Difference Between 2D and 3D CAD Drawing | Advantages of 3D CAD over 2D | CNCLATHING


CAD files are commonly used in mechanical design and manufacturing, which brings automation and innovation to lots of relevant industries. Most of the manufacturers have been adopted the 3D CAD, if you are trying to choose a better option between 2D vs 3D CAD, check out the difference between 2D and 3D CAD drawing, we’ll also get into the advantages of 3D CAD over 2D, help you find the ideal solution. 

Why CAD is Used in Manufacturing and CNC Machining?

In the past, designers need to use paper, pencils and other simple tools to draft their part drawing, with the emergence and application of CAD software, it changed the way of design and production in the manufacturing industry, and soon reached the CNC machining process, it makes the drafting more automated and accurate. Using CAD files, you can check out each detail of the part, even the internal features, it allows the 3D model to be magnified and rotate on any axis, to understand the component better. What’s more, CAD makes it possible to simulate the movement of a workpiece through CNC manufacturing processes.  

Difference Between 2D and 3D CAD Drawing

1. Definition

2D CAD is a two-dimensional Computer-Aided Design, 3D CAD is a three-dimensional Computer-Aided Design.


2D is a display of length and height on a plane without depth. While 3D is defined as 3-dimensional drawings or models they described objects with height, width and depth.

3. Geometry

2D CAD drawing is related to rectangle, square, triangle, polygon, etc., and 3D drawing is including cylinder, cube, sphere, pyramid, prism and more.

4. Measurement/Unit

2D drawings are typically measured in square units like cm², while 3D measurement includes cubic unit cm³, and quart liters.

5. Elements

In the 2D CAD system, products and engineering design drawings are generally regarded as a collection of geometric elements such as points, lines, circles, arcs, etc., rely on the geometric models. The core of the 3D CAD system is the 3D model of the product, which represents the actual shape of the product on the computer. The model contains various information about the points, lines, faces and entities of the product geometry.

6. Presentation

Because the 2D CAD drawings are plane, designers have to understand how the final product look clearly, this may be difficult for people who do not with the technical background. While with the 3D CAD model, we can see the final product, most people can understand the design. It’s also easier to show and explain the product in presentations to consumers and workers with a 3D model.

Advantages of 3D CAD over 2D

In general, the advantages of 3D CAD technology and software than 2D CAD for mechanical design are as follows:

(1) Improve product quality and technical content

With the support of 3D CAD technology, modern mechanical production uses advanced design methods to improve the level of design and ensure the quality of products, involves optimization, virtual design of products, finite element stress analysis, motion simulation, etc. The mechanical product is integrated with information technology. In addition, CAD and CIMS are also applied to organize production, which promotes the new development of the mechanical product design.


(2) Facilitate the assembly of parts more convenient and intuitive

CAD software makes 3D design can show the structural features of components vividly and intuitively. When designing parts, designers can use 3D entities or even 3D entities with quite complex constraints to design, realize the simulation assembly and simulation operation in the design stage, so as to make the design closer to the actual process.


(3) Reduce design time and improve efficiency

Traditional CAD drawing software and existing two-dimensional drawing software can’t realize the parametric design. However, in the process of parametric and variable design of 3D CAD, parts can be changed according to the change of structure size to achieve the appropriate effect. Similarly, when the size and shape of parts change, other related structures will also change. In this way, 3D CAD technology can help designers reduce a lot of workloads, reduce working time, and improve working efficiency by 3-5 times.


(4) Promote CAD/CAM integration

In the traditional design, CNC machining is based on the drawings designed by CAD, so it is inevitable that there are two sets of the same part data in CAD and CAM, which is easy to lead to management confusion. Because 3D design can realize the integration of CAD/CAM, it means the 3D CAD technology supports the whole process of the product from design to manufacturing. Through information integration and information flow automation, CAM can directly obtain the information of CAD for processing, which can ensure that the products obtained by machining are exactly consistent with the design.