SECTION B1 - Understanding Autocad 3D design when learning Autocad 3D

Importance of Autocad 3D Design Return to Home Page

Understanding 3D Principles

Most people learning Autocad 3D believe it is merely about learning 3D geometry, and they grasp the 3D geometry issues quickly. However, if the '3D Design Process' is not covered while learning Autocad 3D, users remain unaware of its significance with the result that Autocad 3D modeling is made to fit within the same old '2D Design Process' - An awkward and inefficient alliance indeed that severely limits the benefits of learning 3D geometry and leads directly to the uncertainties about the value of doing Autocad 3D modeling. Are you advanced at Autocad 3D modeling but still using a '2D design process?' Do you feel you could be using Autocad 3D techniques more effectively? Could you have missed out on the '3D design process' aspects when first learning Autocad 3D?

Here is a typical remark from the feedback we receive about our Autocad training course.

"I have found your tutorial system absolutly fascinating and incredably easy to use. Having to teach myself I found your course so easy to follow. Congratulations." - Mr. D. Wood of Downer Energy Services.

We would like to extend our thanks for such comments and opinions as recognition of our efforts to provide high quality but easy to use 3D Autocad Training material. If you would like your comments to appear, or would like to suggest improvements to our training material, just use our Feedback Page in Section E of the website to let us know your oppinions.

If you are going to learn 3D cad and want to ensure the '3D design process' issues are included, try asking other training organizations questions about how block and layer names should be used. Their answers will probably be vague, or they will suggest it is merely the preference of the user, and thus reveal they do not understand how important block management and layer management are for achieving an efficient 3D design process. We deal with the management and naming aspects of blocks and layers fully during tasks 40 to 43 in Tutorial 3.

Unless you have done 3D design training with 3D Cadcea, the '3D design process' issues will have revealed themselves slowly while gaining experience on 'live' 3D designs. Understanding the '3D design process' issues from raw experience alone is a time consuming method indeed - particularly when users inadvertently dwell on their '2D process' experience and inappropriately continue to apply '2D process' methods. Unfortunately some users that have done 3D design training never reach the point of understanding the '3D design process' issues, but people who do understand them NEVER go back to 2D methods, and truly understand that Autocad 3D design is far more powerful than 2D design.

The '3D design process' aspects are applicable regardless of the 3D CAD software used, so it makes good sense to learn 3D CAD design on Autocad because the most significant lessons are about the 3D design process - and they are directly transferable to any other 3D CAD software.

They are concerned with issues such as:-

Regarding software commands, layer structures and block structures have a significant impact on the 3D design process. Activities that are NOT related to software commands also have an impact on the 3D Design process and the most significant one of these is the competence of project management to manage 3D projects.

When considering a move to 3D CAD software, there is no such thing as the best 3D software because it depends on the needs of the users. However, remaining with Autocad in the early days of a transition to 3D methods offers three very strong advantages by minimizing the risks, minimizing the costs, and minimizing the timescales. The advantages of learning 3D CAD with Autocad summerize as follows:-

  1. Users can learn 3D CAD cost effectively. If Autocad software is already available, it can be used in 3D without any extra cost. There is also a good chance that it will be more than suitable as a long term 3D design software solution - particularly in the Architectural and Building Services industries.
  2. Learning 3D CAD can be done quickly. The user is already familiar with how Autocad software works and thus it is an easy step to learn a few more commands to graduate to correct 3D methods. If it is clear that more powerful design software is required such as solid modeling, then knowledge gained with Autocad about the '3D design process' can be carried across to other 3D design software very easily.
  3. After reaching a proficient level of 3D productivity, it is an easy and low risk step to move to new software - even solid modeling software. The learning is reduced to merely getting familiar with new software commands.
organizations often make the mistake of graduating to 3D design by buying alternative 3D design software to Autocad. The risks of this approach are very high and clear to see.

  1. A move to unknown 3D CAD software will cost money to buy, and disrupt existing CAD procedures. How much will it cost to employ experienced users. How long before existing staff are productive?

  2. Existing users have 3 times as much to learn - new software commands, as well as learning 3D geometry and the '3D Design process' issues. A large chunk to learn indeed before productivity can be gained.
These are significant risks.

Understanding the Importance of 3D Methods

The importance of 3D design software is to reduce costs and thus increase competitiveness - both for companies and individuals. Competitiveness is vital for companies to maintain market share for their products, and is vital for individuals to maintain secure and successful careers. Autocad 3D design is highly important for reducing costs and brings a whole range of other advantages as well....

The prospect of learning 3D CAD is perceived by many as a leap into the unknown. This is understandable because it requires a different approach to design, and there are a wide variation of conclusions on the potential of Autocad 3D design for improving competitiveness. The remaining web pages in Section B aim to clarify the issues raised by Autocad 3D design so that a more informed decision can be made about using it. Those who accept the inevitability of progress and understand the issues will be in a stronger position than their competitors.

Companies (and individuals) with little experience of 3D CAD software will probably require an appreciation of the method and the benefits before they can evaluate a commitment to it. This process starts by dispelling some common 3D misconceptions, but first, an overview of 3D design is required.

Overview of Autocad 3D Design

It is common that people visualize mentally in 3D. This is demonstrated by thinking of a simple object like an ashtray. Take a moment and think of an ashtray right now. Nobody thinks of it as three projection views. It is visualized as a single pictorial object - an ashtray. Autocad 3D modeling works the same way, with the designer creating a 3D model on screen as if it was in his mind. Having manipulated and added entities to complete the Autocad 3D model, he can orient the model to look at it in plan or side or front elevations.
These elevations become the 2D projection drawings - exactly the same drawings that would be created with traditional 2D methods. Parts can be viewed individually or as an assembly thus allowing both detail and assembly drawings to evolve from the single assembled model without having to separate it in to individual parts.

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Please feel welcome to make use of the free resources at the side and bottom of these webpages. Many of them contain very useful 3D CAD material.