Expert Manufacturing Advice tailored for step-by-step implementation in the workplace. Small Manufacturers, Machine Shops and CAD Engineers improve and thrive with our hands-on help. CAD Barriers to Adoption: Busting Myths... Why Small Manufacturers are Reluctant to Adopt 3D CAD?... and answers to show its definitely achievable for You

CAD Barriers to Adoption: Busting Myths...

Why Small Manufacturers are Reluctant to Adopt 3D CAD?... and answers to show its definitely achievable for You


CAD Barriers to Adoption: Busting Myths...

Where as many engineering businesses have embraced 3D CAD, many are reluctant, based on a number of perceptions which still persist. Consequently there still exists a number of small manufacturers who potentially could benefit and receive the competitive advantages 3D CAD can deliver. Importantly their competitors, who do embrace the technology, can quickly leave them behind and end up eating into their market share. If 3D CAD can benefit your business in any way, don’t let this be you.

CAD Barriers to Adoption: Busting Myths...

The Cost of 3D CAD

Whereas once upon a time the cost of a 3D CAD seat was difficult to justify for small manufacturers, this really isn’t the case anymore.

Did you know you can access intermediate level 3D CAD software for free? That's right FREE! Free to download and use, for those who possess no prior knowledge or for users who want to get another package under their belt. Open source communities have been used to develop the software and are available to answer queries and help users.

Alternatively, there are free 3D CAD viewers enabling you to view CAD files, mark them up, add notes, take measurements, etc. Likewise, low cost, limited functionally 3D CAD software is widely available.

Even the best known vendors (commonly seen as ‘the standard’ in some industry sectors), supply trial versions and student editions. Investigate some of these starting with online searches.

This ‘try before you buy’ approach may assist you ultimately make the leap and invest in a CAD seat or two – and it really is an investment that should pay massive dividends if exploited fully.

FreeCAD: A free to download CAD package available for no cost. 


CAD Barriers to Adoption: Busting Myths...

3D CAD Training

For somebody who has never used 3D CAD, it may initially appear complicated. However the reality is there is a vast amount of assistance and help available to meet this need. Firstly, all reputable CAD software suppliers will provide tutorials with the software so you can learn in your own time, step-by-step.

Additionally, websites like YouTube come into their own, as a means of conveniently delivering 3D CAD training. Quick searches reveal countless training guides, tutorials and worked examples for pretty much all CAD software titles. These online videos can be paused, replayed and repeated enabling you to learn at your own pace. Numerous tutorial books exist, as do training courses supplied by software distributors, private tutors and local colleges.

Colleagues and technical experts in your professional network may also be able to help. CAD training has never been more accessible. Often what’s needed is the will, a little research and building practice time into your routine. It’s definitely a worthwhile investment.


CAD Barriers to Adoption: Busting Myths...

Yes, but our products are too simple to benefit from 3D CAD?

Some manufacturers commonly believe their products are so simple they really don’t need 3D CAD. They claim 2D drawings are good enough. However the problem with this thinking, is the full potential of 3D CAD data all the way through the development and manufacturing process is lost.

It is these through-life benefits, listed earlier, which give you commercial advantage (and quickly provide a return on investment if you are initially worried about the outlay). Additionally, just because products have been simple until now, it may be unwise to limit yourself looking forward.  Future client demands may request something customised, perhaps something more complicated where 3D CAD is better suited because of its advantages.

Even items which appear rudimentary, like simple flat sheet metal parts, lend themselves to 3D data.  For example, they can be quickly uploaded onto CNC punches and laser cutting equipment. What’s more, design integrity and dimensional accuracy remain intact. Additionally, nobody has to re-programme machines, therefore eliminating the potential to introduce mistakes, together with the time this takes.


CAD Barriers to Adoption: Busting Myths...

I’ve used 2D Drawings for Years – I’ve No Need for 3D CAD

Firstly past results are no guarantee of future success. In just about all industry sectors competition is becoming fiercer and this is happening at an ever faster rate. A tough economic environment, coupled with rising energy and material costs, together with global competition and low cost entrants, make for very tough trading conditions. What’s more, the trend seems to be all one way.

Once upon a time, it was the most progressive manufacturers who adopted these technologies, now businesses are striving for competitive advantage just to survive. They are accepting the evidence, innovating and modernising. The smart ones are increasing their awareness, learning from others, adopting new ideas and improved the way they do things; to ensure they are still trading this time next year.

Sticking your head in the sand frankly is not an option. Countless businesses and indeed whole industry sectors simply are not there anymore, basically because they didn’t innovate, move with the times and become more competitive. Don’t let your business join that list.

CAD Barriers

Next... The Importance of Tailoring the 3D CAD Justification to Your Specific Business: Quantify wherever Possible

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