having done a lot of 3D modeling in AutoCAD.  I was very, very good with AutoCAD.  I don't say that to brag, but to say that once I got used to SolidWorks, it basically erased my ability to use ACAD, I'm basically inept at it now.  It would be like going backwards from the telephone to the telegraph.

                                                               

                                                              I think once it clicks, you will get it.  I teach it to kids and I tell them it's very simple.  there are only three things to be concerned with:  Parts, Assemblies, and Drawings.  Forget all the other stuff like weldments, sheetmetal, etc.

                                                               

                                                              And there's no end to the help you can get here on the forum if you start having more specific questions.

                                                              • Re: transitioning from 2D to 3D cad
                                                                Paul Salvador

                                                                ..oh,.. and for fun/learning... as a past acad user, like many of us,.. here's a old acad file which may help in the your transition..

                                                                sextant_zxys.png