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Converting a 2D drawing to a 3D model – how it is done and why

2D drafting and 3D modeling are used for many different computer aided design projects. Knowing how to convert a 2D drawing to a 3D model is an essential skill for any modern engineer, designer, or draftsperson.

What is 2D to 3D software?

Before the invention of computer aided design programs, all drafts were made using simple tools such as rulers, T-squares, paper, and pencils. The result was drawings that could only be viewed as a flat plane in two dimensions: the length and the breadth. A 2D drawing can only be created using an x-axis and a y-axis.
The advent of three-dimensional design CAD software meant that designs could show the length, breadth, and height of objects. Three-dimensional objects can be created using an x-axis, a y-axis, and a z-axis.
Using CAD software engineers, designers, construction experts, and architects can create detailed 2D drawings faster and more accurately than they can manually.  2D drawings can be used to develop highly realistic three dimensional models. Taking a 2D design and transforming it into a complex, highly detailed 3D model requires the use of sophisticated CAD software such as DraftSight Professional.

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 DraftSight Professional provides you with complete 2D drafting and 3D design solutions. This remarkable drawing software enables you to create, view, edit, and markup a DWG file or a DXF file.

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3DEXPERIENCE DraftSight Professional

3DEXPERIENCE DraftSight Professional provides architects, engineers, designers, and construction with complete 2D and 3D CAD Drafting solutions. Professionals can create, view, and edit DWG or DXF files easily in either 2D or 3D formats.

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How are 2D drawings and 3D models used?

2D drawings and designs in architecture and construction

2D drawings and designs are still widely used in architecture and construction. They display the height, width, and length of buildings and structures. 2D drawings are commonly used for:

  • Site plans
  • Floor plans
  • Cross sectional drawings
  • Elevation drawings

3D modeling in architecture and construction

While a 2D drawing can convey technical information, it cannot depict the finished result as realistically or with as much detail as a 3D model. Architects and construction experts use 3D modeling to show clients how a building will sit in its environment, what features it will have, and how it will look aesthetically. 3D models are also used to provide information on how functional systems such as HVAC systems and plumbing systems are to be installed.

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Turning 2D geometry into 3D objects with DraftSight

DraftSight is an essential CAD tool that can be used to convert 2D geometry into 3D objects. It is commonly used by construction professionals, architects, and mechanical engineers.

Create 3D solids easily

You can use DraftSight tools to create new 3D solids by revolving around an axis (Revolve), sweeping (Sweep) around a curved path, or defining the space between several cross sections (Loft).
DraftSight gives you the ability to attach an external floor plan (Xref) and use its geometry to define new 3D solids that may represent walls, windows, doors, and other features.

Achieve greater efficiency

DraftSight allows users to quickly and easily convert 2D geometry into 3D objects, saving time and effort compared to manual modeling or using other software.
DraftSight's precise drafting tools and intuitive user interface make it easy to create accurate 3D models from 2D drawings.

Streamline collaboration with colleagues

DraftSight can import and export a variety of file formats, including DWG, DXF, and PDF, making it easy to work with other software and share designs with colleagues and clients.

Customize your workflow

DraftSight offers a range of customization options, including the ability to create custom toolbars and macros, allowing users to tailor the software to their specific needs and workflow.

Get total design solutions

In addition to its 2D to 3D conversion capabilities, DraftSight also offers a range of other features, such as 3D modeling tools, sheet metal design tools, and collaboration tools. DraftSight provides you with a versatile and comprehensive solution for all types of design and drafting tasks.

The benefits of converting 2D drawings to 3D models

While 2D drawings still have their uses, many construction engineers and architects prefer to use 3D models as they provide more realism and detail. 2D drawings simply cannot be compared to the depth of detail and enhanced functionality that a 3D model can provide. 3D models contain all the technical data outlined in a 2D drawing while also providing a realistic visualization of the object.

3D models allow for precise analysis

3D models can be used for design purposes and simulation purposes. An engineer or architect may choose to create a 3D model to analyze the materials used in a structure and how the building may react to environmental stresses. Faults can be identified and rectified before construction work starts.

3D models enable exact visualizations

Often, construction professionals use 3D models for virtual walk-throughs, so clients can see exactly how the finished structure will look. Advanced 3D CAD software allows users to apply and edit materials and textures, lighting, and camera angles. An exact representation of the architect’s vision can be achieved.

3D models make sharing information easier

Once a 3D model has been created, a designer can export it in different file formats for use in other software, which makes it easier to share work with clients or collaborate with colleagues. 3D models can also clearly provide the information required to create a Bill of Materials (BOM) and assembly instructions for an architectural design.

2D drawing to 3D model : conclusion and perspectives

Being able to convert a 2D drawing into a 3D model enables designers, engineers, and architects to demonstrate their designs in more detail. Clients can see in exact detail how a structure or product will look in its finished state.
Taking the initial 2D plans and turning them into a complex 3D model enables engineers to create realistic simulations. Intensive analyses on how materials will react with each other and to environmental stresses can be performed. Design flaws can be easily identified, and changes made quickly. An optimum final design can be achieved without the need for physical prototyping.
Knowing how to convert a 2D drawing to a 3D model is an essential skill for any design professional. State-of-the-art CAD design software such as SOLIDWORKS or DraftSight is being used to drive innovation and create more sustainable products and structures. Any budding architect, designer, or engineer should familiarize themselves with the sophisticated CAD tools from Dassault Système

Why choose Dassault Systèmes for your 2D to 3D design needs?

Unrivalled flexibility and security with the 3DEXPERIENCE platform

You can harness the immense power of the cloud with the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform streamlines the process of converting a 2D drawing to a 3D model with customizable dashboards and the ability to convert DWG files in seconds.
With the 3DEXPERIENCE cloud platform, you can save and share files securely and easily. Collaborate with colleagues or communicate with clients at anytime, anywhere in the world, from any device. Personalized dashboards ensure that team members stay up to date with the very latest iterations and provide a simple way for managers to track KPIs.

World leading CAD 2D and 3D solutions

Experts the world over have relied on Dassault Systèmes design solutions for over four decades. We specialize in developing innovative CAD software to meet the unique needs of architects, engineers, and designers.
Only Dassault Systèmes gives designers the solutions they need to push boundaries and go beyond expectations. No other software has the versatility and reliability of our CAD solutions.  Our expertise and experience are unmatched in the industry.
Discover how far you can take your vision with the unique range of 2D and 3D design solutions from Dassault Systèmes

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Frequently Asked Questions

3DEXPERIENCE DraftSight Professional is a software application that provides advanced 2D drafting and 3D modeling capabilities. It allows users to easily convert 2D drawings into 3D models, making it an ideal solution for architects, engineers, and other professionals who need to bring their designs to life.

3DEXPERIENCE DraftSight Professional supports a wide range of 2D drawing formats, including DWG, DXF, and DWS. You can convert any 2D drawing created in these formats into a 3D model with just a few clicks.

Yes, 3DEXPERIENCE DraftSight Professional is designed for both novice and experienced users. The software provides an intuitive interface that makes it easy for users of all skill levels to quickly and effectively convert 2D drawings into 3D models. Additionally, the software includes a comprehensive help system and a variety of tutorials and training resources to support users in their learning process.

Yes, 3DEXPERIENCE DraftSight Professional provides a robust collaboration and sharing platform that allows multiple users to work on a project simultaneously in real-time. This means that team members can collaborate and make changes to the 3D model from different locations, improving efficiency and reducing the time it takes to complete a project.