Becoming an efficient 3D CAD designer takes time, and an understanding of how to manipulate the commands at your disposal within CAD software. With a few of my very own trade secrets I can help you design 3D models in less than half the time it takes most CAD designers. With these tips, and a good understanding of the commands in CAD software, your designs can be professional, precise, and developed within a matter of minutes. Don’t forget though, accuracy, and precision are more important in designing than speed.
When starting a 3D model the most important trick is to start designing at the right point. In most CAD programs today there is a space within the 3D realm called the origin. The origin is the point where the drawing planes within model space intersect. The three planes are known as the XY, XZ, and YZ planes. Right in the center where they all meet is the origin of the 3D environment, and where any professional designer should start first. The advantage of doing this is it allows you to draw a sketch in any direction you please, thus making the process of using the commands much easier. Not only are planes used to sketch on, but they can be used in conjunction with the commands to perform the necessary task to create 3D models.
Before any CAD designer starts working on a 3D drawing they need to ask themselves what is the most efficient way of designing this model. What makes a good CAD drafter is the way he, or she goes about designing the project. The least amount of commands executed the better. Always try to think how you can use commands like mirror, and copy to lessen the amount of work in the design. For instance, if a drawing is exactly the same from some center point, you only have to draw half of it, then use mirror to create the other half. Ideally the CAD draftsmen would design the half from the origin extending out, so the mirrors edge would lie on a plane. This would allow the command to be performed correctly, as well as centering the design on the origin, which is exactly where you want it to be.
With several years of experience designing 3D models with CAD, I’ve come to realize that keeping your design centered within the origin is the most important decision you can make. While your in the environment for creating 3D features the origin allows you to have a rotation axis for commands like revolve, and circular pattern. If you’re extruding an object that lies on the XY plane for instance, there’s an option within extrude that allows the object to extrude in both directions, placing your 3D object directly in the center of the origin. If you take advantage of all the commands embedded in CAD programs you can save minutes, hours, and even days worth of work.
The secret to becoming a great 3D CAD designer is to utilize all the tools available, and to design your features with the least amount of steps. Just make sure you spend a few minutes before every design studying the characteristics and dimensions that make up the 3D model. After practicing these techniques over time, you should be able to identify the most direct path to achieving your 3D drawing. Also make sure you familiarize yourself with all the commands in the CAD software, because if you don’t know the power at your fingertips, how can you ever take advantage of it?