If you’re of a certain age, you probably remember a time before CAD found its way into design offices and when somebody did all the mechanical designs needed with pencil and paper. Do you remember how many errors remained unseen in those 2D mechanical designs?
So, aren’t we lucky that those days are behind us?
Mechanical design has come a long way in just a few decades, but one of the most important things that have changed is the accuracy of the designs we can produce with the right mechanical design software. Let’s have a closer look at why 2D mechanical design software is prone to error and how 3D mechanical design solves most of those problems.
3 Keypoints About the Challenges of 2D Mechanical Design
- 2D mechanical design often misses essential details, making it challenging to represent every aspect of a complex construction project.
- Collaboration and comprehensive visualisation are limited in 2D design, leading to inefficiencies and potential conflicts.
- Modern 3D mechanical design software, like Stabicad, offers advanced features available directly in Revit, facilitating more accurate, detailed, and collaborative design processes.
There Are Always Hidden Details That Can Lead to Errors in 2D Mechanical Design
When you’re learning traditional drafting of any kind, one of the things you’re taught to do is indicate when there is hidden detail on any drawing. Usually, you would also include a view or views that provide further information about what is hidden.
However, while that works for smaller drawings of products or even machine parts, it becomes a lot more complex when you’re dealing with large-scale drawings like those used for mechanical design in construction.
Generally speaking, it’s virtually impossible to create adequate views to show all the hidden details present in the 2D mechanical design.
Conflict with Other Structures and Services
One of the big problems about having so much hidden detail in your 2D mechanical design drawings is that modern buildings require different kinds of structures and services to function. Many of those structures and services need to be tucked into the same spaces as mechanical equipment.
With limited space available for everything to fit into, each different type of engineering and design needs to work with and around the other, utilising every available inch to ensure that buildings can function as they should while still keeping essential systems hidden from view.
Each team involved in the design and construction of a building really does need to have a complete, 360-degree view of every element of the design so that they can create a truly constructible design.
Simply put, when you can’t see every view and every hidden detail, there’s no way to create designs that are efficient and effective and this can lead to errors in your mechanical design.
2D Mechanical Design Is Not Naturally Collaborative
When all of the teams working on the design of a building or structure have access to one central design and information platform, it becomes a lot easier for everyone – including the mechanical design team – to collaborate and work together. You always want to find the best design software for mechanical engineers that also integrates well with other systems.
Unfortunately, the best design software for mechanical engineering is definitely not one that focuses on two dimensions.
Anyone who has ever struggled to match up the information on mountains of paper drawing sets will immediately recognise this problem. It’s nearly impossible to visualise every detail from every drawing set when you’re working with different sets of plans and designs.
The ability to create, view and manipulate layers was a massive leap forward for computer-aided design, but being able to do the same with all of the services and design elements on a 3D model has taken everything to another level.
Today, it’s possible to not only view one type of infrastructure or service on a drawing set or layer, but we can combine different 3D designs for different services and structures into one collaborative design space. This allows everyone on the design team, even from different disciplines and specialties, to collaborate in the same space, and makes it easier to spot and fix conflicts before they ever happen.
Single Source of Truth
One of the reasons that the UK government is moving towards using BIM for all large-scale construction projects is that it really is a single source of truth for everyone involved.
Being able to view detailed designs from every angle means everyone involved has access to all of the information. There are no hidden details, so there’s no chance that anyone can’t see a potential problem.
Even when design changes do happen – and they always do on larger construction projects – everyone involved has all the necessary information to choose the right products, methods, and solutions.
Caught During Construction
Unfortunately, when you are using 2D mechanical design software, errors, and conflicts aren’t always immediately apparent. In fact, many of these make it all the way through the design process and into drawings that are issued for construction.
It’s only when contractors and workers on site are using those drawings to plan their work that many of these design issues come to light. At that stage of the process, it usually takes longer and costs more to come up with workable solutions.
Taking Your Designs to the Next Level with 3D Mechanical Design Software
There’s no denying that we’ve all come a long way since the early days of drawing boards and set squares.
Technology like 3D mechanical design software has changed the way we all approach mechanical system design for the better. But even if you’ve already embraced this technology, you might not be getting the full benefit.
Systems like Revit have been widely adopted in the mechanical design field, but they don’t have all the features you need out of the box. And if you’ve ever tried to find free 3D software for mechanical design that delivers half-decent results, you know that it just doesn’t exist. So, while you might be able to find some basic BIM tools, they just aren’t up to the demands of the modern mechanical engineering design office.
Trimble’s Stabicad for Revit builds on the standard Revit functionality, giving you a variety of tools and add-ons that truly transform the 3D mechanical design process. From built-in calculations verified by CIBSE to always up-to-date product libraries and more, Stabicad improves design accuracy and simplifies workflows and design automation.
So, whether you’re still stuck in 2D mechanical design mode and looking to upgrade, or you’re just looking for the next leap forward in technology, Stabicad might be just the solution you need. Contact the team to learn more or to book a free demo.
The future of mechanical design is three-dimensional, and Stabicad is the mechanical design software you need.