Can CAD be replaced by 3D software?

  • Thread starter scoutfai
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  • #1
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I have seen a lot of 3D software users of Modo, 3ds Max, Maya, etc that can produce a very nice looking product designs. These ranges of items made by them include car, building, machine, airplane, household electrical product, etc. They all look as good as the outcome produced by the CAD software, sometime even exceed it in my point of view.

Hence, may I ask for opinion, can a job that is suppose to be done by CAD be replaced by a 3D software?

In some occasion, I found that the flexibility of 3D software exceed the CAD, such as in the modification of the 3D object. I have seen 3D software user modify the surface at great ease but a CAD user has to encounter some slightly more complicated procedures.

Wonder is there any manufacturing company use 3D software instead of CAD to design their product?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
minger
Science Advisor
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How well can 3DSM, Maya, etc produce engineering drawings?

I think the benefit of the CAD packages is that they have become more of a product management (Siemen's UG Package calls is Product Lifecycle Management), by integrating CAD, CAM, and CAE.

There are just a ton of "stuff" in the CAD packages that you simply won't have in a 3D modeler.
 
  • #3
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Creating pretty pictures is not the objective of CAD.
 
  • #4
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Those are really two different animals. You can easily recreate the same parts but you can't really do the drawings. The graphic packages lack to tools to easily do the details and so on. To do the parts it's different in that in the graphics you create the parts where in a cad you sort of do it like you are machining it. Same line of process's or easiest way I can explain it.

I started off on 3D Studio which was the dos based predecessor to Max. It actually is very close in how you do things in programs like solidworks, solidedge and pro-e. Max went a different direction and went into nurbs and so on. You do use those in doing some surfaces or sheet metal but not to the same extent.

If you need/want a free 3D-cad program have a look at Alibre. The basic program will do parts assemblies and drawings and its free. If it's what you need then the full version is actually rather cheap. I think it was a few hundred compared to about $25K for some of the other 3D-cad. I use solidworks and pro-e and participated in the alibre beta testing so from my perspective I thought i was actually rather good. It does do thing a bit more graphics like so might be a easy cross over to try for you. It's well supported and the last I lookd had a good support group etc. It's free so if it works might get you your drawings without driving you crazy ;-]
 

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